Although Temple showed some positive signs in the second half of Saturday’s 20-13 loss to Houston at Lincoln Financial Field, the Owls sit at 2-3 overall and 0-2 in American Athletic Conference play.
One of the positives for Temple includes a revamped run game that produced 142 yards on the ground.
Junior running back Ryquell Armstead (14 carries for 63 yards) looked more like the player from his impressive sophomore campaign and backup tailback David Hood (eight carries for 53 yards) provided a change of pace.
After looking back at the film, what exactly changed in the run game for a Temple team that entered Saturday with the worst rushing offense in The American?
“We were really close for a couple weeks, just a couple (misidentifications) or somebody misses a block and it ends up being a tackle for a loss,” Collins said while speaking on The American’s weekly coaches conference call. “Just collectively came together, getting the (identifications) down. And just getting movement fundamentally at the defense.”
It might be good timing for Temple in establishing a consistent run game. The Owls next face the third-worst run defense among FBS programs in East Carolina, which allows 297.6 rushing yards per game.
Collins, who typically does not talk about injuries, said redshirt senior receiver Keith Kirkwood has been dealing with an injury over the last two weeks. The Hawaii transfer only has one catch for 15 yards over the last two games.
“I think Keith is really close to being healthy,” Collins said.
It will be an emphasis to get the ball to both Kirkwood and redshirt junior Ventell Bryant this week, Collins said.
Despite reports that placekicker Austin Jones would sit out the remainder of the season and receive a medical redshirt, Collins was not willing to rule Jones out.
“He has been fighting through it,” Collins said. “We’re constantly trying to rehab our kids to get them back.”
Jones was reportedly dealing with complications from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last October in a loss at Memphis.
Jones, a senior, could transfer after this season and play immediately at another FBS program.
Jovahn Fair, the starting left guard, has missed the last two games due to an undisclosed leg injury.
Fair was considered to be a “game-time” decision for Temple’s conference opener against South Florida.
Collins said Fair is “trying” to return in time to play at East Carolina.
“We’re trying to get it to happen,” Collins said.
The Owls have used a three-man rotation, featuring redshirt freshman Vince Picozzi, redshirt junior Jaelin Robinson and redshirt senior Adrian Sullivan, to replace Fair.
New "above the line" depth chart released
Temple released its "above the line" depth chart Monday afternoon.
There are multiple changes, including the removal of Austin Jones. Running back Jager Gardner, who is reportedly out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, was also removed. And Jovahn Fair is also no longer featured on Temple's list.
Walk-on Travon Williams, previously listed as a receiver, replaced Gardner as the third running back.
Redshirt senior defensive tackle Greg Webb was the only new addition to the depth chart.
East Carolina ranks at the bottom of The American in scoring defense (50.6 points per game) and total defense (615.8 yards per game) … The offensive passing game is a strength for East Carolina, as the Pirates average 318.6 yards through the air per game ... The American announced that Temple will kickoff its Homecoming game against Connecticut October 14th at noon. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN News.