Temple Owls 2013 College Football Preview
2012 Record: 4-7 Overall
Lincoln Financial Field
The Temple Owls welcome 2013 as they make the transition from a brief and rocky stay in the Big East to full time residency in the Ameriican Athletic Conference. The Owls return key starters on offense and feature a young unit that should have plenty of opportunity to showcase their talent as former head coach Al Golden's protege Matt Rhule and his pro style scheme takes over for Boston College bound Steve Addazio on the sidelines.
OFFENSE: The Owls will hand the offensive keys to junior quarterback Connor Reilly who passed Chris Coyer on the depth chart this spring. Reilly is a strong armed, efficient passer and will certainly fit better into the pro-style scheme that Matt Rhule will look to re-implement in his first season as head coach. Coyer may very well still be used in goal line packages but his bruising style fell out of favor fairly quickly as last year wore on. The Owls will have open auditions at the skill positions this summer as well as they will need 2-3 receivers to emerge in order to effectively operate the pro-style scheme. Jalen Fitzpatrick and his 363 yards last season will be relied on heavily to produce out of the gate as some other youngsters get familiar with Rhule's system. The offensive line returns the majority of its starters and Rhule will rely on senior Sean Boyle to provide leadership for a unit that will need to protect Connor Reilly in order to be successful.
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
DEFENSE: The Temple defense remains a good ways away in multiple areas as they transition to what should be a more high octane offensive conference. The Owls struggled mightily against the run in 2012 and opponents averaged over 150 yards per game on the ground against them. The biggest bright spot will be at the linebacker position where the owls employ freshman all-american Tyler Matakevich. Matakevich racked up 101 tackles last season and was active on the turnover front as well. On the line, a solid season from defensive end Sean Daniels who tallied 3 sacks in 2012 would be a huge boost.. The Owls return nobody of note in the secondary and things were further complicated in the spring when senior Abdul Smith went down to injury. If Smith can recover and get back into action before the season begins, he can bring some game experience and leadership to a unit that was exposed often last year and lost a few players to graduation.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Owls lose all league kicker Brandon McManus this year and one of Tyler Mays and Colby Perry to emerge as their steady placekicker. Jalen Fitzpatrick was effective in the kick return game at times last year but it remains to be seen if Rhule will risk injury to his most proven receiving threat.
OUTLOOK. The Owls will welcome the move to the AAC and can expect a slight step down in competition from top to bottom. With Matt Rhule at the helm, the Owls are sure to be back in contention sooner than later but they have too many holes and too much inexperience at key positions to make a move this year. I expect a sub .500 years for the owls but a much more enjoyable offense to watch for their fans, especially as the season rolls on.