With Only Two Weeks Until Opening Night, Temple’s Talented Running Back Room Is Battling For Playing Time

Written By: Luke Meli

Photo Courtesy of: OwlSports

Back in April, running backs coach Gabe Infante had two points of emphasis: Edward Saydee stuck out amongst the group, and the team was looking to implement a rotation for the backfield. Fast forward to the present, and not much has changed. 

At Tuesday’s media availability, Infante described the group as “the most depth we’ve had at that position since I’ve been here.” The room boasts returning guys like Tayvon Ruley, Edward Saydee, Kyle Dobbins, Onasis Neely, and some newcomers in Iverson Clement, Ra’Von Bonner, and Trey Blair. 

While the influx of talent could create challenges for playing time, it is a problem Infante is happy to have. 

“The great thing about that depth is no two running backs in the room are alike,” Infante said. “Their skills overlap in a lot of ways, so there are similarities between them.”

Both Infante and Head Coach Rod Carey have expressed the importance of crafting a rotation that will get multiple guys involved, while also not taking any backs out of the rhythm of the game. 

“What I’ve learned in the two years I’ve been here is you probably want to have three backs repped for a game,” Infante said. “You definitely need to use at least two.”

With seven guys competing for 2-3 spots, the coaching staff is sure to take time to manufacture a final depth chart. However, one player has stood out to Infante in both spring ball and training camp, redshirt-freshman Edward Saydee. 

“It’s the usual suspects. I think Edward Saydee has done a phenomenal job if I had to pick one person,” Infante said. “I think Saydee has been the most consistent performer that we’ve had.”

Upon hearing his coach’s praise, Saydee mentioned how getting more reps has changed how he views the game. 

“The whole system, everything is slowing down for me. It’s easy for me to read the defense and read the gaps,” Saydee said. “I feel like me getting more reps opened up more opportunities for me to see how I’m supposed to run certain plays.”

Just over two weeks away from game number one at Rutgers, there are still plenty of decisions to be made regarding the Owls’ backfield.

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