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Temple developing two-way players during spring practice

At least 13 players have seen time on both sides of the ball since the opening of spring practice on March 13.

Temple’s Jager Gardner on the end of a long TD reception in Saturday’s practice. He has made a strong return from injury.
Temple’s Jager Gardner on the end of a long TD reception in Saturday’s practice. He has made a strong return from injury.Read moreMarc Narducci

Temple football coach Geoff Collins wants a versatile roster and this spring a large number of players are seeing time on both sides of the ball.

That doesn't mean it will remain that way once the season begins, but it is likely that there will be some players seeing double duty.

Last year a prime example was receiver Keith Kirkwood, who also saw time as a rush defensive end. Starting linebacker Shaun Bradley, an accomplished running back at Rancocas Valley High, had two carries for seven yards against UConn.

This spring, Bradley has spent time at running back in addition to his linebacker duties. Defensive linemen Freddie Booth-Lloyd, Michael Nobile and Zach Mesday spent time at fullback. Defensive linemen Dan Archibong, Karamo Dioubate and Michael Dogbe have played tight end.

Receivers Freddie Johnson and Randle Jones have been at corner in certain packages. Three offensive players who have seen time at rush defensive end are receiver Brandon Mack, tight end Kenny Yeboah and running back Ryquell Armstead.

All-conference safety Delvon Randall has played receiver in addition to returning punts.

"It is exciting getting the cross over and the guys embracing that 'I want to play at next level these are the things that this coaching staff lets us do, so when we get to an NFL camp one day, we have done these things.'" Collins said after Saturday's spring practice.

Whether the players see time on both sides of the ball in actual games, it still aids their development.

"It helps us more it helps you learn more plays in football so you aren't limited to one position," said Bradley, who led the team with 85 tackles last year.

In other developments,

*Redshirt junior running back Jager Gardner, who suffered an undisclosed season-ending injury on Sept. 21 and earned a redshirt year, has enjoyed a strong camp according to Collins. Gardner had a long catch-and-run touchdown reception on Saturday.

"He had a good first five days (of spring practice) and then today kind of had a breakout day," Collins said.

*Redshirt junior defensive back Kareem Ali, who left the team earlier in the week, might have reconsidered and has requested a meeting with Collins. That meeting is expected to take place on Monday, according to a person familiar with the situation.

*Linebacker Jeremiah Atoki has decided not to play football. Atoki, however is still on scholarship. Collins says he is the football DJ, the person who plays music during practice.

"He is the first scholarship DJ in college football and he's doing a great job," Collins said.

A product of Vineland High, Atoki would have been a redshirt junior.

*One of the young players who has made an immediate impression is freshman wide receiver Sean Ryan, who has enrolled early. Ryan made a few sensational receptions on Saturday.

The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Ryan is from Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall.

Collins says he could see Ryan making an immediate impact, but with most of his young players, he wants him to break in on special teams and is learning that aspect of the game.

*Collins said in May he will be taking some of the Temple coaches and eight players (who have not been selected yet) to Tokyo for a series of clinics and workshops. Temple has a Tokyo campus.