Written By: Miles Bailey
Photo Courtesy of: @Temple_FB
For the first time in four years, Stan Drayton and his team held the Cherry and White game at Edberg-Olson Hall on Saturday for fans, donors, alumni and recruits to check on the progress of the team in the first open practice since Drayton’s hiring in December.
This is always a fun event for Temple students and Owls fans to attend and support the team. The marching band, cheerleaders and even Hooter the Owl were in attendance to see how the team is looking after winnings just three games last season.
“What an unbelievable day. I’ll tell you what, this is why I love college football, the pageantry, the band, and the fans. The support that I felt out here, I’m very proud to be a Temple Owl,” Drayton said.
The defense ended up winning the game by a final score of 64-54, as they were able to wreak havoc on the offensive line for a majority of the game and create five turnovers including interceptions by Chauncey Moore and Jalen Ware.
After practice, Drayton met the media in the weight room to express his thoughts about how his team performed in their first scrimmage with fans in attendance. Immediately, he expressed his thoughts about the strong defensive performance from the very beginning and then throughout the competition by both the second and third-team defensive teams as well.
“Our second defense against the one offense went out there and had a pretty doggone good day. That means that we’re starting to build some depth. That’s critical moving during the season especially deep into the season,” Drayton said.
Jalen Satchell and Xach Gill were two of the many rotating defensive linemen that Drayton included while naming those who impressed him most throughout the day.
Satchell is coming off his first collegiate season and didn’t make his first-ever start until the season finale against Navy. Meanwhile for Gill, he came to Temple via the transfer portal from UNC after hardly seeing any playing time during his stint there.
The biggest concern from today’s scrimmage was the poor execution from the offensive line. Outside of poor blocking, silly errors were being made throughout the game including multiple miscommunications with snaps.
“We got to work on snapping the ball better,” Drayton said. “It’s one thing to sit there and snap-on errors, and another thing to snap on a zero nose, that’s pretty doggone good.”
Offensive lineman C.J Perez, who was Temple’s starting center all of last season, decided to declare for the NFL draft and performed in the pro-day held on campus back on March 23 meaning that the position is currently up for grabs. On that day Perez ran a 5.34 40-yard dash, had the most bench with 26, jumped 32.5 inches high in the vertical, and had a 9-foot broad jump.
During his two seasons with the Owls, Perez started 17 consecutive games. In those starts, he had a total of seven different quarterbacks under center.
After nearly leaving Temple via the portal, D’Wan Mathis decided to stick around after the hiring of Drayton. After a two-year stint with Georgia, Mathis decided to come to play for Temple.
His first season as the Owls’ starting quarterback was very rocky, as he injured his ankle in the first game against Rutgers where they got blown out by a score of 61-14. A few weeks later, he came back to play where he managed to start in six straight games, but then he re-aggravated the ankle and missed the rest of the season.
He was quarterbacking an offense that was ranked at the bottom of every offensive statistical category in the American conference.
With a new head coach and different team culture, Mathis will look to rebound from a season ago.
“I feel like D’Wan Mathis is a guy that can definitely help this football team,” Drayton said when asked about Mathis’ performance during the scrimmage. “He made some really good throws. I mean, he also had a couple of guys make some really tough catches for him out there today.”