By: Cayden Steele
Temple football began spring practice on Monday morning and competition is underway.
Head coach Rod Carey met with the media shortly after Monday’s practice and revealed the practice “wasn’t good enough.”
The Owls lost many players to the transfer portal during the offseason, linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley (Boston College), quarterback Anthony Russo (Michigan State) and defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh (Rutgers) were among the various players that transferred from the program.
Temple lost experience, but acquired many new faces by adding through the transfer portal.
The biggest addition through the transfer portal could potentially be quarterback D’Wan Mathis. He transferred from Georgia, where he backed up J.T. Daniels and played for head coach Kirby Smart.
Mathis is a part of the quarterback competition and needs to beat out returning quarterbacks on the roster like Re-Al Mitchell. Head coach Rod Carey believes his new quarterback has all the physical tools to be good.
“The number one thing he has to do this spring is just get comfortable with the offense,” Carey said. “All the physical abilities are there, he can throw it, he can run, the whole deal.”
The quarterback room is a group with many different shapes and sizes. Mathis and Mitchell both can use their legs to extend plays, which adds an extra dimension to the offense, Carey said.
“It’s a really talented room. What I’m hoping for, I don’t know if I’ll get it is that somebody takes it and runs away with it and wins the job,” Carey said. “It’s very easy at the beginning of the spring to name that or at some point name that going into fall camp.”
Quarterback is not the only position-battle to watch, the defense is relatively young and many players from the 2020 secondary will not return.
The cornerback room is another one that has been marked by a change in the guard, Linwood Crump transferred to Colorado State and Christian Braswell left for Boston College. There is still some returning experience left, graduate-student Freddie Johnson and redshirt-sophomore Elijah Clark have played valuable snaps before. Some of the younger players, including freshman corners Daiyaan Hawkins and Garrett Williams could compete for roles, Carey said.
It doesn’t matter what the position is, Carey wants players from every position group to take control of starting roles.
“What am I looking for out of that room? The same I am looking for in every other room. I want to see someone step up and grab it and take it,” Carey said. “There’s enough ability there. I think our talent is probably better than it was last year as a group with that position.”
The safeties and linebackers have good depth and talent, Carey said.
Safety Amir Tyler headlines the group and other players, including redshirt-freshman M.J. Griffin, redshirt-junior Jalen Ware and freshman Trey Blair are returning to the backend.
The linebacker group has many key contributors back, graduate student William Kwenkeu, freshman Kobe Wilson, redshirt-junior Audley Issacs and redshirt-freshman Jordan Magee, will help stabilize the middle of the field and stop the run and pass.
The Owls are excited to return to the field and the energy could be felt on the first day, Carey said.
“Don’t take my frustration from today’s practice that it just wasn’t damn good enough, as you know, that there wasn’t a lot of great energy out there,” Carey said. “The guys were excited to play, our job is just to get that energy. Now that we got that energy, let’s get it going in the right direction.”