Owls will use bye week to shake off rust

Carey hopes an extra week of practice will prepare key players for game against Maryland

Redshirt-junior quarterback Todd Centeio hands off the ball during the Owl’s season home opener against Bucknell at Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 31, 2019. | JUSTIN OAKES / FILE PHOTO

Having a week-two bye is not ideal, said Temple University football coach Rod Carey. 

“You do not want the bye after your first game,” Carey said after the 56-12 win over Bucknell on Aug. 31. “Most of the time your improvement is from your first to your second game.”

Still, Carey is optimistic that the week off will allow Owls who missed practice in the summer and the game against Bucknell University to clean up their mistakes before their game against the University of Maryland (2-0, 0-0 The Big Ten Conference) at home on Sept. 14. The Terrapins are ranked 21st in the newest AP poll.

Carey hopes redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo will benefit from the extra practice this week, he said.

Russo started against Bucknell completing 32-of-41 passes for 409 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. 

Despite a good statistical performance, Carey thinks Russo can improve during the bye week. 

“Other than that decision [Russo’s one interception] I liked all of his other decisions,” Carey said. “He wasn’t perfect as far as his delivery and accuracy but he certainly threw the ball well for missing two weeks of camp.” 

Russo suffered a soft tissue injury on his lower leg during practice on Aug. 12.

Russo agrees with Carey that the extra week of practice will help him be more accurate as a passer. 

“I missed two open touchdowns on the first drive. One to [Isaiah Wright] and one to [Jadan Blue],” Russo said. “I’m gonna have another week of practice just throwing with those guys to get that timing down.”

Last season, Russo started his first career game on the road against Maryland. The redshirt-junior quarterback completed 15-of-25 passes for 228 yards, one touchdown and one interception leading the Owls to a 35-14 victory. 

Carey hopes redshirt-junior tight-end Kenny Yeboah is ready to play in Saturday’s game after he sustained an undisclosed injury a week before their season opener. 

“They are going to stress him pretty good in rehab and then hopefully we can get him out there to practice on Wednesday,” Carey said. “He’s definitely made some improvements, so I’m hopeful on that one.”

Yeboah expects to have a bigger role as a receiver this season after posting 13 catches, 154 yards and one touchdown last season, he said. 

“I would definitely say [I’m] doing a little more receiving, maybe going outside doing some ‘X’ things, which is very different from the old offense,” Yeboah said on Aug. 1. “I’m just really excited I get to do some things that I did in high school.”

Yeboah’s only career touchdown was scored against the Terrapins on a fake punt thrown by redshirt-sophomore quarterback Todd Centeio in 2018. 

“We got a lot of things we have to clean up and get better at,” Carey said. “This bye week will certainly allow us to do that.”

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