Owls hold second consecutive Cherry & White game

Temple Football held its Cherry & White scrimmage on April 8 in the team’s first public action of the offseason.

After a three-year hiatus under former head coach Rod Carey, head coach Stan Drayton held his 2nd annual Cherry & White game at the Edberg-Olson Practice Facility. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

The corner of 10th Street and Diamond was full of Temple fans and alumni prior to Temple Football’s Cherry & White game at Edberg-Olson Hall, but on the field, all eyes were on Temple sophomore quarterback E.J. Warner and the Owls’ defense. 

Temple held the event for the second consecutive season after it went on a three-year hiatus under former head coach Rod Carey. 

The event included a tailgate, fan engagement activities and open practice scenarios. Head coach Stan Drayton’s second-ever annual scrimmage consisted of individual drills, seven-on-seven scenarios, full game play and specific competitions, like goal line and two-minute drills. 

“It’s just another phase, we put this day in the bucket and we have to continue to stack days like we did today,” Drayton said. “There’s a lot of positivity, a lot of great energy.”

While many key starters did not take all of the reps in order to avoid injuries, there were several players who stood out. 

For the offense, the receivers helped Warner find his rhythm. Redshirt senior Amad Anderson Jr. and redshirt sophomore John Adams each made a number of big plays, and Anderson Jr. was targeted four different times for completions in the two-minute drills. 

Redshirt junior transfer Dante Wright saw some action as well, showing off his speed with Warner finding him in open spots. 

Temple redshirt junior wide receiver and former quarterback D’Wan Mathis also had some snaps with the first team in the early portion of practice. 

While playing with the second strings, freshman running back Kyle Williams found some holes and had several nice carries for gain. Williams also flashed quality hands on some screen plays. However, redshirt sophomore running back Darvon Hubbard got the first team snaps, though redshirt junior Edward Saydee will likely start the season as RB1.

“What you see on the football field is something we saw building over time,” Drayton said. “[Williams] is a natural football player, he has natural instincts, he’s built down low.”

Redshirt senior safety Tywan Francis made key tackles from the jump. His open field speed and hard hits in space gave the defense some life early on. Francis, a Colorado State transfer, could be a player who sees their minutes increased in Nickel and Dime packages. 

Today’s first team defensive line also showed out. The combination of redshirt sophomore Allan Haye, junior Demerick Morris and redshirt freshman Jacob Porter applied pressure on Warner throughout the actual scrimmage scenarios. Porter looked especially quick out of his stance to get around Temple’s offensive tackles. 

“Including me, a lot of people took a really big jump,” Morris said. 

The Owls’ offensive line led to many leaving the Cherry & White festivities with some question marks. A botched snap and some blown blocking assignments showed how the absence of former tackles Adam Klein and Isaac Moore could negatively impact this unit. There were six inactive players on the offensive line who didn’t appear in the scrimmage. 

Tight end is another position that had some interesting looks for the Owls today. Redshirt freshman tight end Reese Clark got some reps alongside redshirt sophomore Landon Morris, who caught a touchdown. Their combination of size and speed could provide good matchups for offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf’s 2023 offense. 

“We have a bunch of guys in our room that want to win,” said graduate tight end David Martin-Robinson. 

While the other tight ends had flashes of brilliance, the scrimmage showed that Martin-Robinson will still be Warner’s key tight end as he was able to find open seams to provide a reliable outlet for Warner.

On defense, graduate linebacker Layton Jordan, redshirt junior linebacker Jordan Magee and redshirt sophomore cornerback Jalen McMurray saw little contact action until the second portion. In sevens, 2022 single-digit player Magee and redshirt junior linebacker Yvandy Rigby had several key pass deflections while Jordan looked solid in pass rushing during the late drills. 

“They look at me as a leader on the defense,” Magee said. “I just got to be there to help them and tell them the right things.”

However, the spotlight was on Warner throughout the day. The soon-to-be sophomore quarterback showed why he has the two highest-passing yard games in Temple history by making good reads. He also had some quality plays outside the pocket and looked noticeably bigger to help shed off defenders when in the pocket. 

“I put on about 15 to 10 pounds [of muscle], hoping to add a little bit more,” Warner said. 

While Warner did throw an interception to redshirt freshman safety Sam Martin, he made more good plays than bad. 

Tyler Douglas made good use of his limited snaps, too. The freshman quarterback had several good throws including a pinpoint pass to redshirt junior receiver Shekuna Kamara for a 39-yard touchdown. 

Temple Football will continue practicing throughout the offseason in preparation for their Sept. 2 season opener against Akron at Lincoln Financial Field. 

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