The Owls have been improving every year since Al Golden was named head coach in 2006. Their win total has increased each year and Temple is looking for their first bowl appearance since 1979.
Temple is coming off a season where they were ranked last in the MAC averaging only 310 yards per game in total offense. With the loss of their starting quarterback, coach Golden will have two options to step into the starting role. Chester Stewart looks to be in line to take over the spot, but Vaughn Chester is trying to make his case too. Stewart is more mobile and is able to get it done with his feet, while Charlton is better through the air.
The Owls’ will have a similar debate at running back. Kee-ayre Griffin, Joe Jones, Lamar McPherson, and Ahkeem Smith will be battling for the starting spot. Griffin was the leading rusher last season as a true freshman, but didn’t make an impact as the clear-cut starter. McPherson is a transfer from Syracuse who has played multiple positions including linebacker and fullback. Smith and Jones might be the two most consistent and talented out of the group.
Jason Harper, Dy’Onne Crudup and James Nixon will be the go-to guys for whoever who distributing the ball through the air. Harper had a decent season last year after changing positions from tailback. He will need to put up better numbers though this year if the Owls want to make a run at a bowl game. As a freshman, Nixon illustrated that he is a dual threat. He can make plays catching the ball, as well as running. With Nixon’s explosiveness, it will be important for the Owls to get him as many touches as possible throughout a game. After starting four freshman on the line in 2008, the Owls will continue to have some inexperience on the line.
The defense is not spectacular, but they can get the job done. They only allowed 23.1 points per game and should put up better statistics this season. Andre Neblett, Junior Galette and Adrian Robinson will be providing the pressure up front.
The experience at linebacker should help the defense tremendously in 2009. The Owls return Amara Kamara, John Haley, Alex Joseph and Jordan Martin. Last year, Temple was ranked second in the conference only giving up 112 yards on the ground.
Their passing defense was a different story giving up 270 yards in the air last season. The Owls should improve this year in the secondary with the added experience and depth of the players. Jamal Schulters and Marlin Terrell will be starting at the corners and Dominique Harris and Jaiquawn Jarrett will return at safety. Jarrett is expected to have a dominant season and be one of the leaders in the secondary.
With the starting quarterback spot up in the air, it will be up to the defense to keep the Owls in games this season. There are still too many questions concerning the offense, which will be the downfall for the Owls and force them to miss a bowl berth.