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Temple offense struggles in first fall camp scrimmage: ‘I wasn’t happy with the execution at any juncture’

Coach Rod Carey, who held a series of game-like scenarios in full pads, wasn't pleased with his offense.

Temple head coach Rod Carey talks to his players during a game against East Carolina at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.
Temple head coach Rod Carey talks to his players during a game against East Carolina at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.Read moreTIM TAI / Staff Photographer

Temple’s first fall camp team scrimmage didn’t go particularly well for the offense.

On the final day of the Owls’ preseason camp at SUNY Maritime in New York City, coach Rod Carey held a series of game-like scenarios in full pads. They completed about 130 plays, which is roughly the length of a full game for each unit.

The offense’s persistence was the group’s only high note in Carey’s mind.

“Offensively, it was really sloppy, to be honest,” Carey said. “I wasn’t happy with the offensive execution at any juncture other than that they kept pushing. At the end they did score some touchdowns in an overtime situation and a red-zone situation … but [overall] the execution was really poor.”

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When the offense has played poorly in the past, execution has progressively gotten worse. But during Saturday’s scrimmage, they bounced back after the first few drives.

The secondary was having its way, getting stops and forcing turnovers, according to the Temple Football Practice Blog. Freddie Johnson forced a fumble and recovered the ball while Ty Mason, Alex Odom and Kwantel Raines each recorded interceptions.

Purdue transfer receiver Amad Anderson Jr. had the offensive highlight of the day, catching a slant pass before hurdling a defender for a 30-yard gain. True freshman tight end Connor Noble was a bright spot for the offense and caught a pair of 20-yard touchdowns.

Because Saturday’s scrimmage featured live hitting, the coaching staff chose to sit out a handful of older, more experienced players. That allowed for backups to play up with the starters, elevating the second string and third string up a rung.

“I think it was sloppy for a lot of reasons. We didn’t perform like we wanted to perform early,” offensive coordinator Mike Uremovich said. “Obviously it’s good to get those [young] guys experience in that scenario but they don’t have as many reps either.”

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Uremovich stopped short of making excuses for how poorly the offense started in the scrimmage, but echoed Carey’s sentiments and praised their ability to finish strong.

He said Saturday’s team scrimmage showed that the offensive unit doesn’t have the tendency to “pack it in for the day” if they get off to a slow start in a live game.

Monday’s practice, the team’s first back on campus at Edberg-Olson Hall, focused on tightening up a number of the issues they faced on Saturday, Uremovich said.

A week into preseason camp, Carey said he felt like the defense was ahead of the offense, but also stated that wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.

Temple’s first live action against outside competition will come against Rutgers at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, N.J..