From an injury standpoint, the Temple Owls are in fairly good shape for their noon Saturday matchup against No. 21 Maryland at Lincoln Financial Field.
One player who would give the Owls a major boost upon his return is redshirt junior tight end Kenny Yeboah. After sitting out the opening 56-12 win over Bucknell because of injury, Yeboah has had two weeks to prepare for Maryland.
As it turns out, Yeboah’s replacement against Bucknell, redshirt freshman David Martin-Robinson, came out of that game a little banged up. Both practiced fully Tuesday, according to coach Rod Carey.
“It was good to have them both out there,” Carey said during his weekly press conference. “The difference between DMR and Kenny right now is that Kenny is going to have rust. He just hasn’t practiced for three weeks or so. But DMR, we sat him down last week [during the bye], and getting him back was good.”
Carey said it would mean a lot if Yeboah is able to play, but …
“Now it is a matter of having Kenny do what he can do that he isn’t rusty at,” Carey said. “The last thing you want to do is ask him to get in a game and ask him to do everything. He hasn’t practiced in like three weeks, so he won’t be able to do all of that.”
Yeboah was not available for interviews because of the injury.
Against Maryland (2-0), which is coming off a 63-20 pounding of then-No. 21 Syracuse, Temple will need all the key offensive players it has.
And make no mistake — even though he was underutilized last season (13 receptions, 154 yards, one touchdown), the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Yeboah presents mismatches against a Maryland team that is expected to use a lot of man-to-man coverage.
So what would a return of Yeboah mean to the team?
“I think it would be big-time, especially with a team that plays a lot of man,” Temple quarterback Anthony Russo said. “He is a mismatch for any linebacker on him, and if you put a corner on him, he will beat them with size.”
Last year in his first college start, Russo guided the Owls to a 35-14 win at Maryland, also in the third game of the season. Russo’s first TD pass went for 47 yards to Yeboah.
“I think he can really help us a lot,” Russo said. “He is our guy at tight end. I think having him back and healthy is going to be big-time for our offense.”
The next few days at practice will determine whether Yeboah is ready to go and how much he might be employed in the offense.
Despite last year’s win and despite being at home, the Owls are an eight-point underdog against the Terps. Last year, Maryland was also 2-0 before facing Temple, but the Terps sputtered after that loss and finished 5-7.
This year’s team appears to be rejuvenated, especially with the addition of redshirt junior quarterback Josh Jackson, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech.
Jackson has been a difference-maker and is just one of many skilled players Temple will have to worry about. The Owls can only hope that Yeboah, who also has game-changing ability, will be someone Maryland will have to be concerned with as well on Saturday.