Temple Preview

Devils Digest previews ASU's first opponent of the 2005 season – the Temple Owls.

TEMPLE OWLS

2004 Record: 2-9
Head Coach: Bobby Wallace

For the third consecutive year, the Arizona State Sun Devils open up their season campaign in the friendly confines of Sun Devil Stadium. The Temple Owls, the newest member of the Mid-American Conference, will attempt to give the Devils all they can handle this Thursday.

OFFENSE

Projected Starters:

WR Michael Loveland
WR Brian Allbrooks
LT John Gross
LG Leigh Denman
C Alex Derenthal
RG Stephen Bell
RT Elliot Seifert
TE Leyon Azubuike
QB Mike McGann
RB Umar Ferguson
WR Jamel Harris

The strength of the Owls' offense lies in the backfield with Senior running backs Tim Brown and Umar Ferguson. Brown started ten games last year, accruing 432 yards and two touchdowns on 108 carries. Umar Ferguson played in all 11 games and put up nearly identical numbers with his 493 yards and two scores on 104 carries. As of Monday, Brown was ruled academically ineligible. Head Coach Bobby Wallace plans on establishing a better ground game this season using multiple sets.

The Temple receiving corps is relatively short on experience coming into the 2005 season. With 20 games played, Jamel Harris is the team's most experienced wideout. The Junior enters this year with 17 catches for 217 yards in 2004 and will be moving outside from the slot this season. Brian Allbrooks, starting slot receiver, finished last season with 20 catches for 220 yards in his first year with the Owls. Mike Holley was slated to round out the group but was ruled ineligible for a second straight season. That opens the door up for Michael Loveland, a junior with two starts under his belt. At tight end, Redshirt Freshman Leyon Azubuike will make his first career start as an Owl. Senior Anthony Martinez is also in the mix after returning from a knee injury that forced him to miss all of last season.

Mike McGann will be calling the plays under center for the Owls. The Senior has played in 29 games, with 26 of those as the starter. McGann returns in the starting role this season after redshirting in 2004. The QB is looking to build on his ranking as Temple's number three all-time career passer in yards with 4,498 under his belt.

DEFENSE

Projected Starters:

DE Mike Mendenhall
DT Antwon Burton
DT Adam Fichter
DE Rodney Wormley
LB Ryan Gore
LB Manuel Tapia
S Justin Johnson
CB Jermaine Hargraves
FS Ray Lamb
S Willie Hardemon
CB Delonne Wilbourn

With the secondary in the Owls' 4-2-5 scheme in flux, the defensive line will undoubtedly be counted on to anchor this side of the ball. Defensive Coordinator Raymond Monica likes the front four, as it will feature four experienced seniors. End Mike Mendenhall finished last season with 41 tackles and 3.5 sacks. At the other end spot is Rodney Wormley, who brings in a 25 tackle and one sack performance in 2004. The depth behind both starters is shaky with Senior JC Braker out due to academics. Adam Fichter anchors one spot on the interior after making 30 stops, one sack and two forced fumbles as a junior. The nose tackle position will see the return of Antwon Burton, who Wallace feels is an All-American candidate, after missing all of last season. Randy Johnson, a senior, saw action in all 11 games in 2004 and is also scheduled to see time on the interior.

It will be up to senior Manuel Tapia and junior Ryan Gore to replace a pair of three-year starters at linebacker. Both have combined for two starts and 26 tackles in 2004 but have logged playing time in over 20 contests a piece. Christian Dunbar, a former starter at tight end, switched to linebacker in the spring and will provide depth at the position.

The outside safety positions will be manned by senior Justin Johnson and sophomore Willie Hardemon. Johnson is in his third year in the program after transferring from a JC. The Owls are hoping that redshirt year will pay off this season. Bobby Fulmore was penciled in as the other starter at safety but is yet another academic casualty for the Owls in 2005. Hardemon played as a true freshman last season and compiled 5 tackles. Senior Andrew Smith and sophomore Matt Powell complete the depth chart here.

At free safety, Ray Lamb is the anchor of the Owl secondary after a limited comeback from an ACL injury in the spring of 2004. The two corner positions will feature a pair of seniors, Jermaine Hargraves and Delonne Wilbourn. Hargraves is coming off a productive 2004 season, finishing with 23 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2 interceptions. Wilbourn had 14 tackles and 1 pass break-up as a junior. Lamb can also line up at corner, if needed.

SPECIAL TEAMS

P Jake Hendy/Mike McLaughlin
K Ryan Lux

Ryan Lux was 9 of 17 in field goal attempts last year. The senior's longest of the year was from 41 yards out. The Owls utilize two experienced senior punters in Jake Hendy and Mike McLaughlin. Hendy punted 28 balls for a 37.1 yard average while McLaughlin had 34 punts for a 36.5 yard average last season. Wallace must find a new pair of kick and punt returners fast as WR Mike Holley and RB Tim Brown were slated to share those duties but were recently declared ineligible.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories