2008 Temple Preview - Offense
Temple QB Adam DiMichele
CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Temple Owl Offense
Preview 2008 - Offense
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What you need to know: The Owls are looking for more of an identity
after finishing dead last in the MAC in total offense and
scoring, but while things weren't all that great, the attack was
far better than it was over previous seasons. Now there are ten
returning starters and a ton of young players who have the speed
to explode. Goal one is to generate more of a running game with
a big, experienced offensive line, led by center Alex Derenthal,
looking to pound away and be more physical. QB Adam DiMichele
will be back healthy, after breaking his leg late in the year,
and should be efficient, and now someone other than Bruce
Francis has to make more big plays for the passing game.
Passing: Adam DiMichele
138-223, 1,595 yds, 12 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Jason Harper
163 carries, 586 yds, 5 TD
Receiving: Bruce Francis
47 catches, 731 yds, 5 TD
Star of the offense: Senior C Alex Derenthal
Player who has to step up and become a star: Freshman RB
Unsung star on the rise: Nixon
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Bruce Francis (as a kick
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Derenthal, 2) Francis,
3) TE Kevin Armstrong
Strength of the offense: Quarterback, all around
Weakness of the offense:
Proven running back production, consistency
Projected Starter: Last year the battle for the
starting quarterback job lasted up until the last second, after
carrying over from the year before. In the end, senior Adam
DiMichele turned out to be the right choice as he made an
offense that was at an all-time level for ineptitude
occasionally functional before getting knocked out for the year
with a broken leg. He's not all that big at 6-1 and 185 pounds,
but he's a decent runner and has a live arm. While he has an
issue with interceptions, he had some great moments last year
throwing for 299 yards and four scores in the loss to Bowling
Green and 313 yards and two scores in a loss to Army. The leg
will be 100% by fall and he's already been allowed to
participate in non-contact drills.
Projected Top Reserves: Junior Vaughn Charlton
was neck-and-neck with Adam DiMichele for the starting job
over the last two years before being the second stringer
throughout the first seven games of last season, and then he got
his shot when DiMichele broke his leg. While Charlton was fine,
completing 57% of his passes for 808 yards and three touchdowns
with an interception, he wasn't DiMichele. A bigger option at
6-4 and 226 pounds, he might not be much of a runner, but he's a
strong passer who'll likely be the starter going into next year.
It'll be up to three players for the No. 3 job with 6-3,
210-pound redshirt freshman Chester Stewart the likely
option. The top back up at the end of last year when Adam
DiMichele went down. Stewart is a tall, thin, accurate passer
who's one of the team's best running quarterbacks. Juniors
Colin Clancy and Andrew Case will also be in the mix.
Clancy doesn't have much in the way of skills, but he knows the
offense, while the 5-9, 185-pound Case, a walk-on, is a
Watch Out For ... Charlton to see plenty of time
even if DiMichele is health for the entire season. The coaching
staff will want to make sure DiMichele can play and doesn't get
tagged with a fluke injury and will want Charlton to be ready to
hit the ground running in 2009.
Strength: Two good options. DiMichele and Charlton
can each play and can each lead the team to wins. Now that
they've been around for a few years, they know what they're
Weakness: Deep passes. DiMichele and Charlton are good short to
mid-range passers, but they're not going to air it out all that
often. It's not part of the offense, but there just isn't a deep
passing aspect to the Owl attack.
Outlook: You have to remember just how abysmal the
quarterbacking was at Temple. No, Adam DiMichele and Vaughn
Charlton aren't quite Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, but they're
efficient, veteran passers who can keep the chains moving and
can win games. DiMichele proved last year against Akron that he
can rally the team late, and Charlton proved he could step in
and be effective.
Projected Starters: Originally considered as a top
receiver prospect, sophomore Marquise Liverpool,
who made eight catches for 163 yards and showed flashes of
big-play potential, but moved to running back this spring and
was atop the depth chart going into the off-season. With his speed and
athleticism, he could be unstoppable when he gets into space. Originally a Boston College Eagle, the 22-year-old
was a big get for Temple after spending time in the
Seattle Mariner farm system.
Temple has ten starters returning
with the one new opening at fullback after losing Josh Bundy.
True freshman Mike LaBarre is expected to make an instant
impact as both a blocker and a big runner. At 6-0 and 235
pounds, he already has the size and the body, and he also has a
little bit of speed and quickness. He's a smart enough player to
pick things up right away.
Projected Top Reserves: 5-9, 195-pound junior
Jason Harper led the team with 586 yards and five touchdowns
with a 114-yard day against Connecticut. The top recruit of the
2005 class after running for 2,995 yards and 35 touchdowns as a
high school senior, he has been the team's best rushing threat
over the last two seasons, but he hasn't been special enough to
latch on to the top job.
