When Temple opened spring camp last month, offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude said senior running back Ryquell Armstead was rarely healthy last season.
Armstead, who played in 12 of Temple’s 13 games in 2017, had nagging hamstring and toe injuries after the Owls’ season opening 49-16 loss to the University of Notre Dame in September. Sometimes, Armstead didn’t even practice during the weeks leading up to games.
But Armstead said this spring is the best he has felt throughout his collegiate career. He added that he went through rehab in order to strengthen his hamstring and ankles.
“It was frustrating,” Armstead said of last season. “It taught me how to be a great teammate, a player and play my role. I knew I wasn’t going to be crazy, but I just knew what I had to do.”
Armstead finished last season with 604 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He finished with 919 rushing yards and a team-high 14 rushing touchdowns in 2016.
With Armstead unhealthy and redshirt-junior running back Jager Gardner out for the season with a knee injury, the Owls were down to only two scholarship running backs. Redshirt-senior running back David Hood led the Owls in rushing yards last season with 638.
Ryquell Armstead on where he was at last season: pic.twitter.com/FlRVCeM1mD
— Tom Ignudo (@TomIgnudo) April 7, 2018
The injuries forced the Owls to get creative rushing the ball. Junior wideout Isaiah Wright recorded 188 yards on the ground, while redshirt-senior fullback Rob Ritrovato rushed for 178 yards. Redshirt-junior wideout Travon Williams also saw touches and carried the ball for 28 yards.
But the Owls should have more depth at the running back position this season.
Armstead said redshirt-sophomore running back Jonny Forrest and redshirt-freshman running back Jeremy Jennings have stood out in spring camp.
Armstead also had high praise for incoming running back Kyle Dobbins, a three-star recruit from Timber Creek High School in New Jersey, according to Rivals.com.
“I played with him in high school,” Armstead said. “I just know what he’s capable of. I have some high expectations for him this year. But I feel good about the backs.”
Freddie Booth-Lloyd seeing time at fullback
Ever since Geoff Collins became Temple’s coach, he has stressed position flexibility. Last season, former wideout Keith Kirkwood got reps at defensive end and junior linebacker Shaun Bradley saw time at running back.
Geoff Collins https://t.co/dNwTmSa1PZ
— Evan Easterling (@Evan_Easterling) April 7, 2018
Now, redshirt-senior defensive lineman Freddie-Booth-Lloyd is getting reps at fullback in goal-line situations.
Booth-Lloyd said he sparingly played fullback at Cocoa High School in Cocoa, Florida.
“I still got it,” Booth-Lloyd said. “So I mean, why not? Just have fun and try to score touchdowns.”
Senior linebacker Todd Jones said Booth-Lloyd, who is 330 pounds, can be difficult to tackle when he comes up the middle of the line of scrimmage.
“You gotta hit him and then try to run your feet and hopefully everybody comes,” Jones said. “If you hit his legs, he’s going to fall forward. …But you can’t stand him up because he’s going to run right through you.”