Temple Football tight ends prepare for increased role

The Owls expect their tight ends to be more productive in the team’s passing attack.

Then-redshirt-sophomore tight end Kenny Yeboah (left) tries to catch a pass while covered by then-redshirt-sophomore defensive lineman Quincy Roche during practice on April 10, 2018 at Chodoff Field. | EVAN EASTERLING / FILE PHOTO

Mike Uremovich walked into his first position meeting and told his tight ends they need to be stronger.

Temple University’s tight ends haven’t been a focal point in the offensive game plan in years past, but the Owls’ tight ends coach and co-offensive coordinator wants to change that. To do so, Uremovich told the position group to hit the weight room and increase their food intake, he said. 

“When he told us that, I’m not gonna lie, some of us in the room got a little offended,” redshirt-freshman tight end David Martin-Robinson said. “He was basically saying, ‘Y’all kinda small.’”

“We kind of took ownership, and everyone’s been making gains,” he added. “We’ve responded well and started eating a lot to get bigger and stronger.”

Coming over with new head coach Rod Carey from Northern Illinois University, Uremovich visualizes the tight ends catching passes in the red zone and play-action passing attack. 

Last season, Temple’s tight ends recorded only 315 receiving yards, because they were used primarily in the running game as blockers. This led the offense to become predictable, redshirt-junior quarterback Anthony Russo said.

Redshirt-junior tight end Kenny Yeboah hopes to change this and spark production from the tight end group.

Yeboah has played 26 games in the past three seasons and averaged about one catch per game in the past two seasons. He will replace Chris Myarick, who graduated after starting in 11 of the Owls’ 12 regular-season games in 2018.

“I’m hoping to get better at catching the ball and even blocking,” Yeboah added. “I’m overall just looking to get better at route running too. I’m not trying to get complacent, so I want to keep getting better and keep perfecting my craft.”

Yeboah’s versatility will make him stand out in the passing game, Uremovich said. The Owls feel they can use him as both a wide receiver and tight end.

In the Owls’ 35-14 win against the University of Maryland on Sept. 15, 2018, Yeboah motioned to the slot as a wide receiver and caught his first career touchdown pass. 

Outside of producing on the field, Yeboah has mentored the young tight ends, just like Myarick did for him.

“I’m just trying to bring along all the young tight ends as all the older tight ends did for me,” Yeboah said. “I’m just trying to bring everyone along, learn the playbook and try to teach them everything I can.”

Though Myarick is leaving Temple to pursue a career in the NFL, he is confident the position group he once led is in good hands.

“They’re great athletes, they’re really good blockers,” Myarick said after Temple’s Pro Day workouts on March 18. “They are going to be a huge threat in the passing game. I haven’t gotten to know the new offense too much, but with weapons like that, they are going to use them.”

Martin-Robinson expects to make and impact after appearing in four games and catching just one pass last season. Redshirting his freshman season was difficult for Martin-Robinson to buy into at first, he said, but as the year progressed, he prioritized his development. 

“In the beginning, it was an adjustment because it seemed like I was on my way,” Martin-Robinson said. “I was doing really well in practice, maybe on my way to getting some time, but then I was OK with it because I needed time to develop.”

Now, Martin-Robinson is bigger and stronger and expects to make an impact alongside Yeboah, he said. 

While the Owls still have to get through spring and summer practices, the tight ends hope hitting the weight room will result in an uptick in offense production.

“They’re gonna catch a lot of balls,” Uremovich said. “Because of the way we run the ball, we’ll put up some play-actions for them. …The skill sets that they have, being able to split them out and throw them balls, they’ll catch a lot of them.”

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