Five Temple Guys who could be drafted in 2022

You can talk all you want about measurables, which NFL draft scouts seem to love, but the bottom line has always been production.

If a guy produces at Temple, he’s a damn good pick.

No Owl has railed against the portal transfers more than Temple grad Amir Tyler and that alone has to make him a fan favorite (Photo courtesy Zamani Feelings).

I thought Branden Mack would be drafted this year in the seventh round because he produced on a relatively high level for the Owls but his 4.6 speed in the 40 hurt him and he went UDFA to the Denver Broncos. The last Temple wide receiver who ran a 4.6 and was 6-5 was one of the Broncos’ five greatest receivers of all time in terms of production.

His name was Steve Watson.

Production was all Watson did at Temple so that wasn’t surprising. Mack will stick in my humble opinion because he has a lot of those Watson qualities.

Dan Archibong, on the other hand, did not produce to the level I thought he would his final two years with the Owls. I expected more sacks, fumble recoveries and tackles for losses with the Owls from Dan but just did not get it. The 1-6 record didn’t help either guy. I don’t think Dan will make the Bears but I hope he proves me wrong.

Production.

That’s why I think five guys from Temple have a chance to be drafted in 2022 because I can pick out five production guys.

To me, safety Amir Tyler and wide receiver Jadan Blue will be drafted in the 2022 draft because all they’ve done at Temple in their years here was produce. Tyler has been outspoken about the disloyalty of those 15 players who have left Temple and he’s got a great point on most of them. To me, Toddy Centeio and Anthony Russo made the correct decision in leaving. Toddy was stuck by Anthony and Russo was stuck in a bonehead offense that did not suit his passing skills. The others likely would in the future or would have been drafted higher if they remained at Temple. Quincy Roche and Kenny Yeboah found out the hard way.

The players who stay will outnumber the drafted players who left. You read it here first. It has less to do with the current coaching staff than it does their ability to capitalize on playing time they’ve already earned by being in the program over the last couple of years–playing time that is not guaranteed to them elsewhere.

Other guys, C.J. Perez, MIchael Niese and Randle Jones I believe will be drafted but that’s more related to their ability to turn the Owls from a loser to a winner than anything else.

Jones, to me (and head coach Rod Carey) is (Carey’s exact words) “a flat-out stud” who has not produced to a level of Blue simply because he hasn’t been on the field (injuries) as much. He is one of the fastest guys on the team in the 40, has great hands, and can make people miss. Jones just needs one year to be as durable as Blue has proven to be over the last couple. When Jones and Blue are on the field, the Owls have the best tandem of receivers in the league by far and maybe the top two overall.

Here’s all that Blue needs to do to be drafted in Round One: Catch double-digits in terms of touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards (again) in terms of receptions. Since he caught three spectacular touchdowns against Memphis last year in one game, I’m betting he can do it over a dozen. Blue just does not drop a football, even in tight traffic, and that the same cannot be said for Jalen Reagor of the Eagles, who got drafted high despite nine drops his senior year at Texas Christian.

Tyler needs to up his interceptions and pass deflections and he has the talent to do it.

Niese and Perez (and you can throw in Episcopal Academy’s Adam Klein) need to lead a dominating offensive line. Getting Iverson Clement and/or R’Von Bonner 1,000 yards and keeping D’Wan Mathis’ uniform clean will help.

Will it happen?

Don’t know.

Can it happen?

Absolutely.

Monday: North Philly’s Five Fastest Humans

Portal: Improvise and Adjust

Probably the best recruiting video Temple has in the archives ….

The new reality in college football is that the transfer portal is here to stay.

The other reality is that, in the Group of Five especially, the coaching staff that assigns a guy who is on top of it and constantly remains in touch with the best available players, will probably be poised to succeed.

Whether or not Rod Carey is the right CEO for such a system remains to be seen but a Temple player personnel guy on the order of an NFL general manager is a necessity now and the sharper the mind the better. The guy who identifies his teams needs and plugs those holes with players will be invaluable.

The goal is to get college gameday back to Philly.

