Written By: Javon Edmonds
Photo Courtesy of: @Temple_FB
“It’s time to play a game.”
Those were Rod Carey’s words today in his first weekly presser of the 2021 regular season. Carey’s Owls spent preseason camp at the SUNY-Maritime College football facility in The Bronx before returning home to prep for Thursday night’s opener against Rutgers.
Carey noted that practice got off to a bit of a slow start today, but there was no need to worry, saying, “every time we’ve taken a little time off with this group, they’ve been a little sluggish, but then they snap in really, really quick.” However, the practice was not the focus of today’s media availability, as the Owls released the depth chart for the 2021 season this morning.
Georgia transfer D’Wan Mathis secured his starting job at quarterback early in the offseason, making the conversation surrounding the position more about the backup job. However, with Rod Carey impressed by his “ability to read defenses in the pocket, under duress,” freshman Justin Lynch will be taking reps with the second unit in practice this season. From Mount Carmel High School in Chicago, Lynch had a 34-2 record as a starter on a team coached by his older brother Jordan. The 30-year-old Jordan Lynch played and coached at Northern Illinois under Rod Carey.
Anyone that follows Temple football knows that running back was the position to keep your eyes on in camp. Carey and running backs coach, Gabe Infante, made it clear that they loved the group of guys they have this season and that balancing playing time won’t be easy. With redshirt freshman Edward Saydee being named the starter, freshman Trey Blair will be his backup, leaving Kyle Dobbins and Tayvon Ruley fighting for opportunities.
Other players discussed today were transfer corner Cameron Ruiz and first-time starters Jerqavion Mahone and Keyshawn Paul. Along with running back Kyle Dobbins, Paul was dubbed as the two funniest players on the roster by their teammates in a social media clip during preseason camp. Mahone, the transfer defensive tackle from Kentucky, came into camp underweight but, as Carey noted today, was able to get himself back to a good weight of 285 pounds and regain his strength quickly.
Carey was asked a few questions regarding playing schools that recruit many of the same players as Temple, along with regional games as a part of the non-conference schedule. He noted that playing schools like Rutgers, a team that checks both of those boxes, is certainly a part of recruitment and that winning those games only helps. “The regional games are a good thing: Rutgers, Pitt, Penn State, Maryland… those things are good.”
Cornerback Christian Braswell, defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh, and right tackle David Nwaogwugwu all left Temple for Rutgers via the transfer portal in the offseason. Maijeh and Nwaogwugwu will start for Rutgers on Thursday. Another former Owl in the Rutgers program is secondary coach Fran Brown. Brown was a member of former coach Matt Rhule’s staff, left, and returned to Temple to join Carey’s staff before leaving for Rutgers.
To end today’s press conference, Carey was asked if playing against those guys added something extra to the season opener. He responded by saying, “it’s today’s college football.” But, he added, “everyone gets their choice and gets to move to where they think they’ll be the most successful.”
Carey closed today’s session by saying something we’re hearing more and more across the collegiate landscape these days, “we have to worry about the people that are here.”