There will be no persistent questions over the summer as to the new No. 1 quarterback at Temple. During a Tuesday press conference talking about spring practice which recently concluded, third-year coach Rod Carey said that redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis, a transfer from Georgia, has earned the No. 1 spot.
Redshirt sophomore Re-al Mitchell, who appeared in three games last season for Temple after transferring from Iowa State, is the No. 2 at the moment, according to Carey. Mathis replaces Anthony Russo, a three-year starter, who transferred to Michigan State.
In other news, Carey missed the last six spring practices after testing positive for COVID. He said he had taken his first vaccine shot, then tested positive about 10 days later and is now feeling much better and will be getting his second vaccine on Monday.
He said he drove his coaches crazy on Facetime while they ran practice in his absence. Carey added that there were minimal number of players who missed time during spring ball due to COVID or isolation.
While Carey said there are position battles at several spots, he’s moving forward at quarterback.
“D’Wan is our No. 1, I told him that and Re-al is definitely No. 2, they definitely had the best two springs and it will go in that order for sure,” Carey said.
All players who competed last year didn’t lose a season of eligibility, a concession the NCAA made to dealing with COVID-19.
When asked if Mathis would earn all the No. 1 reps in fall practice, Carey replied, “Yes, is the short answer. The long answer is we’ll probably get Re-al or whoever else...some work with the ones to just as a normal kind of, we want the backup to work with the ones and have some familiarity in case different situations arise.”
Last year due to injury, Temple (1-6) used six different quarterbacks.
The 6-foot-6, 205-pound Mathis started the first game for Georgia last season but was benched before the game ended and appeared in three other games as a reserve. He completed 12 of 30 for 89 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions while competing in college football’s best conference, the SEC.
Mitchell appeared in three games for Temple, completing 26 of 52 passes for 296 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed for 114 yards on 34 carries.
Two former Tar Heels linemen sidelined
Two defensive line transfer from North Carolina, Xach Gill and Lancine Turay, didn’t participate in spring practice due to injury.
“We are looking forward to get him back at some point this season, whether it’s mid to late,” Carey said about Gill. “I don’t know, I can’t tell you that right now, I don’t think the doctors will tell you that right now, but were hoping.”
As for Turay, Carey said, “Lancine Turay was out all spring with a lower body, a knee tweak that we are just being really overly cautious with.”
Local RB who made an impression
Carey echoed earlier comments from offensive coordinator Mike Uremovich that redshirt freshman running back Edward Saydee, a redshirt freshman from Penn Charter, had a big spring. Saydee rushed for 67 yards on 19 carries last season.
“Ed Saydee really had a great spring, probably graded out the most consistent as far as running behind his pads, running through tackles,” Carey said. “Really happy with Ed and his assignments and everything.
Carey praises former QB coach Craig Harmon
Carey wasn’t able to say anything about the successor to former quarterback coach Craig Harmon, who resigned during the spring.
Jake Landry, who has been on Temple’s staff as an analyst, is expected to be named the new coach, according to a person familiar with the situation.
What Carey did say was that he was sorry to see Harmon go. The two have been coaching together since 2014 when Carey was the head coach at Northern Illinois.
“I certainly didn’t want Craig to leave, it is not a decision that I wanted, but certainly looking forward to the future and with what we are going to do and have in the pipeline to get done,” Carey said. “Certainly excited about how this moves us forward with new energy, new ideas, just new everything.”