As Temple’s football team continues to prepare for its Oct. 10 opener at Navy, coach Rod Carey says his team is in relatively good shape injury-wise.
“Everybody should be ready to go on Sunday, and that is really the start of Navy prep,” Carey said Tuesday in a Zoom media call.
What has been difficult has been dealing with COVID-19 circumstances. He said that during training camp, players have been in and out for COVID-related issues.
For instance, Carey said starting offensive guard Vincent Picozzi will be getting out of quarantine on Tuesday.
“Being in isolation is for 10 days, and that is if you test positive, and quarantine is contact-based for 14 days, and that is CDC [guidelines],” Carey said. “And that is what we have been following, so he [Picozzi] was in a 14-day quarantine.”
He said the team has been testing once a week, although this week it will be increased to twice, and next week before the opener, it will be three times.
There have been no positive tests in the last two weekly tests, according to Carey.
“I have a really hard time saying, ‘Good job guys, with zero [positive] tests,’ because we can do everything right and someone could still get COVID,” he said.
Of the 11 American Athletic Conference teams, Temple will be the final one to play a game. Navy (1-1)visits Air Force on Saturday, so it will have played three games before facing the Owls.
Right now, the Owls are going through the tedium of preseason practice.
“There comes a point where you have to play someone else, and we are at that point,” Carey said.
While he usually doesn’t go with full tackling in preseason practices, he has done so this time.
“We came to the decision, we did tackle, and it was good that we did,” Carey said. “The guys enjoyed it and it was fun. They were playing football.”
Carey said that this has been such a long time before the opener that he has started giving some of the key regulars fewer reps in practice to save their legs.
“We are 10-11 days from the first game and it feels good," he said. "This is the world’s longest OTAs, minicamps, and camp combined.”
Notes and quotes
Returning all-conference defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh (groin injury) and projected starting cornerback Christian Braswell (hamstring) are back practicing. Carey says that Maijeh has been practicing full-time for more than a week. He said Braswell “has turned the corner pretty quick and the last few days has gone the entire practice, felt good, and he felt a little sore afterward but felt good." … Starting quarterback Anthony Russo has a muscle strain. “The last few days we have kind of sat him out, but nothing serious there,” Carey said. … Redshirt junior Jadan Blue, who last season became Temple’s first player to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season, will be counted on as a kick and punt returner, according to Carey. Blue had 95 receptions for 1,067 yards and four touchdowns, and returned six kickoffs for 134 yards. Graduate receiver Randle Jones and redshirt safety Amir Tyler are other potential kick returners.