Temple’s three potential backup running backs recorded just 30 carries last season

Despite limited production last season, Edward Saydee, Kyle Dobbins and Tavon Ruley are fighting for increased playing time this season.

Redshirt-senior running back Tayvon Ruley scores a touchdown during the Owls’ game against the University of Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field on Nov. 30, 2019. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University football is searching to fill the spot of a second running back behind last year’s starter sophomore Re’Mahn Davis, said running back coach Gabe Infante.

Davis recorded 936 rushing yards last season, which ranked fifth among Division I freshmen, and scored eight rushing touchdowns. 

“What I see is a young man that’s more composed with change,” Infante said. “And he’s good at getting ahead of what’s coming next.” 

Although the coaching staff is impressed with Davis, the Owls still need to find his backup. 

Here is a breakdown of the players who could fill the spot when Temple plays Navy on Oct. 10. 

Edward Saydee

Despite being a member of the 2019 recruiting class, Saydee didn’t see much time on the field last season and decided to redshirt.  

He is expected to see more time on the field this season, and worked with Davis during summer practice, Infante said. 

“Saydee is able to adjust to the defense and he is not a one-play guy,” he added. “His plan for this season is to stay consistent.”

The 5-foot, 11-inch tall running back only recorded two total carries and two yards last season, but Saydee is confident in his ability to increase statistics this season, he said. 

“When I get a chance to get in, I have to plan every single snap,” Saydee added. “I have to stay consistent Monday through Friday, go day by day and play by play.” 

The coaching staff refers to Saydee’s running style as “thick and physical,” Infante said.

“He’s a kid who evokes a lot of confidence,” he added. “He’s going to pass protect, pick up tough yards and be where he needs to be.”

Saydee is “dominating” on special teams and is starting in three or four units, Infante said.

Kyle Dobbins 

Dobbins, a redshirt-sophomore, was a part of a deep running back rotation last season, but sat on the sidelines most of the season due to an injury during last year’s summer practices.

Now that Dobbins is healthy, he should be a player to look out for in the Owls’ game against Navy. 

“These past couple of years, I’ve been learning with the system and the whole group is getting better,” Dobbins said. “Coach Infante has talked to me a lot about film and taught me all these schemes.”

Dobbins lost focus in camp last season, but now realizes every day of practice has to be treated like a game, he added. 

Dobbins and Davis are the smoothest runners “in transition,” Infante said.

Dobbins only recorded two carries and 11 rushing yards last season, but racked up 672 offensive yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior at Timber Creek Regional High School in Sicklerville, New Jersey. 

“For me, when you think of home run hitters, Dobbins is going to be in that conversation,” Infante said. 

Tayvon Ruley

Ruley, a redshirt-senior, made his Temple debut against East Carolina on Oct. 3 last season, and scored his first touchdown against Connecticut on Nov. 30, 2019.

In total, Ruley recorded 127 rushing yards and one touchdown on 24 rushing attempts. He took over for senior back Jager Gardner, who had a season injury in 2019. 

“I was ready last season, I was waiting for that time to come, once that time happened I was ready to go,” Ruley said. 

Ruley feels confident going up against Temple’s defense in practice, describing his running style as the “one-step-and-go” kind. 

Saydee is pushing Ruley for playing time in practice, Infante said.

“I would love to see Davis and Ruley out there on two backs,” Infante said. “They would cause a problem.”

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