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Temple football cleared to fully practice and play at Lincoln Financial Field this season

Coach Rod Carey said that the City of Philadelphia gave Temple the clearance Friday. “We’re good to go,” Carey said.

Temple was unable to scrimmage in preparation for the season until Monday, after the City of Philadelphia granted approval to practice and play at the Linc.
Temple was unable to scrimmage in preparation for the season until Monday, after the City of Philadelphia granted approval to practice and play at the Linc.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer

Temple football has cleared two major hurdles, and if the team and its opponent don’t have any COVID-19 setbacks, the Owls should be able to play their season opener on Oct. 10 at Navy.

Coach Rod Carey said Tuesday that the City of Philadelphia has lifted practice restrictions and has granted permission for Temple to play its games at Lincoln Financial Field.

“It’s normal from here on out," Carey said in a Zoom interview with the media. “Obviously, we got with the City, and they approved our plan, and a lot of the things that they were looking for we had been doing, plus some. So it was really kind of refreshing, I know, for the City to finally hear that — I don’t think they had until that point. They finally heard that and came back and had a good discussion and approved it.”

Before the restrictions were lifted, practices were limited to 50 players in a group, and they couldn’t switch groups. Now, the entire team can practice, including scrimmages.

Temple received word on Friday, and the changes were implemented for Monday’s practice.

The Owls were scheduled to open Sept. 26 at Navy, but both teams agreed to postpone the game to Oct. 10, which was an open date. Carey wanted the game postponed because the Owls couldn’t conduct a normal practice and wouldn’t be ready to compete.

“We’re good to go,” Carey said. “Now obviously, the ... thing we can’t control right now is COVID, so other than that, we’re in a good spot.”

The entire team isn’t available, the coach said.

“We do have some people out from contact tracing and COVID, so we’ll be adding more people, but I would assume, just looking at this thing across the nation, that this would be a kind of our normal thing for us this year, that there will be some contact tracing,” Carey said. “Because I think our guys are doing a great job of mitigating the risks as it comes to COVID, as far as their behavior about being around people when they’re not here.”

Carey, who usually doesn’t have his players tackle to the ground in practice, said he might alter that since the players have had limited work.

“The reason I am revisiting that this year is simply all the time missed of training, of spring practice, of the normal routine,” said Carey, whose team conducted only two spring practices before they were canceled because of the pandemic.

Navy has already played one game and has two more scheduled before facing the Owls.

Notes: Carey once again spoke glowingly of the competition at quarterback, with Anthony Russo, who has 23 career starts, remaining the starter, but redshirt sophomores Trad Beatty and Re-al Mitchell, an Iowa State transfer making positive impressions.

“There is a big-time competition going on there, and certainly Russo is our starter, but just because somebody is the starter doesn’t mean they don’t have people chasing them, and competition is really good for everybody and certainly good for the quarterback room," Carey said.

“Trad’s improvement has really been just phenomenal ... ," Carey said. "Re’Al has such a unique skill set, he is such an electric athlete and throws the ball very, very well.”

Carey says all the quarterbacks are making each other better.

“It is starting to feel as it should," Carey said. “Where there is competition, if a guy has an off-day, man, he will have somebody nipping at his heels pretty quick.”