I wrap up my series called home run summer, where I present a player or players who have got to knock it out of the park with their preparations for the start of training camp in August.
Up today: Temple.
Who needs to step it up: Offensive line and receiver.
Coach Steve Addazio thinks he has a really solid starting five offensive linemen, even though four of those players are different starters from a year ago. One of those is center Sean Boyle, who has playing experience but been injury prone. If he can stay healthy, the Owls will be in good shape at one of the most critical positions along the line. Martin Wallace goes into his third year as a starter at right tackle, solidifying that side. But the biggest concern is depth, something Addazio has worried about since the Owls announced their move to the Big East.
"I really like our starting offensive line a lot, and I think I know something about that position. But I’m nervous about injuries right now," Addazio said. "If we get into our eighth guy right now, that person wouldn’t be ready to play. But on the flip side, where we are at the end of spring practice, we were ahead of where we were last year at the end of spring practice. That’s the thing about that position, it’s very developmental. So some guys have to develop this summer."
At wideout, the Owls lose their top three receivers from a year ago in Evan Rodriguez (a tight end), Rod Streater and Joe Jones. Deon Miller, Malcolm Eugene and C.J. Hammond all have potential to be playmakers, but Addazio believes the receiving group as a whole can play better than it did this spring.
"I’d like to see them step up because I know we have the ability to do that," Addazio said. "They have to take a bigger step than they did in the spring, in my opinion. That’s a position I feel could be a strength for us, but I wasn’t thrilled at the end of spring ball."