Also in the hunt for playing time will be 5-9, 180-pound
sophomore Jared Williams after sitting out last year.
He's a speedster who was clocked at 10.7 in the 100 meters in
high school, and now the former JUCO transfer should add some
more flash. He's a tougher runner than his size might indicate.
Battling for the fullback job will be senior Marcellous
Grigsby after seeing a little bit of starting time last
season and rushing for 29 yards and catching nine passes for 64
yards. Not all that big at 5-11 and 225 pounds, he has more
speed than power and has to break off more big runs, and prove
to be a better blocker, to get more playing time.
Watch Out For ... James Nixon. Temple's longest run
last year was 35 yards, and while sacks had something to do with
the 2.7 yards per carry, there weren't enough big dashes. Nixon
and Jared Williams, two speedsters, should change that.
Strength: Speed. All of a sudden the Owls have a
slew of sprinters ready to rumble after years of struggling to
get out of the gate. Even backup fullback Marcellous Grigsby can
Weakness: Touchdown production. The Owls ran for just seven
scores last season with Jason Harper running it in five times
and QB Adam DiMichele scoring the other two. There was only one
rushing touchdown in the final four games.
Outlook: The coaching staff is doing is spending
the off-season emphasizing running, running and running. The
Owls have the line to be physical, and now with young, fast
players like James Nixon and Jared Williams, along with veteran
Jason Harper, the team's leading rusher in each of the last two
seasons, there's no reason to be so lousy on the ground. Temple
didn't have a 200-yard rushing game last season, partly because
sacks killed the stats in good games against Kent State and
Connecticut. Now the hope is for more consistency.
Projected Starters: Back again as the unquestioned
No. 1 receiver is 6-0, 180-pound senior Bruce Francis,
who led the Owls in receiving in each of the last two seasons.
He caught 32 passes for 484 yards and four touchdowns in 2006,
and then with the improved quarterback play caught 47 balls for
731 yards and six scores despite missing the final two games
hurt. The former walk-on was one of the team's only explosive
playmakers, averaging 15.6 yards per catch, and will be the
focal point of the passing game from his Z position.
Starting again on the outside X position is 5-9, 170-pound
junior Dy'Onne Crudup after finishing second on the team
with 39 catches for 376 yards and three scores. After only
making two catches as a true freshman, he came on to grab one of
the starting jobs and became consistent. Now he has to come up
with more big plays and more yards after the catch. An X
receiver needs to average more than 9.6 yards per grab and can't
have the longest play a mere 21 yards.
In the slot will be long-time contributor Travis Shelton
coming off a 20-catch, 133-yard rebound season. The senior
averaged a team-leading 17.2 yards per catch as a sophomore, had
academic problems, and struggled to make a big impact last year.
He has the potential to become a fringe All-MAC producer if he
can have another strong year as a kickoff returner.
Senior Kevin Armstrong started out as a defensive end and
moved to tight end before his sophomore year. It all came
together last season finishing third on the team with 28 catches
for 277 yards and a touchdown while also serving as a key
special teamer. Now that he knows what he's doing he should be a
bigger part of the offense.
Projected Top Reserves: While there are veterans able
to carry the workload, the initial hope was for true freshman
James Nixon to be the real deal right away. The 6-1,
180-pounder came to Temple in January and has the type of speed,
athleticism and talent the team has been missing for a long
time. A pure home-run hitter, he might not be build like a
pounding back, but the two-time New England 100-meter champion
should be a bolt of lightning once he gets into the open. The
plan will be to find several ways to get him the ball, and while
the running back might end up in the backfield, he'll start out
at receiver behind Francis.
Sophomore Delano Green
is a 5-10, 170-pound quick target who was a star quarterback
in high school before switching to receiver. Even though he had
plenty of opportunities, he only made three catches for 36 yards
making more of an impact on punt returns averaging 10.4 yards
per try on seven returns.
Sophomore Michael Campbell caught ten passes for 94 yards
as a true freshman and should make a much bigger impact behind
Dy'Onne Crudup at the X. A fantastic athlete, he would've had a
bigger year if he didn't have a midseason ankle injury.
There will be several tight ends rotating in with 6-6, 260-pound
junior Steve Maneri getting a long look. He hasn't been
much of a receiver over his career, but three of his 12 catches
have gone for touchdowns. He has good hands and decent size, and
now he has to be more of a factor in all phases.
