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Temple begins scouting Big East

PHILADELPHIA -- There are so many tasks that must be completed when moving to a new conference.

Among the most important -- scouting your new opponents.

Temple already has begun that process this spring. Walk into defensive coordinator Chuck Heater's office, and each opponent for 2012 is listed on his dry-erase board with the type of offense they run. He already has watched tape on every Big East school, though further in-depth scouting will really take off now that spring practice has wrapped up.

What may be a little different for the Owls are the number of teams that run a pro-style system. The majority of teams in the Big East run a variation of that type of offense, with Cincinnati the only school that primarily runs a spread-type system. In the MAC, the majority of offenses Temple faced the last few seasons specialized in the spread.

Heater says he is not worried much about the transition toward defending a different type of offense. What may be a little troublesome are depth concerns across the defense. The defensive line loses several of its key players, though there are players with potential up front. Heater has been encouraged by the progression of Marcus Green, slated to take over for Adrian Robinson at one of the end spots.

Green, a converted linebacker, is what the Owls want to see out of a rush end. "He is hard working, tough and plays hard," Heater said. "Football rewards guys who are like that."

John Youboty is slated to start at the other end position. Inside, Temple has experience returning with Levi Brown, Shahid Paulhill, Kamal Johnson and Kadeem Custis. While Custis sat out spring with an injury, Heater has some pretty high expectations for his player, saying the Owls need to get even more out of him this season.

Nate D. Smith has come on at middle linebacker, a position the Owls need help in, while Ahkeem Smith and Blaze Caponegro return. The secondary may need to rely on some true freshmen to contribute as well. Leadership also is a big question mark, with Tahir Whitehead gone. Heater says that was an area that was still being developed this spring.

The Big East has been known as a defensive league, so the Owls should fit right in with their 4-3 aggressive scheme. Last season, they ranked No. 12 in the nation in total defense. Last season, every Big East school ranked in the Top 64 in the nation in total defense. But as Heater says, "there are a lot of unknowns" headed into the season.

That goes for joining a new league as well.