The portal is not designed to pick the “best available player” but the best available who plugs an area of need.

To me, the Owls are set at WR, OL and QB and, to a lesser extent, the cornerbacks and safeties.

Winning in football, though, boils down to putting the other quarterback on his ass and protecting your own.

The Owls need more guys who can put quarterbacks on there ass and the good news is that these five guys fill a need in that area that the Owls do not have right now.

As of Sunday, the following five are still in the portal and running out of time to find a landing spot:

EMMIT GOODEN, DT, Tennessee _ The four-star recruit is 6-3, 290.

LAMONTE MCDOUGLE, DT, Washington State _ The Owls got Will Rodgers III from Washington State and he might be a bridge to McDougle, a 6-1, 240-pound DT who can also get after the passer. He was originally a West Virginia four-star recruit so he also mig5ht know Temple DB Kwentel Raines.

CURTIS FANN, DE, Florida State _ He’s 6-2, 251 and a four-star who had eight sacks at a high P5 level.

DAVID ADAMS, LB, Notre Dame _ He’s 6-0, 234 and is from Pittsburgh Central Catholic, an area where Temple’s Adam DiMichele was a WPIAL legend at Sto-Rox.

TRENEL TROUTMAN, S, Louisville _ The four-star prospect from Miami chose Louisville over Baylor, Michigan State and Pitt.

Showing these guys some consistent love in terms of text messages and old-time phone calls could pay dividends for the Owls in the coming months. Mailing them the above game day tape also probably could not hurt.

Friday: Five Guys Who Can Make Some Noise

Virtual Reality vs. Reality

On the first night of the NFL draft, the Temple football Owls hosted a “virtual reality” event to ostensibly talk about the state of the program via Youtube.

On the most-watched channel in the city of the Owls, the NFL draft was about to start.

Not the best platform planning we’ve ever seen. Maybe another night (err, Wednesday?) might have been a better choice.

Virtual reality vs. reality.

I will take less band and cheerleaders if I can see more of this for at least eight of the 12 Saturdays.

In that hour, we heard “Hey Jude” played by the Temple band and saw a performance by the Temple cheerleaders. We also learned about pulled hamstrings and such from a Temple doctor.

Insight into the football team?

Not so much.

We don’t talk politics here (sorry, John) but the politics we do talk about is political correctness when it comes to the Temple program. Listen, I like the band, cheerleaders and Temple doctors well enough but in an era where we don’t get enough real news about Temple football itself, would have preferred the entire hour stick to the state of the team.

On the other channel, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay were not talking to team doctors, listening to Beatles songs or being wowed by a sis-boom-bah cheer.

Kinda reminds me when I was sports editor of a Calkins Newspaper daily and the managing editor yelled across the room: “Mike, this is a parent of a band member. Can you talk to her?”

“Sure.”

More of this kind of cowbell, please.

“Why do you guys give more coverage to the CB West football team than the band? Those kids work just as hard as the football players.”

“I’m sure they do, ma’am. I have a hypothetical question, though. Do you think 10,000 fans would attend Friday night’s CB West-Souderton game if it was just the band and the football team went through drills at halftime of the band performance?”

“I guess you’ve got a point there.”

“Have a good night.”

The Temple publicity people haven’t grasped that simple concept probably because a lot of Title IX and similar rules dictate that other areas of the uni get “equal” coverage.

There’s simply not the interest there.

The host, Kevin Copp, seems like a nice enough guy. In fact, I don’t think there are too many Temple employees of the last few years (Morgan Siegfried excluded) who works as hard and is as affable as Copp. Yet there were no tough questions (“when are we going to stop fair catching?” is just one I can think of). I don’t blame Kevin at all because, as a uni employee, he is not going to rock the boat because he is “in” the boat and might not be able to swim should it tip over.

Winning trumps effort every time.

That also applies to the owner and operator of one Temple sports site.

It doesn’t appear that we are going to get answers to tough questions but Rod Carey did say he wanted to have a team that “plays hard, gives maximum effort and makes our fans proud.”

