Temple Owls

Temple, still without QB, gets set 'live' 2 weeks before Notre Dame

Temple, still without QB, gets set 'live' 2 weeks before Notre Dame

As far as Temple head coach Geoff Collins was concerned, Saturday was game day for he and his Owls.

They stayed at a hotel Friday night. They woke up Saturday morning and had a team breakfast. They went through team walkthroughs and drills before gearing up and stepping on to the turf. They went “live” with everything they did.

But the reality is that Saturday was only the Owls’ final intrasquad scrimmage before the end of camp and that the season opener at Notre Dame is still exactly two weeks away.

“It was just so that when we get ready to play a game, we’ve already done all of it,” Collins, Temple’s first-year leader, said after the scrimmage at historic and toasty Franklin Field. “And the young guys who’ve never made a trip for us, they were there. They got to go through the whole process, so it was an unbelievable day.”

But the reality also is that Temple still doesn’t have a starting quarterback just two weeks ahead of traveling to South Bend.

Three weeks of camp and an offseason of preparation have settled nothing in the four-pronged race for the starter’s crown. Redshirt junior Frank Nutile, redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi, redshirt freshman Anthony Russo and true freshman Todd Centeio again all split reps up and down the depth chart Saturday.

Collins just knew reporters couldn’t wait to ask the question.

“The big thing the last couple weeks is that every day one of the guys who’s pulled apart and then someone else has pulled apart,” Collins said of his team’s ongoing quarterback battle. “It’s going to be exciting watching the tape of this scrimmage because last scrimmage, it felt like there was a little separation with two guys. Today, I think it might have been a little bit more.”

So rather than waiting for reporters to ask the next logical question, Collins just went ahead unprompted and answered it for everyone with a recorder or phone or microphone or camera in sight.

“Hopefully by the end of this week, we’ll have some guys who we can say are above the line.”

“Above the line” is Collins-speak for the first team, second team and so on and so forth. He doesn’t believe in actual depth charts or the philosophies behind them.

And that “some guys” comment is interesting. With four players in fierce competition with one another and apparently not separating themselves enough, could a multi-QB system actually be realistic?

The QBs have different builds and styles. Nutile and Russo each check in at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and are certainly more pro-style, pocket passers. They can scamper if need be, but standing tall in the pocket and seeing the whole field is how they excel. Marchi and Centeio each check in at 6-foot. Centeio weighs in at 201 pounds while Marchi weighs in at 192 pounds. Both guys are known for their ability to scramble and create havoc when the pocket breaks down.

“I believe in the guys who are ready to play at a high level for a top-25 championship program,” Collins said.

The fact of the matter is that whoever grabs the brass starter’s ring(s) will be thrown into the nationally televised fire with bundles of inexperience or no experience at all.

Russo and Centeio have never even suited up for a college game. Nutile and Marchi have combined to go 5 for 9 for 69 yards and a touchdown since 2015. Of course, having prolific program record-breaker Phillip Walker ahead of them played a pretty big role in that.

But still, big shoes need to be filled on a big stage. And all that inexperience will have to evaporate quickly for the Owls to have a chance not only on Sept. 2 in South Bend but also moving forward.

And the Owls who’ve played with and against all four QBs every day this summer are confident that whoever has the ball in his hands can lead the way.

“Every quarterback is different,” said senior Adonis Jennings, who, along with senior Keith Kirkwood and junior Ventell Bryant make up a deep and talented wideout corps the QB(s) will be throwing to.

“So whatever style or type of offense we’re going to run, whoever fits that best is going to be the quarterback. I like all four of them and we’ll see what happens.”

“It’s good, honestly, because we’ve got guys who can run and we’ve got guys who can pocket pass and things like that,” senior safety Sean Chandler said of the QBs he goes up against every day in practice. “I feel like they’re all very precise and they make good decisions. Those are things that we need.”

Jennings admitted, though, there is work to do when it comes to preparing with four different quarterbacks.

“You just have to adjust to each quarterback’s playing style,” he said. “You have to build a connection with all four of them just to get things right with them so that they can know the offense and get connected with the receivers, the tight ends, the linemen, the running backs and the whole offense in general.”

Only two more weeks to adjust.
 
Special teams update
Temple also has a less-heralded battle going on at kicker between senior Austin Jones and sophomore Aaron Boumehri.

Jones started 2016 as the Owls’ kicker and went 10 for 12 before tearing his left ACL in a loss at Memphis on Oct. 6. Boumehri, a former walk-on, took over and impressed with a booming leg that connected on 15 of 17 attempts.

Now with Jones back healthy, the two are locked in a heated competition for kicking duties.

Collins noted both have excelled during camp and even said that strength coaches told him Jones’ leg is stronger now than it was before the injury.

Just like with the QB decision, two weeks left to make a final call.

Aaron Boumerhi misses 27-yard FG as Temple falls to Army in OT

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USA Today Images

Aaron Boumerhi misses 27-yard FG as Temple falls to Army in OT

BOX SCORE

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Blake Wilson kicked a 29-yard field goal in the first overtime and Army held off mistake-prone Temple 31-28 on Saturday in a dramatic finish.

