Written by: Chris Kofsky
Image from: philly.com
On Friday March 22, Temple Football held its fifth practice of the season and are just over five months away from their season opener under new head coach Rod Carey.
Coming into spring, redshirt junior quarterback, Anthony Russo has been getting a lot of compliments from his coach and his teammates about learning the play book and getting himself prepared for the season.
“He has done a fantastic job learning (the offense), now the transition from the classroom to the field. That’s the part that he’s done a good job with it, but it’s not where it has to be yet. That’s not him, that’s just a matter of time, right,” Carey said.
Redshirt junior wide receiver Branden Mack, who has been throwing with Russo for six or seven years mentioned how Russo has been a leader and been more vocal in the weight room.
When Mack was asked if Russo can lift a little bit, he chuckled and responded with “Yea Russo pretty strong, we call him, he a little “Big Ben.”
Mack is going to be a guy who will be relied on this season. Mack had five touchdowns last season on 44 receptions. He’s became one of Russo’s favorite targets in the red-zone last season because of the chemistry they’ve had in the past.
“I’ve been throwing to B-Mack since my sophomore year of high school,” Russo said. “We played seven on seven ball together in the summertime in high school, so that connection is definitely there.”
Russo also mentioned how Mack, being a big body and a basketball player, that if you throw the ball around him, he’s going to go up and get it.
When Mack was asked if he prides himself on being a redzone target, he said, “ that’s like my specialty, right there. The red zone I call it my zone, for real, for real because jump balls I don’t want to call it a 50/50 ball, I want to call it my ball,” Mack said.
The red zone being “my zone” for Mack isn’t a nickname that he got playing wide receiver at Cheltenham High School.
“High school I didn’t play receiver, I played everything but receiver, I was just an athlete,” Mack said.
Mack will look to fill the void left by Ventell Bryant. Coach Carey acknowledged he has done well so far and so has senior speedster Isaiah Wright.
“Isaiah is having a great spring so far. I really think he is. Isaiah is a really smart football player, and he’s catching on,” Carey said.
Wright has eight non- receiving touchdowns in his three seasons as Temple and as far as using him creatively like Owls coaches did in the past, Carey plans to do the same thing
“I don’t think we’d be very smart if we didn’t use him creatively. When you have a guy like that with the ball skills, the ability, the overall football intellect, we’d be pretty foolish not to,” Carey explained.
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jadan Blue, could be a weapon for the Owls offense.
“Having him (Blue) back is awesome ,not for just how great of a player he is, but how great of a kid he is,” Russo said. “He always has a smile on his face and always wants to work. He’s always the guy if I need someone after practice he will be the first one there.”