Paul Palmer had the best comment of the night when he mentioned how important it was for the Owls to win early to grab the attention of the fans. I would have liked to have heard the same from Carey.

Nowhere in that entire hour did Carey mention the most important word: WINNING. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather see a team that plays hard, gives maximum effort and kicks our opponents’ asses every Saturday. Everyone can try to have positive results. It takes special people to deliver those results.

The winning part appeals to me more than the effort part. Winning is not everything. It’s the only thing.

That’s the reality. I’m not interested in the virtual.

Monday: Five guys portal guys Temple should woo

Friday: Temple Guys

Temple football: Reading the clues

In a perfect world, a couple of things would have happened that seemed to not happen for Temple football over both the last few months or the last 15 practices.

First the months part.

In a perfect world, no player from one program could move to another program where a former coach earns a paycheck. Things are not perfect in that regard because Rutgers’ defensive coordinator Fran Brown probably had a hand in luring three Temple starters to Piscataway.

You can catch more Temple football on Youtube Thursday night.

He was here when they were here and now they are there.

Tampering?

Possibly, but we will never know.

An NCAA rule the prohibits such specific transfers would remove all doubt but this world is far from perfect.

There are clues in that story and we will allow you to come to your own conclusions.

Closer to home, though, there are other clues to be concerned about.

That’s either a touchdown or pass interference

It was my hope that D’Wan “Duece” Mathis would separate himself from backup Re-al Mitchell in the quarterback battle, but it seems like from every quote from Rod Carey and offensive coordinator Mike Uremovich that the two are neck-and-neck.

That’s not good.

I have nothing against Mitchell but we’ve seen enough from Mitchell last year to determine that’s he’s not an AAC-level starter. In over 40 years of watching Temple quarterbacks, I’ve never seen one with stats as poor as Mitchell’s in his first year improve significantly in his next year. His sample is large enough.

To quote the great Bill Parcells, you are what your record says you are.

To me, Mitchell is Vaughn Charlton, Chester Stewart and Mike McGann wrapped up into one quarterback.

Mathis should be closer to Adam DiMichele, Brian Broomell or P.J. Walker.

If he’s roughly about as good as Mitchell, that’s problematic.

Now there’s another way to look at this and I pray this is the case: Not wanting to discourage Mitchell or further deplete the quarterback room, they are telling this to Mitchell to keep him hungry and Mathis has really separated himself from everyone else. In other words, they better be lying their asses off.

Or somebody’s in trouble and, unfortunately, it’s not Fran Brown.

Friday: Virtual Reality

Cherry and White tradition fading

Had to go downtown for my bi-monthly haircut on Saturday and caught a glimpse of Temple football practice both ways.

The 9:51 a.m. train from Fox Chase to Suburban Station sped by the Edberg-Olson Football Complex a little after 10 with only a couple of soft tosses going on down on Chodoff Field.

On the way back, I caught a longer glimpse because the Fox Chase train had to wait for a Warminster-bound train. From what I could see, there were a lot of guys wearing green jerseys on top of Cherry and White ones and something I have not seen since the Steve Addazio days:

Actual hitting.

The thought occurred to me on any other third Saturday in April I would be down there with a few thousand other Temple fans getting excited for the upcoming season. There would be tailgating before and after and some good-natured arguments about which team or which player was better.

I posted that Saturday would have been Cherry and White on Facebook and former Owl great Joe Greenwood (who I think should be in the school’s Hall of Fame) posted back.

“Yep,” he said. “All the memories are on my facebook memories.”

Memories are all we have now. Temple and the AAC should do something like what the Big 10 and Michigan State is doing tomorrow. The Spartan spring game will be on the Big 10 network (2 p.m.) while Owl fans have really no way to watch what is happending at 10th and Diamond.

That didn’t happen last year because of COVID and it didn’t happen this year pretty much for the same reason.

Two years ago, it happened in a modified version where players essentially ran drills and there was no game or any hitting involved.

Maybe Cherry and White will happen next year, maybe not, but the Cherry and White as we’ve known it (with a real game) probably will never return.

