Playing Through a Pandemic; LBs Graham-Mobley & Kwenkeu Address the Media

Written by: Aarman Sethi

With the college football season looming, Temple football players caught up with the media members to discuss their preparation among other things ahead of the season. 

Senior linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley is next in line to step into a leadership role on the defensive side of the football. Last year, Graham-Mobley played in just 8 games due to a season ending injury. In those games he totaled 27 tackles, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. Graham-Mobley was asked how he felt about coming off the injury.

“Injuries come with the game,” he stated. “Playing a sport, you’re expected to get ready for anything. The ankle is back to 100% and I feel great. Hopefully, there aren’t any more set-backs from here on out.” 

Graham-Mobley was also asked about this years’ defensive unit and if he and others are more comfortable in this system now that they have had a second year under the system. 

“We’re ready to fill in the role,” he said. “Definitely, kudos to Shaun (Bradley) and Chapelle (Russell). They’ve taught me so much. I’m not going to say it won’t be the same because they aren’t the same players as William and I but we’re ready to fill in the role and lead this team to success. And we’re definitely more comfortable. We have an experienced group that is ready to eat this season.” 

Graham-Mobley was also asked about the coronavirus, the virus that has been affecting the entire globe for the better of six months. One reporter asked had there been any in trepidation among players about playing this season and whether he felt as though he was being educated well enough to keep himself and his teammates safe as they prepare for the start of the season. 

“I think it has gone pretty well,” he said. “The coaches and everyone else around us want to keep us safe. They aren’t keeping us in the dark. Once the coaches took it upon themselves to get us into different learning groups about what COVID is, how to keep ourselves away from it, and all these different rules and regulations, guys start to become more safe around the facilities. In order for us to play football this season, we have to sacrifice somethings. At first it was a little worrisome because that’s how it was everywhere. But once guys started coming back and getting comfortable, things have settled down.” 

Graham-Mobley was also asked about his mindset heading into this season amidst the uncertainty of the 2020 college football season. 

“We’re preparing as if we are going to have a season,” he said. “Typical football training like weight-lifting, film over zoom, etc. It feels good to get back to it. Everyone has it in the back of their mind what happens if there isn’t a season. Honestly, I don’t have much planned if there isn’t a season. No one really knows what we would do if we didn’t have a season. But we’re taking it one day at a time.” 

Fifth year senior linebacker William Kwenkeu is also set to step into a leadership role alongside Graham-Mobley. Last year, Kwenkeu played in four games and redshirted the rest of the season. He was asked about what he gained from the redshirt year and how he plans to step in to fill the void of the linebackers that departed the program last year. 

“I think it was a good opportunity to learn,” he said. “The games I did play in allowed me to contribute as much as I could even though I was injured. It also facilitated that transition going into this year. I also think this group has a lot of players with different qualities and that’s one of the best things about this group. We compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” 

Another reporter asked Kwenkeu about his thoughts regarding the ‘We Want to Play” movement. 

“I think everyone wants to play,” he said. “I think everyone wants to see football. The question comes around player safety. I think Temple has done a good job in terms of trying to maintain protocols, maintaining social distancing at practices, etc. There are a lot of people that are concerned about the long-term effects of getting the virus, but we are trying to do everything in our control so we can play.” 

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