March 20: The first day of spring (practice)

07:00 Cholis Back 0 Comments


Temple fans want to see more sacks like this one.
I have a feeling the Owls are going to find a couple of reliable long-snappers, a quarterback who has moxie and becomes a weapon both with his arm and feet and a defense that can provide a relentless pass rush
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story, someone once said.
I've never believed that because I think the facts around the story are often more interesting than the story itself.
I'll relent, though, when it comes to headlines.
Yesterday, not today, was the first full day of spring football practice at Temple University. It's just a better headline when you combine the first day of spring with the first day of spring practice.
It was also the last full day of the men's basketball season, the only other marquee sport at Temple University.
Coincidence?
No doubt.
An interesting fact?
Yes.
I've never hided that I consider Temple men's basketball nothing more than a worthwhile distraction between the final day of the football season and the first day of spring practice, but I didn't think the two would run so seemlessly as they did this year.
I often get grief from my Temple football friends on why I only attend two or three basketball games a year, but I tell them the same thing I write here.
I just don't enjoy the sport as much as football.
I understand, though, that many of them do.
For me, though, it's not even close.
I like the fact that a football field is split in two and that strategy is involved in both protecting your turf and probing into the enemy's.
If you have better men and material, like the Union did in the Civil War, you are probably going to win the war. If you have a better Field Marshall, like the Nazi's did with Rommel in the Sahara and the Confederates did with Johnson and Stewart at Bull Run, you are going to win your share of battles.
There's some of that in basketball, but when a dude sticks a 35-footer three straight times down the court, that game is a little too skewed for my taste. So hat's off to Fran Dunphy and crew, who did this university proud by winning three straight A-10 titles and 29 games this season. There are few people who do more for this university than Fran Dunphy. In fact, I can't think of any. There are no two better ambassadors for this great university than Fran Dunphy and Al Golden.
As I write this, it is 10 in the morning on the Saturday on the first day of spring.
The birds are chirping, it's going to be a 75-degree day, and my beloved Temple (Football) Owls are working to find better ways to defend their turf and grab as much of the bad guy turf as possible.
The particulars will unravel over the next month.
What we already know is that 17 of the 22 starters return from a 9-3 team and some of the redshirts who sat  last year may be better than a handful of the starters, let alone as replacements for the five departed.
Defensively, I see this team as perfectly suited to a 3-4, rather than the current 5-2 alignment. That way, you have two athletic 6-5 defensive ends (Mo Wilkerson and Kadeem Custis) coming at the quarterback with a future NFL tackle in Levi Brown playing nose guard and being a lock-down run-stopper. You can move Adrian Robinson to linebacker and just have him blitz on every passing down, but from all different gaps.  If I was a quarterback facing that, I'd run the other way.
Offensively, I'd like to see a quarterback who can make plays both running and passing. I think that quarterback is here.
On special teams, I'd like the see the long-snapping situation tighten up.
Fix all of those fixable items and you have a team with designs on much better than 9-3.
I have a feeling the Owls are going to find a couple of reliable long-snappers, a quarterback who has moxie and becomes a weapon both with his arm and feet and a defense that can provide a relentless pass rush.
Hope springs eternal, but this time the hope comes with a lot of supporting facts.