OwlSports Update Staff Reporter
The idea of having a home opener in October might have been a crazy one when Temple’s 2020 schedule came out last spring. But one thing COVID has taught us, expect the unexpected.
On Saturday, Temple will welcome the University of South Florida to the Lincoln Financial Field for not only the Owls home opener, but also for homecoming. Of course, it will feel very different this year with only family members of players and coaches in the stands.
Regardless who and how many people are in the stands, Saturday’s game is an important one in this eight-game season. The Owls are looking to bounce back after a nail-biting loss to the Naval Academy, as they will face the challenging three safety look the Bulls will present them. In previous years USF was a traditional man coverage defense, pressing receivers at the line often, while bringing a lot of pressure by stacking the tackle box.
Preparing for his upcoming assignment, Quarterback Anthony Russo describes USF as bringing, “Funky different looks in the back ends of coverages.” The goal is to disguise their defensive coverages and pressures to keep the offensive line on its toes.
On the defensive side, Temple has the assignment of containing Quarterback Jordan McCloud. Running away with the starting job last week, McCloud is a threat on the ground as much as he is in the air. Coach Rod Carey calls him a dynamic athlete who can throw the ball effectively.
It will be interesting to see how Temple’s game plan will try to contain McCloud and running backs Johnny Ford and Kelley Joiner after having struggled to stop the run game in last week's loss to Navy.
Coach Carey is excited for the challenge and looks forward to the team getting into their normal rhythm. Having four months to prepare for the season opener and now only have seven days to prepare for the upcoming game has everything moving at “warp speed,” as the head coach puts it.
Saturday’s kickoff is set for 12pm and can be seen on ESPN+. Also follow us @owlsportsupdate for live in-game updates.