Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Temple.
Spring Practice Starts: Monday, March 12
Spring Game: Saturday, April 14
Three Things To Look For:
1. New faces for Big East fans, new faces for Temple fans. Big East football fans will need a few weeks to become familiar with the names around Temple football. Very little remains from the program that was kicked out of the conference in 2004 for a lack of competitiveness. But for Temple fans, it may take some time this spring getting to know the primary contributors for 2012 as well. Second-year head coach Steve Addazio returns just 9 starters from last year's 9-4 squad. However, the jump back into the Big East and a New Mexico Bowl win - the first postseason victory since 1979 - have the entire program moving with momentum. With over half of the starting positions up for grabs, this spring will be a time to identify the key players for the fall.
2. Rebuilding the running game. After leading the MAC in rushing for the second time in his career, and setting school records for career rushing yards (3,570) and touchdowns (53), running back Bernard Pierce decided to forego his senior season and declare for the NFL draft. His departure, along with the exit of four starters on the offensive line, have given the Owls' new offensive coordinator Ryan Day plenty of holes to fill in the running game. Right tackle Martin Wallace is the only starter left from 2011's squad. Look for senior Sean Boyle, twin brother of All-MAC left tackle Pat Boyle, to possibly emerge as a leader with the inexperienced unit. At running back the duties now are passed to backup Matt Brown, a short and speedy junior who logged 916 yards and six touchdowns in 2011.
3. Incumbent starter Chris Coyer getting competition at quarterback. Junior quarterback Chris Coyer was not given his first truly significant look as the Owls starter until late in 2011, but the Oak Hill, Va. native proved he was much more than a specialized dual threat option. Coyer completed 60 percent of his passes for 463 yards and averaged 8.1 yards per carry as he racked up 562 rushing yards and earned the starting nod heading into spring practice. But just as Coyer eventually jumped Chester Stewart on the depth chart, there are plenty of quarterbacks looking to get their shot at the starting job. Junior Clinton Granger will need to make a good impression on new quarterbacks' coach Kevin Rogers this spring, because former Penn State quarterback Kevin Newsome will join the team this fall.
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