Camp Notes: Offensive changes

With a new focus on running the ball, the Owls offense prepares for the upcoming season.

Marcus Satterfield followed the college football trend last season.

With up-tempo offenses becoming more popular, the Owls offensive coordinator thought he could follow suit.

But Temple’s offense struggled and finished the season ranked 86th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing yards and 115th out of 125 FBS teams in rushing offense.

“I was guilty of getting caught in the wave of no huddle offense,” Satterfield said. “But it’s not my mental makeup, it’s not coach [Matt] Rhule’s mental makeup, it’s not the Temple make up … we got away from that.”

This season, the Owls have changed their offensive philosophy.

“We are making a commitment to running the football and to be a physical and explosive football team,” Satterfield said. “We feel like we have an offensive line that is a year older. They worked really hard in the weight room.”

With a stable of running backs, including junior Jahad Thomas and redshirt-sophomore Zaire Williams, the Owls’ backfield is ready for the challenge.

“We have a good running back crew,” Williams said. “We are deep, guys are talented. So it’s going to be a great year for us offensively.”

Zaire Williams return to full strength

Every Monday and Friday last season, Williams was at the chiropractor.

The New Jersey native discovered he had bulging disc in his back following the season opener at Vanderbilt University. So, Williams began the process of rehabbing the season-ending injury.

Along with visits to the chiropractor, Williams worked with strength and conditioning coach Jeremy Scott on improving his flexibility and core strength.

“It was hard even though we won because I have been playing football for 16 years now,” Williams said. “It is the only thing I know and losing that is like losing a part of yourself.”

Williams said his back is healthy and last year’s injury was a blessing in disguise.

“I think I wasn’t focused coming into my second year of camp,” Williams said. “I thought my focus was elsewhere, but the injury let me know that this is what is important . School is the most important and I had to focus on it.”

Along with helping him get stronger, the injury allowed Williams to become a more mature person.

“I think [the injury] brought me down off my high horse because I thought I was something that I wasn’t,” Williams said. “It helped me take a step back and look at the game from an outsider’s perspective.”

A full offseason

Colin Thompson is in a unique position this summer.

The redshirt-junior tight end is participating in his first complete offseason on the collegiate level.

Thompson transferred to Temple from the University of Florida and was cleared to play by the NCAA in July 2014, but he was unable to run until the second week of practice last August due to an ankle injury.

“This is the best I have ever felt,” Thompson said. “I finally got to do a full offseason, so that was awesome.”

Thompson, who caught 11 passes for 98 yards last season, was primarily used as a blocker last season and said he envisions his role to be similar in 2015.

“My role this year is the same it is always going to be, physical play.” Thompson said. “We want to bring physical play to the tight end position and we are going to do everything we can to move the ball this year.”

Thompson said the addition of redshirt-senior wide receiver Robby Thompson and sophomore Adonis Jennings will help increase the other offensive players opportunities this season.

“It’s going to open up a lot for the tight ends, but also the fullbacks and the running backs out of the backfield,” Thompson said. It’s going to be a fun year for us offensively.”

A move inside

Last season, Eric Lofton was the starting right tackle and was one of five Owls to start all 12 games.

Now the redshirt-senior is transitioning to being a guard.

“It’s different,” Lofton said. “It’s a lot faster, but whatever the team needs to to do, I’ll go wherever.”

Lofton said his position change forced him to change his offseason priorities.

“I got to be a lot faster with my hands,” Lofton said. “A lot of times last year I would lose to defensive ends because I would have low hands and I wasn’t where I needed to be.

Michael Guise can be reached at or on Twitter @Michael_Guise

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