Head coach: Al Golden
Last season: Temple was next-to-last in the nation with 53.7 rushing yards per game. They only picked up 1.87 yards per carry. That kind of anemic run production puts a lot of stress on a quarterback in third-down situations. Quarterback Adam DiMichele forced a lot of passes. He finished the season with 12 interceptions and 10 touchdowns. The passing offense was 98th in the nation.
The defense was just as bad. The Owls allowed almost 20 more rushing yards per game than any other team in the nation. So yeah, they were the infamous No. 119, but by a wide margin. The pass defense was adequate, being only the 71st best. But why the heck would you throw the ball when a blind osteoporosis patient can stroll a wheelchair past the Owls' line?
Most teams figured that out last season as Temple finished the nation's third-toughest schedule at 1-11. The one win came at home against Bowling Green. And that's a good sign for the program, because it enters the MAC as a football-only member in 2007. Golden believes his team can win the MAC East.
Best returning player: Junior defensive tackle Terrance Knighton
Offense: The good news: The Owls will bring back nine players on this side of the ball. The bad news: So what? Those guys stunk. There's not much more to say about this group. They couldn't pass. They certainly couldn't run. And they plan to make an encore in 2007. Coming to a Rubber Bowl near you.
Defense: After reading the team's spring prospectus, which typically is an overly optimistic outlook, I still can't see one position where the team has an advantage over any other Division I team. Knighton has the most impressive stats on defense, but apparently he will split time at tackle.
Almost every position is up for grabs. There are a lot of "auditions" and "battles" for positions. Is there one guy Golden can count on? Well, sophomore Jake Brownell looks decent at punting and kicking -- although Golden only sent out his field goal team six times in 2006. If anything, this reminds me of the Browns early expansion years. They had a few players that could be serviceable. Almost everyone was too young or too unskilled. Coach Golden, let me save you a giant headache when I urge your players to keep their helmets on after a missed field goal to end the game.
How the Zips match up: Who cares? This is a blowout ... OK, OK ... I'll provide some serious analysis. Week seven is a great time to play Temple. First, it could be the point in the season to try a new quarterback. If J.D. Brookhart's original choice is a dud, the backup can get an opportunity against a young defense. Also, it should give the backup running backs an opportunity to get some carries. Dennis Kennedy could be banged up. Now would be a terrific time to see if Bryan Williams or Alex Allen can live up to their potential.
All cockiness aside, Temple will be a solid MAC team in the near future. Their recruiting classes have stacked up nicely with Akron's. Golden came up with a great farm system for developing walk-ons. The first two years, however, the Owls will be lucky to beat Buffalo.
Way-too-early prediction: Akron 42, Temple 12
Romeo Travis and Dru Joyce both plan to continue their basketball careers, the ABJ's Tom Gaffney reports.
Travis sounds confident he will have a spot on the Cavs' summer league team. Joyce wants to play in Europe, possibly Germany.
I've always thought Travis could be a poor man's Carlos Boozer. He just needs to turn his motor up a few notches. Joyce is a solid game manager, but he can't create his own shot or guard quicker players. He will be a better coach than player.