#100 Temple Football 2013 Preview

Temple Owls

Overall Rank: #100
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#100 Temple Football 2013 Preview
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Temple is going through a few changes this coming season.  Hopefully it will be the beginning of a positive turnaround for the Owls.  This season Matt Rhule, who has plenty of coaching experience but never as a head coach, comes in to takeover for Steve Addazio.  Addazio had some early success in his short stint in Philadelphia.  He has since left to coach at Boston College despite his team finishing 4-7 in 2012.  It was easy for Rhule and everybody else to see that Temple is a good job.  The program has some talent.  It just needs to be harnessed.  Rhule’s first order of business will be to improve an FBS fourth-worst passing offense.

2012 Record: (4-7, 2-5)
2012 Bowl: None
Coach: Matt Rhule (1st year)
Offensive Coordinator: Marcus Satterfield
Defensive Coordinator: Phil Snow

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Chris Coyer, QB, 444 yards
Passing: Chris Coyer, QB, 946 yards
Receiving: Jalen Fitzpatrick, WR, 363 yards
Tackles: Tyler Matakevich, LB, 101
Sacks: Nate D. Smith, 3.5
Interceptions: Tavon Young, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees: DB Chris Hutton, DL Sean Daniels, OL Cody Booth, LB Blaze Copanegro, RB Kenny Harper

Key Losses: RB Montel Harris, P Brandon McManus, RB Matt Brown, DB John Youboty, DB Vaughn Carraway

Temple was a really strong running team last season.  They would hope for it to continue but they lose Montel Harris, a Boston College transfer that was an elite runner in the ACC prior to dominating at Temple.  They are going to have to find a runner to replace his production which will not be easy.  The athleticism of quarterback Chris Coyer contributed to the success in the ground game.  Coyer has since moved to H-back to make way for junior Connor Reilly, a drop back passer who fits the new offensive scheme.  The Owls will have to build on a bulky line up front with four returning starters in order to keep the ground game as one of their biggest strengths.  Defensively, there was a lot to be desired, but Temple did have defenders find their way to the quarterback.  They ranked third in the Big East at just over two sacks per game.  John Youboty, the team leader last year with five, has moved on.  Nate D. Smith and Sean Daniels return though to lead the defense.  They will look to take some steps forward and continue to wreak havoc in the backfield for the rest of the conference.  Special teams was also a strength last year.  They led the conference in the field position game with the best punting average (40.76).

The weakness that sticks out like a sore thumb is the Owls’ inability to pass the ball.  They were dreadful at 120 yards per game.  Coyer threw for less than 1,000 yards and only eight touchdowns.  Those are like first game numbers for Texas Tech.  The new American Athletic Conference will be a league that can score some points.  There are some tough players.  Temple is going to have to find a way to manufacture an aerial game.  They will dip below .500 again if they do not.  As a result of their poor performance in the air, they scored less points than a lot of teams overall.  Twenty-four points per game will most likely not cut it in 2013 if they wish to make it to a bowl game.  Moreover, despite their sack totals, the defensive line could not stop top rushers from breaking through.  They allowed just about 200 yards per game last season to opposing runners.  It kept their defense tired.  Other teams were able to put drives together and ultimately score more points.  Coach Rhule will have to shore that up this offseason.

The Bottom Line:
Temple’s defense looks like they could improve this year with some returning stars in Nate D. Smith and Sean Daniels.  The offense is going to be the project.  Their season will be determined by how in-tune the players are with one another.  Also, changing quarterbacks in a new regime is never easy.  They hope Reilly can be their guy all season.   The Owls are employing a new pro-style offense that should facilitate better passing numbers for a quarterback that has shown he can be accurate.  Reilly went 25 for 41 with four touchdowns in the spring game. Philadelphia is excited about Matt Rhule, but they should keep expectations reserved in 2013.  If the Owls can approach .500, that would be a successful season.  Showing improvement over the course of 12 games would leave the fans with a lot to root for starting in the fall of 2014.

Projected Bowl: None

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 201.18 (31st in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 120.82 (116, 8)
Total Offense: 322.0 (107, 7)
Scoring Offense: 24.73 (84, 5)
Rushing Defense: 199.82 (100, 8)
Pass Defense: 237.36 (66, 6)
Total Defense: 437.18 (90, 8)
Scoring Defense: 31.18 (86, 8)
Turnover Margin: -.18 (75, 6)
Sacks: 2.27 (45, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.82 (54, 5)


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