Temple football’s annual Cherry and White scrimmage last weekend marked the closing of Temple Stadium. It was a competitive game and many eyes were on a team that has to win next year.
“I was very pleased that we had a nice day, and a good crowd, and not getting anybody hurt,” coach Bobby Wallace said. “I thought the team as a whole wasn’t as good, as we had practiced on Wednesday, but overall in the spring we got a lot done on offense.”
So now the question turns to what the positives of this team are, a team that is looking to improve on their second consecutive 4-7 season. Most of the answers will have to come from the offensive side of the ball, especially in learning a new spread offense.
“I thought that the offensive coordinator did a good job of keeping the offense going,” senior running back Lester Trammer said. “He told us that during the season we’re going to be going fast pace, high-tempo offense, so I think we did an adequate job.”
So far Wallace has been impressed with the learning early on, but he also realizes that the team has a lot of work to do before opening day.
On the defensive side of the ball, questions of depth have come into play as the Owls have to replace some of last season’s defensive starters.
The biggest replacements are on the defensive line, where the coaching staff has moved all Big East defensive tackle senior Danny Klecko to defensive end for the beginning of the year.
The early depth chart on this line has Klecko lining up with sophomore spring drill standout Manuel Tapia, senior Rob Sack, and junior JD Stanley.
“We need to have some of these young defensive ends keep making improvement to help us with our depth,” Wallace said. “We have to get a lot better at that position before next fall.”
Some of the most improved players that Wallace has picked out are junior cornerback Yazid Jackson and senior guard Anthony Bolden.
The offensive line is another place where Wallace sees a great improvement. The line went through many injuries and position changes last year and looked good at the end of the spring drills. The line is led by center and backbone Donny Klein, guards Bolden and junior Joe Laudano have improved, and junior guard Jose Portillo also had a good spring.
The bookends consist of seniors Dave Yovanovitis and Damian Hendricks. Sophomore Mike McGann is slated to be quarterback after the first drills, followed by senior Mike Frost, and rounded out by sophomore Collin Hannagin.
This team finished the first chapter of this season and now looks to work hard during the summer to come back and live up to their coaches’ expectations.
“With time we’ll only get better and better,” Trammer said. “Even though the spring practices ended we’re still going at it everyday or at least five days a week, practicing our offense on our own without the coach. That time is valuable and it’s a new offense to everybody, so you can never get enough repetitions.”
Matt Sitkoff can be reached at Phil14367@aol.com