Weak and strong: Temple Owls

June, 11, 2013
6/11/13
3:00
PM ET
Time to move on in our series looking at the weakest and strongest parts of each team in the league. Temple is up today.

Strongest position: Linebackers.

This is one of the deepest, most experienced positions on the team, allowing the Owls to have a front seven with plenty of potential heading into the season. Start with Big East Freshman of the Year Tyler Matakevich as the linebacker to watch in this group. Last season, he became the first freshman in school history to record 100 tackles. As he goes into Year 2 as a starter, coach Matt Rhule wants him to be much more of a presence in making tackles behind the line of scrimmage. That will make him a more well-rounded player to be sure. Blaze Caponegro also returns as the starting strongside linebacker, while there appears to be plenty of competition in the middle. Starter Nate D. Smith returns, though he was held out of the spring game because he missed a team meeting. Converted fullback Wyatt Benson topped the post-spring depth chart with veteran Olaniyi Adewole right behind. Should Smith re-earn his starting job, Temple would return all three starting linebackers -- including two up-and-coming sophomores. Plenty to work with at this position.

Weakest position: Running backs.

It's no secret the Owls have to replace their top two running backs from a year ago with players who remain unproven. Losing Montel Harris and Matt Brown together hurts, from a production standpoint and an experience standpoint as well. The two combined for 1,426 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2012. The top three backs on the post-spring depth chart have little in the way of carries and yards. Sophomore Kenny Harper tops the depth chart, followed by Jamie Gilmore and redshirt freshman Avery Williams. Beyond them, you can expect the Owls to seriously consider taking a look at incoming freshmen Jahad Thomas and Zaire Williams once they arrive for fall practice. This position was the unquestioned strength of the offense a year ago, but it has turned into one of the biggest question marks heading into the season.

For more on the series, click here.

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