Due to the ongoing resurfacing of Chodoff Field, the football team will be bouncing around the Philadelphia area in the next few weeks, using various fields for spring practice. After holding the first three at Camden High School, Enon Tabernacle Church in Cedarbrook – the site of the old Temple Stadium – hosted practice on the morning of March 29.
It’s not a location the team is used to. In fact, Marcus Satterfield was late.
“Our offensive coordinator got lost,” coach Matt Rhule said. “He missed stretches this morning on the way here. That’s a little bit of a challenge.”
But Rhule said ultimately the location doesn’t matter to his players.
“We show up, we say, ‘Hey guys. That’s Diamond, that’s Edberg-Olsen, that’s 11th, that’s Susquehanna,’” Rhule said. “The guys get it. That’s the kind of team you want to have where they show up.”
The practice at Enon was challenging due to pouring rain that caused some sloppy play. Freshman Jim Cooper missed the majority of his attempted field goals and there were more incomplete passes than complete ones.
Rhule said the lower quality of play was also due to the fact that it was the first week of spring practice.
“This is actually the best day we’ve had this week,” redshirt-junior running back Hassan Dixon said. “It’s been about 10, 15, 20 degrees.”
The area of the team that has experienced the most turnover is the secondary. Abdul Smith and Zamel Johnson have completed their eligibility and redshirt-sophomore Stephaun Marshall has moved from safety to outside linebacker. Rhule said that decision stemmed from Marshall’s performance in the 2013 season finale at Memphis, when Marshall made a lot of plays in the box.
“We don’t need a big, 230-pound outside linebacker in this league,” Rhule said. “We’re going to put him out there. He’s 195 pounds flying around and that’s what we need. We need speed on defense.”
Rhule also credited junior safety Alex Wells for his play in the spring. Wells transferred from ASA College, a junior college in Brooklyn, N.Y., for the spring semester. Rhule said he doesn’t plan on substituting in the secondary a lot, but plans on having multiple packages ready to go.
The rain put a bit of a damper on Alumni Day. The team was expecting about 40 former Owls to come to practice, but only 25 showed up, including former running back Paul Palmer.
Dixon is the third member of his family to play for the Owls. His brother, Raheem Brock, was a defensive end from 1998-2001. Their father, Zachary Dixon, played from 1977-78. Hassan Dixon said his father originally didn’t want him to go to Temple, since Hassan Dixon was recruited by “a lot” of other schools.
“It was a great feeling to uphold tradition and come here to Temple,” Hassan Dixon said. “It was the only place I wanted to go. My father actually didn’t want me to come here, but I was adamant about coming here. I feel like I made a great decision.”
Evan Cross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EvanCross.