- Matt Fortuna, ESPN Staff Writer
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The idea three years ago of quarterback Kevin Newsome playing catch-up at Temple seemed about as likely as the Owls putting up a fight against in-state rival Penn State. Or even joining the Big East.
But Newsome was unable to win the starting job at Penn State in 2010, despite being the most experienced scholarship signal-caller on the roster. Now Newsome is busy soaking up a new playbook three hours down the road, thankful for another chance at what can now be recognized as a major conference college football program.
Losing a starting job as a front-runner -- and Temple's recent turnaround -- will render history useless for both player and program rather quickly.
"It's been definitely a humbling experience," Newsome, a former four-star prep quarterback, told ESPN.com. "To have the opportunity to play for the Temple Owls, to play Division-I football, to play in the Big East, to play for coach [Steve] Addazio, [quarterbacks] coach Kevin Rogers, to play with my teammates, it's really a blessing. I thank God every day for the opportunity he gave me, and it's been a great humbling experience, and I can't explain the joy I feel every time I step on this practice field or every time I turn on some film to watch. It's priceless."
Newsome's head has been spinning a little less since arriving on the Philadelphia campus one day before fall camp, as he has studied the playbook from sunup to sundown while getting acclimated to his new teammates and coaches, tasks he was unable to do until Aug. 3 after being denied a waiver to transfer to Temple in January.
Football-less Tidewater (Va.) Community College became the new home for the Chesapeake native following his August 2011 departure from Penn State.
The aftermath of defeat shook him in 2010, and a season away from the gridiron last fall was hardly better.
"It was tough watching college football, and it was difficult, because I love this sport a lot," Newsome said of 2011. "I had to graduate from Tidewater Community College, and I appreciate their help. I needed to graduate with an associate's degree as quickly as I did, and it was hard. But anything worth having is going to be hard."
Newsome remembered the way that Temple, long a punching bag for his former school, put up a fight in Beaver Stadium in a close loss two years ago, when Al Golden was coaching the Owls. With family in the Philadelphia area, and with Temple showing that it wasn't going away under Addazio -- taking Penn State to the final minute early last season and joining the Big East this year -- Newsome emailed the Owls' staff before visiting in January.
Redshirt junior Chris Coyer, last year's New Mexico Bowl MVP, is the Owls' entrenched starter under center, with Newsome currently relegated to mostly third-team action. The question that has followed the former prep track star through much of his career (Will he stay at quarterback?) has continued, and Newsome has kept an open mind with two years left in a college career that's really just beginning.
"I feel as though I can help the team most at quarterback, but at the end of the day if the coaching staff thinks I can help elsewhere, then I will do whatever I need to do to help this team succeed and be the best team we can be," Newsome said. "That's all I want to do, is do my part and contribute to help us be the best we can be."
That starts next Friday in the Mayor's Cup game against Villanova, though his first road trip won't come until two weeks later at Penn State, where he will take the field against some familiar faces.
"We just wish each other the best, from all the guys transferring to different schools to the guys that are still there," Newsome said. "They're my former teammates, they're my friends and I wish them the best.
"And I told them: Sept. 22, we're coming. We're coming."