Matt Rhule is upbeat after scrimmage at Franklin Field.
It does not look like anyone is going to take Jahad Thomas’ starting tailback any time soon, but Temple head coach Matt Rhule turned some heads eight days ago when he said sophomore Ryquell Armstead had a chance to be the Owls “next NFL back.”
Rhule also said that Armstead possesses many of the same qualities Bernard Pierce had while he was recruiting that back out of Glen Mills. Both were track stars in high school and both ran a 10.8 100-meter dash.
The difference so far has been that Armstead was not able to make an impact because he did not see as much of the field that Pierce did. That could change this year, though, as Thomas could be split out into the slot and Armstead or fellow sophomore Jager Gardner will be given more touches. This strategy accomplishes a couple of things—it keeps Thomas fresh and gives the Owls another edge weapon, which they will need to stretch the defense.
This is all predicated on whether or not Armstead or Gardner can make the most of their reps in real games. If one of those two guys starts accumulating yards in their sophomore years like Pierce did in his freshman one, the Owls go from one explosive player (Thomas as an RB) to two (Thomas as an WR and Armstead/Gardner as a RB). Imagine the nightmare matchup problems that makes for defensive coordinators this season. Mix in wide receiver Marshall Ellick (who has been wowing people since the spring) and the Owls could be really stretching defenses thin.
It all depends, though, on the expected development of the two sophomore running backs who need to produce like Bernard Pierce once did.
Wednesday: The Franklin Field Scrimmage