Combining with Maneri at tight end will be 6-4, 250-pound
sophomore Matt Balasavage. After getting hurt right away,
he got on the field early as a true freshman and made two
catches for 42 yards with a touchdown against Navy. With good
size and the athleticism to become a regular contributor, he'll
be a future starter.
Watch Out For ... the backups to play a bigger role.
The passing game didn't have enough pop outside of Bruce
Francis, and whoever can show a home-run hitting ability will
get time. That might be Marquise Liverpool and Michael Campbell.
Strength: Veterans. Francis is a sure-thing,
Dy'Onne Crudup was the team's No. 2 receiver, and tight end
Kevin Armstrong was third. They're all back.
Weakness: Proven explosiveness outside of Shelton. No one other
than Shelton did much of anything on a consistent basis to scare
secondaries. Temple isn't going to air it out much but the
offense will try to get the ball to the receivers on the move.
The quick targets have to do more with it.
Outlook: It should all be there for a big season
with experience, speed and enough talent to do a whole bunch
more than last year when consistency was an issue. Bruce Francis
should be an All-MAC performer while there are several other
players on the verge of breaking out with a little bit of luck.
Projected Starters: All five starters return to an
offensive line that wasn't anything great last year, but has a star to
work around in senior center Alex Derenthal. The 6-4, 294-pounder
has started 35 straight games and is has been a tough technician through
the truly lean years up until now. He's been a good anchor with good
all-around blocking ability, and now he has to do even more as a leader
of the veteran front five. There's no reason he can't be an MAC
Junior left tackle Devin Tyler has bulked up a bit to 285 pounds
on a 6-7 frame. Pass protection has always been an issue since getting
time in his freshman season, but the former defensive end has been
reliable starting all 12 games last season. Now that he knows what he's
doing, he needs to be more productive.
On the other side will likely be senior Jabari Ferguson either at
guard or tackle. After moving over from tight end, the 6-5, 300 pounder
saw time at right guard and left tackle and will combine with Andre
Douglas at right tackle on the other side of Devin Tyler. He's a decent
athlete for his size, but he has to be better in pass protection.
Sophomore Chris Tremel started out his Temple career as a
defensive lineman and then moved over to guard before this spring. At
6-4 and 290 pounds, he's a big, physical player who'll likely need a
little while before becoming consistent, but being physical on the
inside isn't a problem. He'll get the first look at right guard.
The left guard spot is settled with 6-4, 310-pound sophomore
Colin Madison after a good true freshman season. A star
shot putter on the Temple track team, he's a very strong, very
physical player who should turn into a mauler on the inside.
Even though he has the potential to be an All-MAC performer on
the football field before his career is over, he likely won't
ever be as good as he in on the track.
Projected Top Reserves: Combining with Jabari
Ferguson at right tackle will be veteran Andre Douglas.
The 6-5, 305-pound senior came over from Rhode Island, was a top
scout teamer, and then ended up starting all 12 games. He
started out his season at right guard before moving to tackle,
and he could likely move back to guard for long stretches early
6-5, 305-pound sophomore Derek Dennis got his feet wet as
a true freshman starting ten games at right guard. While he
struggled at times, he got better as the season went on and now
looks like the star of the future on the outside. He could end
up seeing time again early on the inside, but he'll end up
rotating with Devin Tyler at left tackle.
Able to step in to either guard spot is 6-4, 295-pound junior
Darius Morris, a strong recruit a few years ago who has a
little bit of experience, starting four times last year, he's a
big, athletic option behind Chris Tremel on the right side.
He'll step in and get a start or three this year.
Watch Out For ... more tinkering with the
combination. There might be tons of experience to play around
with the established veterans in a few spots, like center Alex
Derenthal and left tackle Devin Tyler, but the coaching staff
has never been afraid to play around with the lineup when
Strength: Veterans. This still might be a
relatively young line, but it's full of experience. From the 35
straight starts from Derenthal to Tyler starting every game last
year to having projected second teamers with starting
experience, whatever the front five turns out to be will know
what it's doing.
Weakness: Pass protection. With the size up front, and the
coaching staff's desire to get more physical, there will be more
production running the ball. Now the front five has to do better
at protecting the quarterback after giving up 93 sacks in the
last two season.
Outlook: New offensive line coach Andrew Dees has
a veteran group to work with led by anchor Alex Derenthal at
center and a slew of experienced players to build around. Now
everyone has to be better. Giving the quarterbacks time will be
job one, and then it'll be vital to star doing more for the
running game. Devin Tyler is a rising junior tackle and the
combination of Jabari Ferguson and Andre Douglas should be
strong at right tackle, but the production of the offense should
rest on them. If they're not better, the attack will still