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Temple spring wrap

5/8/2012

2011 overall record: 9-4

2011 conference record: 5-3 (2nd, MAC East)

Returning starters: Offense: 4; Defense: 5; Kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

QB Chris Coyer, RB Matt Brown, OL Martin Wallace, LB Blaze Caponegro, S Justin Gildea, K Brandon McManus

Key losses

OL Pat Boyle, OL Pat Tribue, RB Bernard Pierce, TE Evan Rodriguez, DE Adrian Robinson, LB Stephen Johnson, LB Tahir Whitehead

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Bernard Pierce (1,481 yards

Passing: Chester Stewart (54-of-83 for 743 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs)

Receiving: Evan Rodriguez (479 yards

Tackles: Stephen Johnson (123)

Sacks: Adrian Robinson (6.5)

Interceptions: Kevin Kroboth, Justin Gildea* and Kee-ayre Griffin (3 each)

Spring answers

1. Offensive line: Temple loses four of five starters on the offensive line, but the Owls left the spring feeling good about the starting lineup they will feature in the fall: Zach Hooks at left tackle; Jeff Whittingham at left guard; Sean Boyle at center; Jaimen Newman at right guard; and Wallace at right tackle. Wallace is the only returning starter, and coach Steve Addazio is hoping he can lead the less experienced players along.

2. Running back development: With Pierce gone, there had been fears about a lack of depth in the backfield. But coaches have been pleased with the development of Jalen Fitzpatrick and Kenny Harper to team with returner Brown. Their versatility is going to be a huge key in the way Temple wants to run its offense.

3. Coyer the man: Coyer had a terrific performance in the bowl game against New Mexico and a good spring, solidifying the quarterback position going into the fall for the first time in several years. There is no question he has developed into a leader on this team.

Fall questions

1. Depth: One of the biggest unknowns about Temple as it transitions to the Big East is whether the Owls have the type of depth needed to survive a tougher schedule. In particular, building depth up front is going to be huge. Right now, Temple has six offensive linemen it feels good about. That number has to ratchet up to at least eight when the season begins. Depth is also a concern in the secondary, where true freshmen might have to be relied upon.

2. Where does Kevin Newsome fit: Newsome, the Penn State transfer quarterback, arrives this summer. The question is how Temple plans on using him, with Coyer seemingly entrenched as the starter. Addazio promises that there will be a role for Newsome, because he is too good to keep off the field. How will that be developed in the fall?

3. Linebacker: Stephen Johnson and Tahir Whitehead helped form one of the better linebacking groups in the MAC last season. They combined for 193 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. Where is the production going to be made up? Blaze Caponegro returns to anchor the group, and much will be expected of Ahkeem Smith.