The football team will line up for the annual Cherry and White game this weekend. The game will be held on April 27 at 1 p.m. at the old Temple Stadium field, thus marking the end of spring drills, and starting the summer off-season for the Temple Owls.
The scrimmage, as coach Bobby Wallace called it, will consist of 72 plays with the offense against the defense, with a little kicking being worked on before the scrimmage. This annual game gives a first impression to the Temple fans, as it marks the first time they will be able to watch the 2002 Temple Owls squad in action.
Wallace is excited for it, but is taking it as a normal practice.
“Putting in a new offense you can’t waste a practice. I am more interested in getting better then I am necessarily doing a game and keeping points,” said Wallace about the scrimmage. “But we will scrimmage, and see who competes, so it will be an entertaining thing to watch, but it won’t be like a game.”
The Cherry and White game is also a time for position battles to take center stage.
“Every position out there is a battle,” Wallace said on the key openings in the starting lineup. He also noted that in his defense there are black shirts on the field, and they will be counted upon heavily this season.
“Some of the black shirts on defense, they’re black shirts for a reason, they are proven winners at this level,” Wallace said.
He also realizes that with this new spread offense, the no huddle and new positions can create competition as to who is learning the new offense better then someone else.
“The main thing we are looking at in spring is learning the offense, get better at it each day we practice it,” said Wallace, who is impressed with the improvements the offense has made with the new system.
“We are not as near as good on defense as we were last year, but we have gotten a lot better on the offensive side of the ball. The offense has had the upper hand on all the scrimmages,” he said.
It’s not that the defense won’t build on the reputation that it has established in the Big East, just that the spring drills have been geared more to the offense.
“We have developed some tradition on defense, everybody in the country and especially in our league, will tell you that Temple can play defense. We want the offense to develop that same tradition,” Wallace said.
Wallace and his staff realize a lot has to be done for this offense to gain that reputation, and he said that most of the work needs to be done in the summer.
“Our players have to take pride in coming out here, and put in their time to get better,” Wallace said.
This Cherry and White game is the first step toward Aug. 29, when the Temple Owls start the season.
The Cherry and White game not only marks the beginning, but the end of Temple Stadium. Temple Stadium has been around since 1928, and has seen greats like Davey O’Brien, Doak Walker, and Pop Warner grace its field.
The stadium itself was torn down in 1997, but the field was preserved, and now the Cherry and White game will close that field down, for all the former All-Americans, and all of Temple’s football history.
Matt Sitkoff can be reached at Phil14367@aol.com