The good news from practice on Monday was that it was the best of the season. The bad news is that the coaches do not seem to know that both Kareem Ali and Nate L. Smith can return punts.
No fullback, no problem, but there’s a caveat to that.
Temple head coach Matt Rhule announced that he was not sure if there would be a fullback position, but that there would be two backs much of the time. With the kind of competition that currently is underway with the backs now, getting on the field will require the ability to be able to block and that’s why having no fullback is not that big a deal this year.
As many as seven running backs will by vying for playing time and, as athletic as they are and as smart as they are, surely they have to know that blocking and picking up protections will be a big part of whether or not they get on the field. Already, the Owls are ahead of that aspect of the game because nobody picked up protections for quarterback P.J. Walker a season ago and that was the chief reason he suffered a sophomore slump.
The running back who does pick up protections and serves as an effective lead blocker for the tailback should improve the overall offensive production of the team.
The most important commitment to the run is the two-back scheme that Rhule and OC Marcus Satterfield promised to employ and whether you call that back a fullback or just a good blocking tailback is immaterial.
Let’s hope Matt and Sat keep that promise.