2007 Temple Preview

Posted Apr 9, 2007

Fine, so maybe Temple isn't close to being where Rutgers is, but the program has gotten a major infusion of talent in only one year under head coach Al Golden, and now center Alex Derenthal and the Owls should be much better.

Temple Owls

Preview 2007

By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 Temple Offense Preview | 2007 Temple Defense Preview
- 2007 Temple Depth Chart
| 2006 CFN Temple Preview 

Unceremoniously booted from the Big East after 2004, Temple won one game in the last two seasons on the way to becoming the worst D-I program in college football. That’s changing, and it might happen far faster than anyone could ever imagine.

No, this isn’t going to be a Rutgers situation right away, but under second-year head man Al Golden, and with the move to the MAC, Temple pulled off two stunningly good recruiting classes that will get plenty of early action to build for the future. Unlike most new coaching staffs that have to deal with the pieces they inherit, Golden and his coaches are going with their guys and their recruits. If you’re going to lose, lose and get experienced and improve along the way.

Head coach: Al Golden
2nd year: 1-11
Returning Lettermen:
Off 24, Def 9, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 31
Ten Best Owl Players
1. C Alex Derenthal, Jr.
2. DE Brian Sanford, Soph.
3. NT Andre Neblett, Soph.
4. QB Adam DiMichele, Jr.
5. WR/KR Travis Shelton, Jr.
6. QB Vaughn Charlton, Soph.
7. WR Bruce Francis, Jr.
8. LB Alex Joseph, Soph.
9. LB Wallace Bates, Jr.
10. RB Marcellous Grigsby, Jr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 2-10

Aug. 31


Sept. 8


Sept. 15

at Connecticut

Sept. 22

at Bowling Green

Sept. 29

at Army

Oct. 6

Northern Illinois

Oct. 13

at Akron

Oct. 20

Miami University

Nov. 2

at Ohio

Nov. 10

Penn State

Nov. 17

Kent State

Nov. 24

at Western Mich

2006 Schedule
2006 Results:

8/31 at Buffalo L 9-3 OT
9/9 Louisville L 62-0
9/16 at Minnesota L 62-0
9/23 at Western Mich L 41-7
9/30 at Vanderbilt L 43-14
10/7 Kent State L 28-17
10/12 vs. Clemson L 63-9
10/21 at No Illinois L 43-21
10/28 Bowling Green W 24-14
11/4 Central Michigan L 42-26
11/11 at Penn State L 47-0
11/18 at Navy L 42-6

Even though the talent and athleticism has been significantly upgraded, it’s still going to take a while before Temple becomes competitive.  No one goes from getting outscored by an average of 43 to 10 over the last two years, while scoring fewer than ten points in 13 of the last 23 games, and becomes a superstar overnight.
Seven starters on the offense from the end of last year were underclassmen while eight freshmen or sophomores starters on the defensive side. Throw in all the recruits from this year’s class, arguable the best in the MAC, and this will likely be a maddening year when it comes to any sort of consistency. Owl fans will take that if there just a few wins here and there.
No, this isn’t the same Temple of a few years ago. Golden won’t let there be any talk of losing, he’s changing the overall attitude, and most importantly, he’s getting the players. While it might not be enough to mean much this season, the program just got a lot more interesting, and for the right reasons. 

What to watch for on offense: More pop. Any production from the nation’s worst offense will be appreciated. There was so much turnover and so many players thrown into the mix, there was never a chance for any running game to develop much less a sophisticated passing attack. The offensive line is the big key with four starters returning after an awful year. They need to do at least one thing really well to see what the skill players can do.

What to watch for on defense: There will be more wrinkles thrown in. With only two returning starters last year and no developed depth whatsoever, the defense wasn’t even remotely close to coming up with a stop against any offense with a pulse. The problem wasn’t necessarily athleticism or talent; it was youth and inexperience. Now the coaching staff can try to be more creative to generate pressure as it tries to find something the D can rely on.

The team will be far better if … it finds a positive identity of some sort. Being patient and living through mistakes will be a must once again, but there has to be at least one thing the team can do well. The offense and defense will come in time, but until then, the Owls have to cut down on the turnovers, have to start to pass protect, and must be far, far better on special teams.

The Schedule: There aren’t any easy games against D-IAA teams to rely on for wins, so unless the Owls get by Buffalo at home in the second game of the year, it’ll require an upset to come up with a victory. Four road trips in five weeks, and the lone home game in that mix against Northern Illinois, it’s not likely to be a great first half of the season unless the Owls can play hard at Army. The second half isn’t much better with road trips at Akron, Ohio and Western Michigan and home games against Miami University, Penn State and Kent State.

Best Offensive Player: Junior C Alex Derenthal. One of the only players on the roster who knows he has a starting job, the 6-4, 292-pound junior will be the anchor of the line after starting every game last year in the middle. He’ll have to be the steady force with all the changes to the rest of the offensive lineup.

Best Defensive Player: Sophomore DE Brian Sanford. But this could quickly change if JUCO transfer Wallace Bates lives up to his billing at linebacker or if Alex Joseph becomes a killer at middle linebacker. Sanfrod saw just three starts as a true freshman but showed immense promise at outside linebacker. Now he’ll move to the line where he’ll use his speed to potentially become a pass rushing terror.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore DTs Daniel Popper and Andre Neblett. More than anything else, Temple can’t get knocked out of games right off the bat. The Owls got outscored 153 to 20 in the first quarters of 2006 mainly because offenses were able to run at will, get up quickly, and force the Temple offense to scramble. If Popper and Neblett can do something, anything against the run, the entire team picture might change. 

The season will be a success if ... Temple wins three games. Considering the program has won four games in four years, three this season would be a monumental step forward for the young team. It’ll take a win over Buffalo, a win at Army, and an upset where everything goes the right way against someone who comes into the game sleepwalking. At the very least, just being more competitive on both sides of the ball would be a nice start.

Key game: Sept. 29 at Army. Temple doesn’t have more experienced talent than anyone on the slate but Buffalo and Army. A win over the Bulls is a must, but coming up with a victory over the Black Knights would be something special since it would break what will likely be a 23-game road losing streak. Not only would it be a nice win, it would be the first on the road since beating Middle Tennessee 44-36 in October of 2003.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Rushing touchdowns: Opponents 41 – Temple 4
- First half scoring: Opponents 311 – Temple 41
- Sacks: Opponents 48 for 364 yards – Temple 15 for 99 yards


Related Stories
2007 Temple Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 8, 2007
2007 Temple Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 8, 2007
2007 Temple Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Apr 8, 2007

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