OwlSports Update Staff Reporter
It is finally back. That means no pump fakes, no false starts, and no trick plays by those in charge of the schedule. Football is actually back.
After a roller coaster of changed dates and practice restrictions, Temple football is finally here. On Saturday, the Owls will be in Annapolis for their season-opener against the Navy Midshipmen (1-2, 1-0). Last month, Coach Rod Carey was unsure how his team could be ready for a game based on the restrictions set by the city. Carey made it clear that there was no way to get a team in football shape without actually playing football. After a second postponement, Carey and his players are finally in football shape and excited to make a run in the AAC this season.
Quarterback Anthony Russo will be taking snaps in his second year as the season-opening starter, and he’s got plenty of experience coming back at wide receiver and out of the backfield. Some of the biggest changes will come on the offensive line with a move for Vincent Picozzi. Picozzi was a guard last year and played some snaps at center due to injuries. In the offseason, Picozzi was moved to left tackle. He was surprised about the change, especially due to the fact he found out before a 14-day quarantine, but he has gained confidence at the position since then. Senior Joseph Hooper will be another new face on the line at left guard.
“Hooper has come into camp with a different mentality and has been working extremely hard this offseason,” said Picozzi.
Defensively, senior linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley will be a key leader for the Owls front seven. Mobley will be on the field more than usual this year, after he said it was a team vote for the single digit players to be on special teams.
“We kind of took matters into our own hands with that decision and said if we want to get things done why not do it ourselves,” said Graham-Mobley.
While the team is eager to kick off this season, they are well aware of the challenges they will face throughout the year. Navy comes into Saturday with three games played, while Temple has yet to be tested in a true game situation.
“You have to put that in the back of your mind ‘if this man goes out, it’s the next man up.’ It can happen to anyone,” said Mobley. “Even our president has Covid.”
Saturday’s kickoff is set for 6pm. After Navy, Temple moves to the Linc for its home opener on October 17th versus USF.