Temple had a chance to force another extra period, but Aaron Boumerhi missed left on a 27-yard field goal attempt, his second miss of the game, sending the Black Knights (6-2) into a gleeful frenzy as they remained unbeaten in five games at Michie Stadium and became bowl-eligible.

Army, which disdains the pass nearly all of the time and ranks last nationally, tied the game through the air with a 14-play, 79-yard drive in the final 91 seconds of regulation. Backup quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr., Army's top passer, completed five passes for 67 yards, hitting Jermaine Adams in the left corner of the end zone with a perfectly thrown 16-yard strike with one second left.

It was the last nonconference game of the year for Temple (3-5), which has lost four of five.

Ryquell Armstead rushed for 151 yards on 18 carries and scored twice in the fourth quarter for Temple. His 21 yard-run around the left side with 1:38 left seemed to doom the Black Knights.

Temple quarterback Logan Marchi, who had two straight 300-yard games, did not start. Owls officials said he was hurt in last week's game against UConn but was available to play. Redshirt junior Frank Nutile, the only other player on the roster with game experience, got the nod. His resume included six games and six completions, but he rose the occasion. Nutile finished 20 of 29 for 290 yards passing and one touchdown with zero turnovers.

The Temple defense held Army to 135 yards on 27 carries in the first half as the nation's second-leading rushing team found few openings and the Black Knights managed just 29 yards on 10 carries in two three-and-outs in the third. Army entered the game averaging 378.4 yards a game and finished with 248.

Darnell Woolfolk led the Black Knights with a career-high 132 yards on 18 carries and scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, the key to the ground game, gained just 49 yards on 13 carries.

The Owls broke a 14-all tie early in the fourth after a critical third-and-11 play. Tailback David Hood snared a screen pass with one hand in the right flat and raced 36 yards to set up Armstead's 43-yard run.

The Black Knights answered by finally breaking through on the ground. Woolfolk burst up the middle for a 44-yard touchdown with 5:03 left in the fourth.

The Owls have been plagued by mistakes, and another one cost them in the second quarter. Army linebacker Cole Christiansen blocked Alex Starzyk's punt and recovered it at the Temple 28. Bradshaw then hit Jeff Ejekam for 24 yards and Woolfolk scored on the next play from the 4 to give Army a 14-0 lead early in the second.

Nutile found some comfort in the pocket and completed a 17-yard pass to Keith Kirkwood on a third-and-8 play and Isaiah Wright scored on a 50-yard run out of a wildcat formation on the next play.

After forcing an Army punt, Nutile gained 13 and five yards on consecutive keepers and then hit Adonis Jennings for 37 yards over the middle for a touchdown to tie it at 14-all with 3:38 left in the half.

Army gained a 7-0 lead in the final minute of the opening quarter on Woolfolk's punishing 11-yard run. The big fullback broke three tackles on his way into the end zone.

The takeaway
Temple: The Owls might have a quarterback quandary. Although Marchi had two strong games throwing the ball, he's also thrown eight interceptions. Nutile entered the game 6 of 14 for 80 yards passing with one pick.

Army: The Black Knights have won two games without completing a pass, but Bradshaw went 2 for 2 for 42 yards in the first half and looked steady in a role that's rare in this triple option and Hopkins proved Army's passing game can be a factor going forward.

Kicking out of trouble
Army punter Nick Schrage had kicks of 65 and 52 yards after two three-and-outs in the third quarter to keep Temple at bay. The game remained tied when Boumerhi's 32-yard field goal attempt for the Owls hit the right upright.

Up next
Temple: The Owls have a bye before facing Navy in a night game on Thursday, Nov. 2.

Army: The Black Knights have a bye before traveling to play service academy rival Air Force on Nov. 4.

Fran Dunphy and Herb Magee to host an exhibition for charity

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US Presswire

Fran Dunphy and Herb Magee to host an exhibition for charity

Two legendary Philadelphia basketball coaches will square off for charity.

Temple’s Fran Dunphy and Jefferson’s (Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University) Herb Magee will have their teams face off at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

All ticket sales will be donated to One America Appeal to help those impacted by recent hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

“When the opportunity presented itself to play an exhibition game to raise money for the people suffering from the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, we knew right away that we needed to be a part of it,” Dunphy said in a statement. "I called my good friend, Herb Magee, one of the most respected men in the business, and he felt the same way. This gives our fans a rare opportunity to see our programs compete while also helping out those in need.”

“It is a tremendous opportunity for our team,” Magee said. “Coach Dunphy and I have been friends for a long time. We talked about playing one day and that time is now. We're looking forward to it, especially as we begin our new era as the Jefferson Rams. Being able to provide aid to those impacted by the recent natural disasters makes this game that much more special.”

Temple requested a waiver from the NCAA to play this exhibition for charity.

The Owls tip off their season against Old Dominion in the Charleston Classic on Nov. 16, while the Rams travel to Anaheim, California to open Concordia on Nov. 3.