Temple’s football team ended its spring practice session with the annual Cherry and White split-squad game, last Saturday.
With 42 lettermen returning, including 10 starters, the scrimmage was a chance for coach Bobby Wallace to get an idea of how his team is developing.
The White (offense) struggled early under junior quarterback Mike McGann, but after settling down he began to show some fluidity.
“I thought for today he was spotty, he wasn’t as consistent as he played this spring, but I think he’s gotten a lot better,” Wallace said.
“I absolutely feel comfortable with him, we got a guy coming in to compete with him, that if he’s having a bad day can come in and give him a rest, and we are only going to get better at that position.”
Competing with McGann at quarterback will be junior college standout Walter Washington, who was runner-up for National Player of the Year and will be eligible to play this upcoming season.
Although McGann is still getting into form, the Owls receiving corps seemed to have a big impact on the offense.
Wide receiver Terrence Stubbs played well with four catches for 77 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown reception.
“I think Terrence is going to do a good job, he’s a talented guy and a dynamic player.” says offensive coordinator Dave Brock.
“He has the ability to take a five or six yard pass play and make it a 50 yard play.”
Stubbs along with senior Zamir Cobb and sophomore Sean Szarka, add a big play element for Temple’s passing game.
In addition, five other junior college wideouts are scheduled to arrive in the fall.
The running game for the Owls featured a 40-yard TD jaunt by third-string running back Umar Ferguson, who led all Owls with eight carries for 65 yards.
Expected starter Makonnen Fenton gave a solid performance with seven carries for 31 yards and second-string RB Jamil Porter struggled with only 11 yards on eight carries.
“I think Makonnen Fenton can be a great back, I think he’s outstanding,” Wallace said.
“Jamil Porter has shown he can come in and be good backup at running back, I think we can play him with Fenton and not lose anything.”
Temple’s defense was ranked 19th in the country in total defense last season and it showed on Saturday.
The Cherry (defense) played well early forcing an interception, two fumbles, while holding the White to one yard rushing on their first 10 attempts and allowing one completion on eight passes.
“I think defensively our returning players will have to give us a lot of leadership, but I feel good about the improvement of the young guys on that side of the ball,” Wallace said.
Despite losing several key defensive players from last year the Owls are led by the experience of seniors Yazid Jackson at defensive back, defensive tackle Taso Apostolidis and linebacker Troy Bennett.
“When you lose as many players as we did last year you’re going to have to take a step back,” defensive coordinator Raymond Monica said.
“The guys out there are playing hard, and learning what to do, when those guys that are going to come in the fall get here then we will see where we are defensively.”
The new recruits for the Owls played solid throughout the game, however, some of the fresh faces were not eligible to play yet, like the highly touted Washington.
Nevertheless, Wallace remained optimistic on their contribution this fall.
“We have five very good high school players that we recruited also, but you can look at the kids that were here and tell they’re going to help immediately,” Wallace said.
“We’re counting on some offensive linemen, some receivers, and some defensive backs to develop and probably start by the Penn State game.”
The Owls season kicks off August 30th at Beaver Stadium against the Penn St.
David Cargin can be reached at I3akdarf@hotmail.com.