A few weeks ago Temple coach Rod Carey was saying that rebuilding his offensive line would be among his biggest challenges. On the first day of spring practice on Tuesday, Carey outlined one of the biggest changes up front, moving starting junior tackle Adam Klein to center.
Temple loses two key offensive line starters. Center Matt Hennessy, a third team Associated Press All-American, opted to bypass his final year and enter the NFL draft.
Guard Jovahn Fair departs after starting 43 games and earning second-team all-American Athletic Conference honors last year.
An Episcopal Academy graduate, Klein started 10 games at right tackle as a true freshman in 2018 and all 13 games last year.
“We took Klein from right tackle to center and he’s going to be there right now,” Carey said after Tuesday morning’s practice.
When asked if this is a permanent move, Carey replied, “It’s permanent right now, if that makes sense. I mean, you know, unless he can’t physically do it, but from what I saw. He can do it.”
So now the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Klein is learning a new position.
“His body type is more suited to that (center) than it is to tackle, really,” Carey said. “And, you know, he’s super smart guy too. So, you know on the same par with Matt (Hennessy).”
Besides Klein, the other two returning offensive line starters are redshirt senior right guard Vincent Picozzi, junior left tackle Isaac Moore.
Picozzi suffered a season-ending lower-body injury in the ninth game last season. Carey said that he won’t participate in spring practice but should be ready in late May when the team begins its summer training schedule. Picozzi has made 28 career starts, including two games at center in 2018 when Hennessy missed two games.
Moore who is from Orebro, Sweden, started all 13 games at left tackle last season. Redshirt senior Leon Pinto started at center in the one game Hennessy missed last season. Senor Joseph Hooper started the last four games at right guard in place of Picozzi.
Among others in the offensive line mix according to Carey are redshirt sophomore David Nwaogwugwu, redshirt freshmen Wisdom Quarshie and Jermaine Donaldson. Others could emerge, including Michael Niese, a 6-5 275-pound offensive guard who is a graduate transfer from Dayton and is not participating in spring practice.
Besides Picozzi, Carey mentioned two other main contributors who won’t be participating in spring camp, redshirt senior linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley and redshirt junior defensive tackle Ifeanyi Maijeh. Carey said he expects both to be ready by summer workouts.
Graham-Mobley suffered a season-ending fractured right ankle in the eighth game of the season against Central Florida.
Maijeh, a first-team all-conference selection, had a sport hernia operation after the season.
The Owls are coming off an 8-5 season that ended with a 55-13 loss to North Carolina in the Military Bowl.
Spring practice will conclude on April 4 with an open practice.