When new Temple coach Geoff Collins addresses reporters, he typically mentions the idea of “position flexibility.”
Collins has kept his word when it comes to placing players at multiple positions.
During Saturday’s second scrimmage of the spring, redshirt junior defensive tackle Freddie Booth-Lloyd received snaps along the defensive line, while redshirt senior wide receiver Keith Kirkwood has been working at defensive end. Redshirt freshman fullback Taiyir Wilson has seen time at offensive guard and on the defensive line, too.
And while Collins has stressed position flexibility, there are depth issues on the offensive line. The Owls are dealing without returning starting right tackle Leon Johnson, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Collins must also find a replacement for left tackle Dion Dawkins, a projected second-day NFL Draft pick, and center Brendan McGowan.
Collins said Kirkwood has “done some special things.” The transfer from Hawaii recently earned the single digit No. 5, the same number Collins wore in college.
“I love the kid,” Collins said. “We put him out there just to see what could happen and the first day he pops a spin move on a pass rush and we’re like, ‘Oh, we’ve got something.’ The next day he rips to the quarterback and I think he had three sacks today.”
Collins has also liked what he has seen from Booth-Lloyd, a 315-pounder from Cocoa, Fla., in limited time on the offensive line.
“He has looked good,” Collins said. “He was a 100-meter guy in high school and does some really cool things for us.”
Booth-Lloyd’s brother, former Florida defensive back Chauncey Gardner, was coached by Collins while the two were with the Gators.
Collins acknowledged that Temple will have to find reinforcements at defensive end for Haason Reddick, a projected first-round pick in this month’s NFL Draft. The Owls’ first-year head coach named off redshirt freshman Quincy Roche, redshirt sophomore Dana Levine and redshirt senior Sharif Finch when talking about edge rushers who have impressed through spring practice.
“There’s a bunch of guys,” Collins said. “Probably too many to name right now.
As for the four-man quarterback battle, Collins said true freshman Todd Centeio, who came arrived on campus in January as an early enrollee, received “live” snaps during Saturday’s scrimmage.
“We let him run around a bit,” Collins said. “The (Mike and Anthony) Nobile twins and some other guys were getting after him and were salivating when we let Centeio go live but he competed and moved the offense.”
Collins also mentioned the linebacker position, a spot that lost starters Avery Williams, Stephaun Marshall and Jarred Alwan to graduation.
The new linebacker corps offers more height as compared to last season’s unit, Collins said. Collins is used to coaching up large linebackers, including Benardrick McKinney of the NFL’s Houston Texans.
Collins brought up multiple linebackers who have impressed throughout spring camp, including Sam Franklin, Jeremiah Atoki, Isaiah Graham-Mobley and Shaun Bradley.
“With the influx of spread offense, I think length helps,” Collins said. “You want to have size, you want to have speed (at linebacker). If you have a combination of both, that’s even better.”
When asked about potential kick returners, Collins listed Mike Jones, Adonis Jennings, Sean Chandler, Isaiah Wright and David Hood.
Punter Alex Starzyk was removed from Temple’s online roster Friday. He was still not on the roster as of Saturday. A Temple spokesperson told OwlScoop.com that Starzyk is “suspended indefinitely.”
While Starzyk’s future with the Owls is unclear, sophomore placekicker Aaron Boumerhi is handling punting duties.