Temple’s offensive line is shaping up, but positions are still undetermined
It's expected, for instance, that Adam Klein will be a starter. But it isn't known whether he will play center, guard, or tackle.
With a week to go until Temple’s football opener next Saturday at Navy, offensive coordinator Mike Uremovich says health-wise he expects everybody on that side of the ball to be available. Of course, in these COVID-19 times, so much can change. But he felt good about the health and the look of his offense.
What he couldn’t say was who would play where on the offensive line. One of the key changes in camp is that junior Adam Klein, who has been a two-year starter at right tackle, has been taking reps at center and guard.
Uremovich expects Klein to be somewhere in the starting lineup. He just isn’t sure where.
“He’s played all three positions in camp, and I am happy with him at all three positions,” Uremovich said during Friday’s Zoom media call.
When asked if it was safe to say that Klein should be one of the top five linemen, Uremovich said, “Yes.”
A graduate of Episcopal Academy, Klein has played in 26 games, making 23 starts at right tackle, in his first two years.
The other two returning offensive line starters are junior left tackle Isaac Moore and graduate student Vincent Picozzi, who started nine games at right guard last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
A guess at this point as to the other two starters would be two graduate transfers, CJ Perez, from Northern Illinois, where Rod Carey was head coach before coming to Temple; and Michael Niese, from Dayton. While most of the linemen have played multiple positions in camp, don’t be surprised if Niese starts at guard, and Perez at center.
Bonner Steward sitting out
Uremovich said that redshirt freshman quarterback Kennique Bonner Steward has decided to sit out this season. It wasn’t expected that Bonner Steward would have been higher than fourth on the depth chart. Anthony Russo is the returning starter with Iowa State transfer Re-al Mitchell and fellow redshirt sophomore Trad Beatty all having strong camps.
Competition at safety
Redshirt senior Amir Tyler, among the key leaders on the team, will be handling one of the safety spots, but the other one remains open, according to defensive coordinator Jeff Knowles.
Tyler appeared in 12 games last year, making seven starts.
At the other safety, some of the candidates Knowles mentioned were junior college transfer Jalen Ware and two local true freshmen, Trey Blair of Haverford High, and Alex Odom of Kingsway.
"We have a lot of competition going on ... and it’s still sorting itself out because it’s been a crazy, crazy fall camp with the COVID going on right now,” Knowles said.
New defensive ends
Temple has lost three key defensive ends: AAC defensive player of the year Quincy Roche, who transferred to Miami; and Zack Mesday and Dana Levine, who graduated.
It appears this year’s starters will be Wake Forest graduate transfer Manny Walker and redshirt junior Arnold Ebiketie, both of whom have been repeatedly praised this preseason. Redshirt sophomores Layton Jordan, a converted linebacker, and Evan Boozer are also coming on strong at defensive end, according to Knowles.