I don’t know if we’ll ever have the same level of fan participation, either.

Several fans mentioned to me in 2019–many of them former players–that, if the Cherry and White game has been reduced to a couple of players hitting a punt returner with a foam rubber object, they would probably opt out.

That’s too bad because I remember the 2017 game where a freshman named Jadan Blue burst onto the scene with a couple of touchdown receptions against some pretty good Owl cornerbacks at the time.

That got the fans excited to see him and other Owls who played well that day.

Now all we have of Cherry and White is the memories and, under this staff at least, it’s going to have to be enough.

The good news is if they win their method will be proven right. If they lose, maybe another guy comes in and revives the tradition.

Monday: Reading The Clues

The New Guy Seems Nice

Hat tip to OwlsDaily’s Shawn Pastor for finding this interview with Jake Landry last year.

When I heard a guy named Landry replaced a guy named Harmon as Temple’s quarterback coach, a couple of Landry’s raced through my mind.

One was former Detroit Lions’ quarterback Greg Landry.

“Nice choice,” I thought. “Pro quarterback gets guys ready for a pro game.”

No such luck.

Jake Landry is the new quarterback’s coach and, like so many of Rod Carey’s recent hires/promotions, there is a NIU connection.

Hard to believe but former Eagles’ and Owls’ quarterback was passed over for the QB job.

Would I have preferred Adam DiMichele?

Sure.

DiMichele, like presumed starter Duece Mathis, was a Power 5 recruit who transferred to Temple. Like Mathis, he had a lot of mobility and probably could have helped Mathis navigate the transition like he did.

No use complaining about it, though.

From the interview above, Landry seems like a nice enough guy and he was also a quarterback in college so he probably brings a lot to the table. Probably the No. 1 thing is that he’s been at the table with his fellow coaches for a long time. That’s part of the problem. They all bring that midwestern nice to the feast when there is a hard edge to Philly that previous other coaching staffs had.

Carey is going to either go down with the ship or steer away from that iceberg that looks straight ahead with his guys.

Can’t blame him.

If he pulls a 2-10 (he won’t be favored in more than two games he beats Rutgers in the opener), he will probably get fired with a couple of years left on his contract and, looking back, probably would want to have no regrets in his coaching hiring.

Leo Durocher once said nice guys finish last. The Owls are picked to finish last.

Iceberg straight ahead.

Friday: Ode to Cherry and White

We’re No. 1 (and No. 119)

Duece Mathis stares down a receiver in practice. (Photo courtesy of Zamani Feelings)

A couple of recently released numbers illustrates the current state of Temple football these days.

Temple is No. 1 both in the AAC and all of G5 football in terms of transfers out via the portal (15) and No. 119 in terms of ESPN’s 2021 Power College Football Index. The network has the Owls finishing dead last in the AAC.

If you’ve been following this space since the end of a depressing 1-6 season, you shouldn’t be surprised.

Our contention all along is that too many good players have gone out the front door and not enough have come in the back door for the Owls to realistically be favored in more than two games of the upcoming 12-game season.

Not all our friends have agreed with us.

We’re hearing a lot of “now that Rod Carey has his quarterback and can run his system” the Owls will be successful.

We shall see.

When everyone on the outside says you stink and you don’t smell it, it’s probably you, not them.

When ESPN says you are back in the dreaded Bottom 10 (there are only 127 FBS teams, so do the math) and nobody in your league lost as much talent as you did, you tend to listen.

Not since Al Golden did CPR on the Temple program did I ever think we would return to those days.

We are here.

This brings us to another number.

Eighteen.

No one in my recent memory–with the possible exception of Montel Harris in 2012–has been expected to make as much of an impact as No. 18, quarterback Duece Mathis. The difference between then and now is that some publications had Harris as the preseason No. 1 player in the ACC (not AAC) before he transferred from Boston College to Temple.

The player Temple is counting on now had more interceptions than touchdown passes in his only duty as an FBS quarterback.

“Well, he’s a big-time SEC guy and Anthony Russo was not,” the contrarions say.

