The incoming freshmen already have started to come into Temple University, and soon real practice will begin for the Labor Day weekend game against Army. Here are five things we’d like to see by that night:
- Anthony Russo Entrenched At No. 2
Let’s face it: Anthony Russo is, to borrow a political phrase, the presumptive nominee as starting quarterback at Notre Dame in the 2017 opener. The transition from P.J. Walker to Russo will go a lot more seamlessly if Russo gets a lot of snaps in 2016 blowout wins and is allowed to air it out this fall.
- Karamo Dioubate and Greg Webb Starting At DT
The Owls have an overabundance of playmaking defensive ends and are somewhat light in the middle. If Dioubate and Webb get squared away in the four weeks prior to Army, they will provide lock-down run-stopping skills up the middle flanking nose guard Averee Robinson and just enough push up the middle to collapse the pocket. Otherwise, the Owls will have to lean on converted defensive ends at tackle.
- Jahad Thomas At Slot
This will accomplish several important objectives. One, to give P.J. Walker a symbiotic partner with whom he can trust to get the deep ball. Two, it will allow future stars Jager Gardner or Ryquell Armstead to emerge as a Thomas-level first-team All-AAC running back. Three, it will add another edge threat that the Owls do not seem to currently have.
- Sean Chandler At Free Safety
Chandler has been handcuffed by playing at corner because he has break-on-the-ball instincts. Playing Chandler at the corner is a little like playing Willie Mays in his prime in left field. You want a guy who can close on the ball that quickly in the middle of the field jumping routes. This can only be done if guys like Nate Hairston, Artrel Foster and Kareem Ali Jr. step up and start at the corners. That scenario seems more likely every day.
- Killing The Dog Stare
One of the benefits of having a four-year starter at quarterback like Walker should be he has the playbook memorized from front to back, back to front, is able to recognize a defense in his sleep and can call four plays in a row when needed to get the job done. The Owls cannot afford a scenario like last year’s AAC title game when, down 24-13 to start the fourth quarter, they continually wasted 20-25 seconds staring over at the sidelines for a play. They did not have that time to waste, but waste it they did. That was like watching a slow and painful death. That dog needs to be put to sleep.
Wednesday: Help Is On The Way
Thursday: A 10-Day Summer Hiatus
Monday, July 11: We’re Back