2009 Temple Owls Football Preview
2008 Record: (5-7, 4-4)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Al Golden (10-26 at Temple, 10-26 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Rhule
Defensive Coordinator: Mark D’Onofrio
Other Key Returnees: OT Pat Boyle, K Jake Brownell, WR Dy’Onne Crudup, RB Joe Jones, LB Alex Joseph, LB Elijah Joseph, LB Amara Kamara, TE Steve Maneri, DT Andre Neblett, DE Adrian Robinson, G Wayne Tribue, P Jeff Wathne
Key Losses: TE Kevin Armstrong, CB Evan Cooper, C Alex Derenthal, QB Adam DiMichele, G Andre Douglas, OT Jabari Ferguson, WR Bruce Francis, DT Terrance Knighton, WR Travis Shelton
Coach Al Golden has continued to move his Temple team in the right direction after some miserable seasons prior to his arrival in Philadelphia. In 2007 the team won four games and in 2008 they increased that total to five. The obvious next goal is to get to six wins and go to a bowl game for the first time since 1979. And that is certainly a realistic goal.
Temple’s total defense was not that great, but they did a good job keeping the opposition out of the end zone and only allowed 23.08 points per game. With eight starters returning, the unit should be even more formidable this time around. The biggest loss is tackle Terrance Knighton who tallied 7.5 tackles-for-loss. However, the front line should be in good shape with the return of nose tackle Andre Neblett. Ends Junior Galette tallied 7.5 sacks last year and is looking forward to a big senior season. Adrian Robinson did not put up huge numbers as a freshman, but he could turn into a solid pass rusher with a year of experience under his belt. The linebackers return pretty much intact with Alex Joseph, Elijah Joseph and Amara Kamara and the average run defense of a year ago should be pretty good in 2009. The secondary can only be better even without corner Evan Cooper. Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett is ready to emerge as a defensive superstar in the Mid-American Conference.
The offense ranked last in the conference in total yards and now they have to survive without quarterback Adam DiMichele. DiMichele was not the most prolific signal caller in the conference by any means, but he did throw 18 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. Sophomore Chester Stewart is next in line and if he can keep the chains moving, this Temple team will go to a bowl. However, it will be much easier for Stewart if the ground game can actually do something. Key-ayre Griffin and Joe Jones have to move the ball on the ground or the offense will be at the bottom of the conference once again.
The Bottom Line for the Owls:
This could be the year. It has been 18 years since the Owls have had a winning season and every year Coach Golden is on the sidelines should bring the team one step closer to actually bringing that drought to an end. The MAC East is pretty wide open this year as the most talented teams are in the West. Buffalo should provide the stiffest competition but the Owls get them at home. Akron and Ohio should sport good teams as well, but Temple has to face those two on the road and losses there could put an end to any hope of a bowl game.
By Joel Welser
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