Remember the last big-time Big 12 quarterback Temple brought in, Re-al Mitchell? He was supposed to give Russo a run for his money and he did not look like a starting-level AAC quarterback, let alone a replacement for a top five Temple all-timer. Just because you are the No. 2 quarterback at Iowa State one year doesn’t mean you are going to light it up at Temple the next. My initial feelings after seeing Mitchell quarterback Temple was that we were fucked (excuse the language) without Russo.

That turned out to be true, at least in 2020.

Who’s to say the No. 3 quarterback at Georgia (after things shook out) is better than the No. 2 quarterback at Iowa State?

Now maybe Mathis proves to be a lot better than Mitchell.

He better, but that’s an unfair amount of pressure to put on one young guy and involves probably unrealistic expectations and that’s why the numbers don’t look good for Temple right now.

Whatever the dwindling number of Rod Carey apologists say.

Monday: The New Guy

Keeping it between the boards

Gavin Dionisio should compete for the kicking job.

As a young man, I was charged with taking a final look at the sports pages before they hit the hard-scrabble streets of Doylestown.

One guy who needed heavy editing was a NASCAR “writer” named Eddie Blain.

He always ended with a signature closing line: “Keep it between the boards.”

Except one time.

We’ll say it was a typo.

“Keep it between the broads.”

Funny line and the people in the composing room loved it, but I couldn’t let it go. I had to send another version of the story out with the correct closing line.

The keep it between the boards line referred to keeping the cars on the track and out of danger.

That story reminded me a little of the Temple kicking game last year.

It should be a little easier to keep kickoffs inbounds than it was to keep cars inside the track but each kickoff was a painful exercise in covering the eyes and listening to the play-by-play to see if it wasn’t a disaster.

The Owls had five kickoffs go out of bounds last year, two in just one game.

How does that happen?

Who allows this slop to hit the streets?

Oh.

Rod Carey.

When guys like Don Bitterlich, Nick Mike-Mayer, Brandon McManus, Austin Jones and Aaron Boumerhi were here, the Owls went four years at a time without a single kickoff going out of bonds. That’s a total of about 20 years. Even Jerry Berndt had good kickers in Cardinal Dougherty’s Bill and Bob Wright and Bobby Wallace had a solid kicker in Cap Poklemba.

Temple fans have gotten into the habit of assuming that part of the game was on auto pilot. Really, even though Will Mobley was an OK short-distance kicker, the Owls haven’t had a home run hitting kicker since Carey didn’t guarantee Boumerhi’s scholarship,, forcing him to transfer to Boston College.

They still might not, but at least they understand they have a problem and that’s a change in the right direction.

Fortunately, the Owls brought in Archbishop Ryan all-state kicker Gavin Dionisio to challenge Rory Bell for the job this year. We checked with some Ryan guys we know (it’s our other alma mater) and Dionisio did not have a single kick go out of bounds in his three years as Ryan’s main kicker. Hopefully, the competition on kickoffs makes Bell better in that area, too.

Gavin isn’t perfect–his longest field goal in high school was only 38 yards–but it’s nice to know that it should be OK to assume the kickoffs will be kept between football’s version of the boards for a change.

Friday: A Big Target

Shock: Apologies to coach Rod Carey

Thanks to Zamani Feelings for this great and rare footage of Paul Palmer against Bama.

The newest headline on Youtube by some content creators is the word shock followed by the topic of choice.

Algorithms dictate that using the word shock creates an uptick in page views but, in this case, it’s appropriate because Temple head coach Rod Carey has received (I believe) a lot of fair criticism during and after a 1-6 season.

The shock is simply this: I have scheduled my apology column to coach Carey and it will appear in this space on Nov. 28, the day after the final against Navy. As I see it now, Carey will have to pull a Jesus and turn the very few impact players he has on defense (in terms of sacks, interceptions, and fumble recoveries) into Loaves and Fishes.

Don’t even get me started on special teams.

The best thing I can say about Rod Carey right now is he has a nice hoodie.

I don’t expect to have to write it, but I hope I do.

