The weekly Tuesday press conference held by Temple coach Geoff Collins sounded similar to the former Florida defensive coordinator’s others.
As he has done in weeks past, Collins opened up his press conference by talking for over seven minutes in an opening statement. He even started by thanking Nadia Harvin, whose new title is “executive assistant to the head coach.”
But even Collins admitted there is a different vibe around his team this week as it prepares for a Thursday night, nationally televised tilt with preseason conference favorite South Florida in Tampa.
“(The players) know what it means to the divison,” Collins told reporters while speaking for nearly 25 minutes. “They know what it means for the conference.”
Will Fair play this week?
Starting left guard Jovahn Fair went down with an unspecified injury during Friday night’s 29-21 win against Massachusetts at Lincoln Financial Field.
Fair was spotted on crutches while standing on the sideline during the second half.
Redshirt senior Adrian Sullivan, who started all 14 games at right guard last season, replaced Fair for the remainder of the game.
Offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude told reporters following Tuesday’s practice that Fair is “questionable” to play against USF. Meanwhile, Collins, who usually doesn’t talk about injuries, called Fair a “game-time decision.”
“It’ll be a short-term deal for him,” Patenaude said of Fair’s injury.
Patenaude said he has confidence in whoever replaces Fair. The likely fill-in will be Sullivan, although Collins would not definitively say that. Redshirt junior Jaelin Robinson could also slide inside and play guard.
“Our top eight guys, we can swing any of those in and out of the game,” Patenaude said. “I feel really comfortable with any of those guys.”
When asked to evaluate the play of Sullivan while filling in for Fair, Collins said he looked “good.”
“He came in, played at a high level,” Collins said. “He’ll only get better. We believe in him. He’s one of the leaders on this football team. I’m excited to see what he does on Thursday night, when he gets his reps.”
Sullivan, who was named one of four captains for this week’s conference opener against USF, said he has been preparing as the starter in practice this week.
“I’m prepared to go in as the starter,” Sullivan said. “It’s next man up.”
But will it be an adjustment for Sullivan, switching over from right to left guard?
“It’s really nothing new,” Sullivan said. “It’s the same scheme. I know what to do on the other side of the ball.”
Due to the injury, Fair was not made available to reporters.
While redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi has not committed a turnover and thrown the most yards of any Temple quarterback in his first three starts, Collins and Patenaude were hit with questions about true freshman Todd Centeio.
Centeio, a graduate of Florida's Dwyer High School, made his collegiate debut Friday night against UMass. He completed both of his pass attempts for 20 yards and ran it twice for 10 yards.
Collins and Patenaude both said Centeio will be evaluated “week to week.” The West Palm Beach native still could redshirt. Matt Rhule played multiple true freshmen, including starting center Matt Hennessy, last season. Rhule ultimately redshirted most of the freshmen who played early in the season.
“You just try to grow his package and put him in the best situation Thursday night,” Patenaude said of Centeio.
After Temple’s win over UMass, Collins said the Owls “exhausted” all of the packages for Centeio when asked why the true freshman was pulled out on third-and-3 in the red zone. Temple ran for a loss on the ensuing play.
Will there be more packages for Centeio in play for this week against USF?
“We’ve looked at it and we’ve worked it,” Collins said.
Patenaude then tried to sway the topic of conversation to Marchi, who was named to the American Athletic Conference’s weekly Honor Roll after throwing for 248 yards and three touchdowns against UMass.
“Centeio is doing a good job, but Logan is playing at an all-league level,” Patenaude said.
“The kid (Marchi) threw three touchdown passes and no picks,” Patenaude added. “But because we put the freshman kid in, that’s going to be the story.”
New No. 1
For the first time this season, No. 1 will be worn by a player outside of the defensive line meeting room.
As was the case before redshirt junior Ventell Bryant lost the prized single-digit, a receiver will wear No. 1 this week against USF.
Senior receiver Adonis Jennings, who grabbed three catches for 41 yards and one touchdown against UMass, was awarded No. 1 in a team meeting Tuesday morning.
“I’m happy I’m respected by the teammates and the coaches,” Jennings said. “Whatever number I’m wearing, I’m just ready to go down there Thursday and compete.”
Collins said Jennings separates himself by preparing for practice in the training room.