Holding the line

If the chain is only as strong as the weakest link, the most encouraging news coming out of Temple football spring practice is that the chain is pretty strong.
Going into the spring camp, it did not take a genius to figure out the No. 1 priority was finding some offensive linemen who could step up and play at a BCS level this fall.


I didn’t think it would be an insurmountable problem because the Owls had last year’s starter at tackle, Martin Wallace, returning and two starters from 2010 returning in tight end Alex Jackson and Sean Boyle, both fully recovered from injuries.
More importantly, head coach Steve Addazio, an offensive lineman guru if there ever was one, did not think it would be a problem.
Now we can see why as the most encouraging news is how the other three players have stepped up.
Jeff Whittingham, 6-foot-4, 275-pound redshirt sophomore Jaimen Newman, a former defensive tackle and end, has been running with the first team at guard.  Redshirt freshman Zach Hooks has played first-team snaps at left tackle.
Those guys seem to have the inside track on the other starting positions.
There’s still plenty of competition and one of the above could conceivably be displaced. Other names in the mix conceivably include but are not limited to Adam Metz, Scott Roorda and Darryl Pringle.


Since you know a little about Jackson, Wallace and Boyle, here is a look at Newman, Whittingham and Hooks:
NEWMAN _  6-foot-4, 275-pound sophomore. Played in six games during the 2011 season and redshirted in 2010. Mostly a defensive player, he had 40 tackles and 14 sacks as a senior while playing at Matoaca High School in Virginia. As a junior, he had 32 tackles and six sacks. Also started on the basketball team for two seasons.


WHITTINGHAM _  Also a 6-foot-4, 275-pound junior who also played mostly defense at Temple but was a two-way all-star playing for Atlantic City (N.J.) High School, where he was a team captain and three-year starter. Played against Temple teammate Evan Regas in the 2007 New Jersey State playoffs. Was 2010 Scout Team Player of the Year for Temple.

HOOKS _  6-6, 305 true sophomore. Played both offensive and defensive tackle for head coach Mike Zmijanic at powerhouse Aliquippa in the WPIAL. Was first-team all-state as an offensive tackle in 2010. Was first-team all-conference three years in a row.

Wallace will be on quarterback Chris Coyer’s blindside, playing right tackle (Coyer is a lefty). Boyle will be at the all-important position of center, calling out the signals.
If they can open a sliver of a crack for a slippery, elusive, runner like Matty Brown, he should be able to make explosive plays downfield with Coyer and receivers like Jackson, Deon Miller, Malcolm Eugene and Ryan Alderman.


8 thoughts on “Holding the line

  1. What happened to the huge 3 or 4 Star offencive lineman from a NJ High School? I think his last name started with a K. Did he decommit?

  2. He's still listed as a commit on Owlsports.com. Korang. Huge, but my guess is that this is one position where a true freshman isn't going to come in and make an impact. Running back, WR, yes. OL and DL not so much. The learning curve is too steep.

  3. Ray Korang, I think the name is. He is a big dude, but I think the chief is right and he'll be someone to be excited about in a year or two.

  4. from tackle to tackle, how many pounds does our 2011 O-line outweigh the 2012 line? significant factor in our ability to run the football for four quarters last year, and this year…, appears we will start the smallest line in the Big East? wow

  5. Last year, the line was bigger than the Eagles (6-5, 320) to the Eagles' (6-3, 310) average. This year, Wallace and Sean Boyle are big boys (Boyle is a 6-5, 320 center) and Alex Jackson is bigger than ERod, but Whittingham and Newsome average about 25 pounds (or more) lighter. Hooks is 6-6, 305. Other than those two guys mentioned, I don't see a significant dropoff in the ability to move people out. The greatest center I ever saw at Temple, current North Penn head coach Dick Beck, was 6-1, 220 when he played here and that might have been stretching it. There was a lot of fight in that dog. Give me a smaller fighting dog over a bigger passive one any day.

  6. no bigger fan of BP than me, but remember except for last year BP missed LONG stretches of his career for the Owls while Brown was always around to bail the Owls out.IMHO, Brown was AS MUCH of a reason for the turnaround as BP was, behind only Golden and, to a lesser extent, Adam DiMichele.Now with Coyer AND Brown, we will more than make up for the loss of BP.

  7. who is going to back-up Brown? BP had an all-conference back-up in Matt Brown…., this is difficult to quantify, but we went to BP because of his talent and because of his back-up…., two huge questions on offense this year: can this o-line gel and match the performance of last year's o-line; and, do we have a star to back-up Brown? no way Brown is going to average 15+ carries over 11 games w/our schedule…, hands down CC over CS, but CC does not have the overall talent surrounding him that CS enjoyed…., reality is 6-5 unless the o-line gels and a star emerges to back-up Brown…,

  8. that's the reality as presently constituted. fortunately, we don't go to war with this group …yet … offensive line has spring AND fall to gel under one of the best offensive line coaches in history (even Florida fans who hate Addazio as an OC will admit that he was a great OL coach) and Jamie Gilmore was rated the No. 7 RB coming out of high school in the nation.A certain RB rated No. 34 in the nation at his position four years ago made an immediate impact.His name was/is Bernard Pierce.So all those factors (and Chuck Heater) could up those base numbers.

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