Host for Inside the Nest
It’s been a while -- almost two years to be exact. Temple last played Navy in October of 2018 with a running back corps led by two single-digit backs: Ryquell Armstead and Rob Ritrovato. In 2020, the running back depth chart is full of young and hungry Owls with no clear cut-leader.
Running backs coach Gabe Infante says sophomore Re’mahn Davis will sit at the top of the depth chart for now after showing his growth from his freshman year where he had 936 rushing yards and more than 1,000 total yards.
“Ray is a young man who is more composed,” Infante said. “Last year I felt like we were always one step behind. This year he’s more proactive.”
However, there are plenty of other names to consider in the running backs room heading into the 2020 season. This group includes redshirt senior Tayvon Ruley, redshirt freshmen Edward Saydee and Onasis Neely, and redshirt sophomore Kyle Dobbins. Each running back may compete for playing time, but the unique thing about this group is that each player brings something different to the offense.
According to Infante, Davis and Saydee are the smartest of the group, Ruley is the oldest, Neely is the big physical back weighing 225 pounds, and Dobbins has the ability to break off the long run at any time with his acceleration. The balance of the five backs will be up to the coaching staff, but Infante envisions three to four backs being used at different times depending on the packages the team runs.
“All five should play when you include special teams reps,” Infante said. But there is no guarantee.
“It’s not really a competition,” Davis said. “We have a great room that’s destined to be great in the years to come.”
“We don’t compete with each other,” Saydee said. “We compete with ourselves.”
“We’re one unit even though I’m a senior,” Ruley said.
“We’re all like family,” Dobbins said. “We all have respect for each other and help each other.”
“I feel like all of us in the room can get touches this season,” Neely said.
The touches for some may be hard to come by, but it’s clear that the entire running backs room is on the same page. It’s not about who is on the field, but rather how well the team is succeeding. Without a clear leader of the group, the image has changed. Everyone is accountable.
“I think all of us are leaders,” Davis said. “When one person makes a mistake, we’re all going to get on him. When one person does something great, we’re all going to praise him.”
Infante mentioned that he’d love to have packages with two running backs on the field at once, but the player personnel could change depending on the match up. Regardless, everyone in the running backs room has to be ready on October 10 in Annapolis, Maryland.
“Number five has to be ready to be number one tomorrow,” Infante said.