For it to appear, though, the requirements are simply this: An eight-win regular season, not even a championship or a bowl win.

Why eight?

That’s pretty much the standard we’ve been used to around here since Al Golden went 9-3 in the 2009 regular season. Since then, the Owls have had more eight-win (or more) seasons than not and that’s the standard Temple fans have both enjoyed and expected.

The shock was 1-6 precipitated in some part by a COVID outbreak, sure, but in larger part by poor preparation. In my mind, there is never an excuse to give up 31 points to a triple-option team when you have nine months to prepare for a triple-option team and especially since two prior opponents showed your defensive coaching room how to hold said team to 7 and 3 points, respectively.

To me, a win over Navy would have been the confidence-builder needed not to get to a 2-5 season but potentially a 4-3 season but we will never know that now. Early season wins are so important not just for the psyche of the team but the psyche of a fan base.

That’s water under the dam.

Damn.

Right now, a new dam is being build at Temple football spring practice and we will see if it holds water.

If it does, a 500-word apology will appear in this space on Nov. 28 and it’s something I fervently hope to write.

Shock.

Monday: Keeping it Between the Boards

Today is one of the 5 most important days

A lot of us have been holding our breath until our faces turned blue but that process ends today.

At least for me.

College football has changed a lot in the past three years, let alone past 20, but it’s pretty safe to say that the start of spring football practice has always been one of the five most important days of the year.

The others being, in no particular order, spring game, recruiting signing day, opening day and bowl game. (The Cherry and White game hasn’t been relevant for a couple of years but there was a time when it was huge on the Temple football calendar.)

Despite the shaky state of the program, we can now all breathe a sigh of relief.

At least we can assume that the guys who practiced today are all in and will be Temple football players this fall and that’s significant achievement in this day and age of the dreaded transfer portal.

My biggest breath was reserved for one guy who has been my favorite Temple football player over the last two years: Jadan Blue. (Even though you see some spellings as Jaden, the school’s official website has him listed as Jadan and we will go with that.)

He’s a game-changing type player who caught three touchdown passes in a competitive game against Memphis and probably will leave Temple with a lot of receiving records. If he gets double digits in terms of touchdown receptions for the 2021, he could be the next Owl drafted in the first round (hell, Jalen Reagor had only nine TD catches his senior year at TCU and got drafted in the first round).

He is the only Owl in the history of the school to catch 95 passes or post 1,000 yards or more in a single season. When you think players with the talent of Van Johnson, Leslie Shepard, Steve Watson, Randy Grossman, Robby Anderson, Rich Drayton, Keith Gloster, Willie Marshall or Bruce Francis never put up those kind of numbers, that’s saying a lot. Hell, Jim Callahan caught six touchdowns in a single game (and Francis five) but neither of those guys caught 95 balls or got 1,000 yards in a single year like Blue did in 2019.

Truthfully, I thought he was a goner to the portal but I’m glad he stayed.

If Temple is going to be competitive this fall–and that’s a big if–Blue will be a big part of it because he is in a receiving room that is, without question, the most talented room in the AAC. Randle Jones, on the other side, is a flat-out stud and Purdue transfer Amad Anderson is an accomplished and proven Big 10 receiver.

If Duece Mathis can get those guys the ball, Temple can turn the scoreboard into an adding machine at Lincoln Financial Field.

The problem is the other side of the ball. I don’t see the Owls getting enough pressure on the opposing quarterback to disrupt things on the defensive end nor do I see them being able to stop the run consistently enough.

They could lose a few games 39-38, 41-29 and 45-40. Or maybe win them that way.

That’s a problem, though for defensive coordinator Jeff Knowles and line coach Walter Stewart to solve. No amount of X’s and O’s can make up for the J and J’s (Jimmie and Joes).

In the meantime, we’ve gotten this far and enough of the “good guys” have stayed to at least make things interesting on one side of the ball.

The best of the good ones just might be Blue, which best describes the color of my face while holding my breath and hoping he would stay.

Friday: Loaves and Fishes

Monday: Keeping it Between the Boards