2008 CFN Temple Preview
Temple DT Terrance Knighton
Temple DT Terrance Knighton
Posted May 20, 2008

CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Temple Owls

Temple Owls

Preview 2008

By Pete Fiutak

- 2008 CFN Temple Preview | 2008 Temple Offense
- 2008 Temple Defense |
2008 Temple Depth Chart
- 2007 CFN Temple Preview | 2006 CFN Temple Preview

Has there ever been so much reason to get excited over a 4-8 season? If you're Temple and you're coming off some of the worst, most inept seasons in college football history, and if you're three years removed from being booted out of the Big East, yeah.
Things sort of went into the tank over the last month of the season with three losses in the final four games, scoring a mere ten points in the defeats, but the Owls still finished with as many wins as it came up with over the previous three seasons, and more importantly, it built things up for this season.

Head coach: Al Golden
3rd year: 5-19
Returning Lettermen:
Off 25, Def 26, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 2
Ten Best Owl Players
1. C Alex Derenthal, Sr.
2. DT Terrance Knighton, Sr.
3. WR Travis Shelton, Sr.
4. NT Andre Neblett, Jr.
5. QB Adam DiMichele, Sr.
6. SS Dominque Harris, Jr.
7. LB Amara Kamara, Soph.
8. TE Kevin Armstrong, Sr.
9. OT Devin Tyler, Jr.
10. CB Jamal Schulters, Soph.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 5-7
2008 Results: 0-0

Aug. 29 at Army
Sept. 6 Connecticut
Sept. 13 at Buffalo
Sept. 20 at Penn State
Sept. 27 Western Michigan
Oct. 4 at Miami Univ.
Oct. 11 at Central Michigan
Oct. 21 Ohio
Nov. 1 at Navy
Nov. 12 at Kent State
Nov. 22 Eastern Michigan
Nov. 29 Akron

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 2-10
2007 Results: 4-

Aug. 31 Navy L 30-19
Sept. 8
Buffalo L 42-7
Sept. 15 at Conn. L 22-17
Sept. 22 at Bo Green L 48-35
Sept. 29 at Army L 37-21
Oct. 6
No Illinois W 16-15
Oct. 13 at Akron W 24-20
Oct. 20
Miami Univ. W 24-17
Nov. 2 at Ohio L 23-7
Nov. 10
Penn State L 31-0
Nov. 17 Kent State W 24-14
Nov. 24 at Western Mich L 17-3

The Owls struggles offensively throughout the year scoring more than 24 points just once, but the defense led the MAC allowing just 363 yards per game. Now the hope is for experience to translate into production on offense while the defense should be even nastier. Even though almost everyone in the MAC comes back loaded with veterans, no one has the experience like Temple.

Just how much talent returns? Temple lost two lettermen. Not two starters, two lettermen. That's unheard of.

Head coach Al Golden started from scratch when he took over two years ago, and now his strong recruiting classes are about to pay off with veteran athletes all across the board, depth, options, and more hope than the program has had in years.

It's still not going to be a walk in the park for the East title. There's still that little matter of being able to score points and move the ball after finishing dead last in the MAC in both scoring and total offense. The  special teams still needs a ton of work and the league schedule doesn't to the Owls any favors with road trips to face the two best teams, Miami and Central Michigan, but overall, there's a positive buzz. This is becoming the hot MAC program, and it's time to take another big step forward.

What to watch for on offense: An attempt to do anything and everything to get more out of the running game. The MAC's worst rushing offense lost its leading rusher Jason Harper, but not to graduation or injury. The junior moved over to wide receiver to add more pop to the passing game. On the flip side, WR sophomore Marquise Liverpool is moving to running back to combine with Joe Jones and Jared Williams to add some more pop.

What to watch for on defense: More from the linebackers. All 11 starters return to a defense that should be excellent in the secondary, a rock in the middle with tackles Andre Neblett and Terrance Knighton among the best in the MAC, and good promise on the ends. Amara Kamara is a rising star on the outside while junior Alex Joseph should go from special teams star to the leader in the middle. The improvement of this group should take the defense from decent to special.

The team will be far better if … it can score. The Owls went 3-1 when it scored 24 points or more, and went 1-7 when scoring fewer than 24. The passing game isn't bad and should be solid as long as QB Adam DiMichele is healthy, but there needs to be more of a ground attack and there have to be more long drives. The defense can't carry the team all season long.

The Schedule:
Because of all the returning experience, this should be the best Temple team, by far, in several years, but the schedule won't provide any help with seven road games in the first ten including a lamb for the slaughter date at Penn State and back-to-back trips to face 2007 MAC title game combatants Miami University and Central Michigan. Winning the MAC home dates will be a must against Western Michigan, Ohio, Eastern Michigan and Akron. Closing out the regular season with the Eagles and Zips should help.

Best Offensive Player: Senior C Alex Derenthal. One of the few players who hasn't been part of the major turnover, Derenthal, a fifth-year senior, has seen the leanest of the lead times. Now he deserves to be part of the emergence as the rock of the line and the leader of the offense with more experience than anyone on the roster. The 6-4, 295-pound All-MAC star has a future in an NFL camp.

Best Defensive Player: Senior DT Terrance Knighton. The team's defensive MVP last season has been an active inside presence and has combined with Andre Neblett to form a brick wall on the inside. Not only is the 6-4, 295-pounder strong against the run, but he's great at getting into the backfield and is all over any fumble that hits the ground.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore RB Marquise Liverpool. After starting out signing with Boston College, Liverpool went off to play for the Seattle Mariner minor league system and then came to Temple as a receiver. Now he's being moved to running back and being asked to provide a charge into a dormant ground attack. A strong defensive back prospect as well as a receiver when he came out of high school in 2004, he's a physical 5-11 and 195 pounds with excellent quickness.

The season will be a success if ... Temple comes up with a winning season. The coaching staff and the team, with so much returning experience, is shooting for a MAC title, but for a program that hasn't won more than four games, or had a winning season, in 17 years, just getting to seven wins would be an incredible achievement. Winning the East is also a good goal, but that might have to wait for next year.

Key game: Oct. 4 at Miami University. It's not an overstatement to suggest that Temple can't win the East without beating the RedHawks. The Owls beat MU 24-17 last year in what appeared to be a springboard, but it turned into the high-point of the year as the team died down the stretch, partly due to an injury to DiMichele. Now, with the Owls far better, a win in Oxford should be the key to the season.

2007 Fun Stats: 
- Sacks: Opponents 45 for 319 yards – Temple 20 for 126 yards
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 86 – Temple 21
- Punt return average: Opponents 11.2 yards – Temple 5.4 yards