It’s finally here, the day we have been waiting for since the debacle against Duke in the Independence Bowl. A lot has changed for the program in that time period including an almost entirely new coaching staff and renewed expectations for this season’s campaign. I am excited to see what brand of football Coach Carey and the staff brings to North Broad Street.
The first game of the season features a scintillating, heart-stopping, mouthwatering, electrifying match-up against a premier power program in Bucknell out of the Patriot League in the Football Championship Subdivision. Okay, so maybe that introduction was a bit of hyperbole, but at least its a football game, right?
Bucknell had a horrific 2018 season that lead to an overhaul of their coaching staff. They are currently projected to finish last in the Patriot League and have but 1 preseason all-conference selection. They, like other FCS programs, are limited to about 60 scholarship players, which hampers recruiting a bit. Coach Ceccini comes from Valpraiso University, which had approximately 0 athletic scholarships. He has his work cutout for him, but at least he has more resources than his previous job. They have questions up and down their roster and have a long road to becoming a legitimate FCS contender.
Meanwhile, Temple has some questions of its own. They have new coaching staff, players to replace from last year, and injury questions.
The most looming concern for Temple lies within its QB room. Incumbent starter Anthony Russo is banged up and not a full participant in practice the last few weeks. Todd Centeio has been taking first team reps and appears to be positioning himself as the starter for this upcoming game.
However its possible Russo does play for a little bit, but if Centeio has himself a good game, we should see Trad Beatty out there at some point.
With new coordinators calling the shots, it’ll be interesting to see personnel packages and play selections. Obviously you don’t want to shoe your hand too much in a game like this, but we should get a glimpse of how things will operate. Offensively we’ve been told that the QB will hBe a few mor options to run it or roll out and throw. I suspect 2 or 3 WR sets and slightly heavier personnel with a mix of spread when the team wants faster tempo. Only one way to find out!
Defensively we know Coach Knowles and DL coach Stewart like an active front and are aggressive. I really liked what NIU did last season with sack totals. How can you not get excited when you finish 2nd behind only Clemson?
After going 12 rounds with Bucknell in what is sure to be a major heavyweight slugfest, Temple gets to lick its wounds next week with a bye. I know the schedule is made many years in advanced, but that is definitely not in Temple’s favor. They don’t have much game prep for Maryland week 3.
It is undoubtedly the best time of year. There is a cool crisp to the weather. Not much longer until the leaves change colors and you can see your breath in the morning air.
I hope to see everyone out there this Saturday. This Temple team can become a big time contender in the AAC and create problems for UCF and Cinci at the top. I am excited to see college football again.
Let’s go Owls!