We continue our series of camp previews for select non-AQ schools.
Opening camp: Temple
Schedule: Practice starts Saturday.
What’s new: Winning. Temple posted its first winning season since 1990 and made its first bowl game in 30 years in 2009. Now the Owls are being picked to win the East in the MAC.
Key battle: There is a lot of competition at wide receiver if you believe the post-spring depth chart. There are no favorites going into camp even though Michael Campbell and Rod Streater return as starters. Coach Al Golden lists C.J. Hammond, Deon Miller and Joey Jones as potential first-teamers. The Owls are going to need a more reliable passing game to help out RB Bernard Pierce.
New on the scene: He is not exactly new, but Vaughn Charlton is new on the tight end scene. The former quarterback switched to tight end in the spring when it became clear that Chester Stewart would be the starter there. Charlton now has the tough task of filling the shoes of Steve Maneri, a great blocker, if he can win the starting job.
Breaking out: Wide receiver Delano Green. He had two punt returns for touchdowns last season, and could see even more playing time at wide receiver, where the Owls need a deep threat to emerge.
Don’t forget about: Amara Kamara has moved from defensive end to outside linebacker. He has the size, at 6-2 and 235 pounds, to play on the outside and should help out a unit that lost two starters.
All eyes on: Bernard Pierce. After rushing for 1,361 yards and a single-season school record 16 touchdowns last season as a freshman last season, Temple has launched a Heisman campaign for the runner. Pierce already had 1,000 yards through eight games last season, and he missed the final two regular-season games with injuries. He is fine now, but he will have to handle the heightened expectations that have come with his superb rookie campaign.
Quoting: "What that says is that we've become a relevant program. But, it's not going to change the way we operate. Hopefully, our kids will continue to focus on the process. If we do that, and don't worry about what people say, the product will take care of itself." -- Coach Al Golden on his team being picked to win the MAC East.