Temple solves QB controversy with position change

Vaughn Charlton opened the 2009 season as Temple’s starting quarterback; he’ll open the 2010 season as the starting tight end.

Charlton, a junior who spent most of the spring in a fierce quarterback competition with sophomore Chester Stewart, was moved to tight end before the spring game on April 17, and has risen to the top spot on the Owls’ depth chart.

"He [Charlton] wanted to do it," coach Al Golden said during the Mid-American coaches teleconference Tuesday. "He saw there was a need there. We weren't getting the production that we wanted … He thought it was a good move for him, and in the end it was like we grew as a team because he’s supporting Chester and Chester’s supporting him.”

Last season, Charlton played in 12 games at quarterback and completed 94 of 190 passes for 1,231 yards and nine touchdowns. He has no tight end experience at the collegiate level, but Golden said what Charlton lacks in technique he makes up for in willingness to work hard and learn.

"This isn't a stopgap measure,” Golden said. “This is a kid that runs well, that’s 250 pounds at 6-5, he’s got excellent hands, a great concept of how to run routes and when to sit down in zones because of his days at quarterback. So, he’s someone we’re really excited about.”

Golden said that as spring progressed it was clear that Stewart, who had come on late last season as a threat to Charlton’s starting role, had moved into the starting spot. Last season, Stewart started three games and won all three. He completed 26 of 65 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns on the season.

“I thought clearly he comes out of spring as the No. 1 quarterback,” Golden said. “He finished the last three or four practices completing over 65 percent of his throws and was clearly the guy making the most plays. And most of them were with his arm and not his feet, which we know he can do. So, I was really pleased with him.”

Golden said he also was pleased with the play of redshirt freshman Chris Coyer, Stewart’s primary backup, and junior Mike Gerardi, which gave him enough confidence to move Charlton from under center.

Golden acknowledged that he would have liked to have moved Charlton to tight end a couple of years ago, but because the program was changing and the Owls didn’t have the depth at quarterback, a move didn't make sense. Now, Golden said, he thinks the move will pay dividends for his program.

“It’s a much more comfortable position for him in terms of his leadership and his personality,” Golden said. “I think it’s a match … Now we're going to have two leaders in the huddle instead of just one.”