In Temple’s 34-10 win at East Carolina Saturday, lead running back Ryquell Armstead appeared to lack some burst.
Armstead, who ran for 5.9 yards per carry as a sophomore, was limited to just four carries for three yards.
Redshirt junior David Hood took advantage of his opportunity to receive extra carries against East Carolina. He went for 106 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.
It sounds like Temple still has no plans to sit out Armstead.
Armstead spends more time in the training room than some of the training staff, Temple coach Geoff Collins told reporters on Monday’s American Athletic Conference coaches call.
“He’s such a competitor,” Collins said when asked if Temple’s staff is considering resting Armstead. “He does everything and anything to try and take care of his body.
“Rock wants to be on the field, playing with his friends,” Collins added. “We’ve had some conversations, but Rock is one of the most competitive kids I’ve been around.”
The Owls did get a boost from receiver Keith Kirkwood, who had just one receptions for 15 yards in Temple’s previous two games. The transfer from Hawaii grabbed four receptions for 79 yards, including a one-handed grab that made SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays, in Saturday’s rout of East Carolina.
Collins said Kirkwood had been dealing with an injury but he’s currently close to 100 percent healthy.
“The last two weeks, he hasn’t practiced very much,” Collins said. “He works really hard to take care of his body.”
Kirkwood has been limited on special teams and defensively as an edge rusher due to the injury.
Collins said he “hopes” offensive lineman Jovahn Fair, the starter at left guard for Temple’s first three games, will return for Saturday’s meeting with Connecticut at Lincoln Financial Field. Fair has missed the Owls’ last three games due to an undisclosed injury.
UConn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee and Collins overlapped while coaching together in the SEC, as Collins pointed out. Collins was the co-defensive coordinator at Mississippi State in 2011 and 2012, then was promoted to sole defensive play caller in 2013. Meanwhile, Lashlee was the offensive coordinator at Auburn. In the four games Lashlee and Collins have coached against each other, both teams each won a pair.
The Huskies have the No. 1 passing offense (325.8 yards per game) in the AAC.
The Huskies, however, have struggled with protecting their quarterback. UConn has allowed 15 sacks in five games, which ranks last in the AAC. Temple ranks second in the conference in sacks with 19.
Redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi, who has thrown seven interceptions over the last three games, will go up the AAC’s worst passing defense. The Huskies allow 399.8 yards per game through the air.
Marchi, a native of Bristol, Connecticut, was once verbally committed to the Huskies before he was dropped by former coach Bob Diaco days before National Signing Day 2014. He went for the “grayshirt” option and enrolled at Temple in January 2015.