What position is in the spotlight this spring for Temple? Glad you asked.
Position: Running back.
Why: Simple. The Owls lose their top two running backs from a year ago in Montel Harris and Matt Brown, who combined for 1,426 yards and 14 touchdowns. Harris, who played one year after transferring from Boston College, led the Big East in rushing and was a first-team selection. Brown was the league's Special Teams Player of the Year. What do they leave behind? Not much in the way of production. Sophomore Jamie Gilmore is the top returning rusher, with 20 carries for 94 yards; junior Kenny Harper is next with 13 carries for 65 yards and two touchdowns. The Owls will also want to take a look at Avery Williams, a power back who redshirted in 2012. You can see why coach Matt Rhule calls this position an "unknown" headed into practice next week.
"No one’s shown yet that they can tote the load and I have to be honest, that’s not something I can tell in the offseason program," Rhule said in a recent phone interview. "I don’t think that’s something anyone can tell. The one thing we believe with running backs and receivers for us, they don’t have to be able to do everything -- they have to have something they do that's special. When you find that, you get them to do it. When you look at the NFL, the Chargers, the Saints, those are teams that do that. They find a Darren Sproles, he can do X,Y and Z and they have him do that. We want to highlight what they can do and develop them."
This position may not be settled after spring, either, as Rhule wants to give incoming freshmen Jahad Thomas and Zaire Williams ample opportunity to put themselves in the mix for playing time. Williams was the top player the Owls signed in February, after he flipped his commitment from West Virginia.