Temple begins football practice on Friday, and one of the first things that new Temple coach Rod Carey wants to do is clear up the health status of his quarterback.

A little more than two weeks ago during American Athletic Conference football media day in Rhode Island, Carey said that Anthony Russo was getting over a soft tissue injury.

“He is good,” Carey said Thursday at the Owls’ practice facility. “He heard me talk about it on media day and said, ‘What are you doing? I am fine.’ He is fine.”

Russo earned the starting job in the third game last season and completed 57.4 percent of his passes for 2,563 yards, with 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

A redshirt junior, Russo said not only that he’s feeling fine, but also that the new offense is to his liking, especially with more run-pass options. “In the old offense, we had RPOs, but not as much as in this offense," he said. “Almost every run play has pass routes on it.”

Russo said the transition to a new staff has been seamless.

“They have been great so far and I think we have really clicked the offense with this staff," he said. "And we have gotten along really well and I am excited to get back on the field.”

The Owls, who were 8-5 and 7-1 in the AAC last year, open their season Aug. 31 when they host Bucknell in a 3 p.m. game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Johnson to corner

Looking for depth in the secondary, Carey announced that he has moved wide receiver Freddie Johnson to cornerback. Johnson, a redshirt junior who is a special-teams standout, had eight receptions for 138 yards and a TD last season.

Carey said there could be more position changes during camp.

Hand a big addition

Carey was ecstatic that junior cornerback Harrison Hand earned a hardship waiver for family reasons and is immediately eligible after transferring from Baylor.

Without the waiver, he would have had to sit out a season under NCAA transfer rules. A former star at Cherry Hill West, the 6-foot, 192-pound Hand will have two years of eligibility at Temple. Last season he appeared in 10 games, making four starts and had 13 tackles and three pass breakups.

Carey said Hand will be competing for a starting job.

“He is a really good football player,” Carey said. “With him there, the depth becomes better, the top-end talent becomes better -- everything about that position gets better when you get a guy like Harrison eligible this season.”

Russell bigger and stronger

Linebacker Chapelle Russell, a graduate student, wanted it known that he is no longer at his listed weight of 215.

He said he weighed 218 in January when the offseason program began. Since then?

“I gained 14 pounds and no body fat,” said Russell, who started all 13 games and had 70 tackles last year.

“I feel a lot stronger and as fast as ever,” Russell said.

Linebacker may be Temple’s most experienced position with Russell, Sam Franklin and first-team all-AAC choice Shaun Bradley having made 36 starts combined last year. In addition, senior William Kwenkeu and redshirt junior Isaiah Graham Mobley also have extensive experience.

Wright as RB?

Carey has said that receiver Isaiah Wright will be getting the ball a lot, whether by pass or run. The coach was asked if Wright, the AAC special teams player of the year, would be a running back.

“I don’t know,” Carey said. “In the running back world, it is wide open.”

Carey said injuries could dictate where Wright lines up. Redshirt senior Jager Gardner and redshirt junior Tyliek Raynor are the two most experienced backs, and both have had injury issues during their careers.

So Carey is OK with the idea that Wright could line up as a running back.

“Sure is the short answer,” he said. “If somebody doesn’t emerge, that discussion is a possibility.”