Camp Preview: Quarterbacks

With Steve Addazio's first training camp as Temple's head football coach approaching, owlsdaily.com will take an extensive look at each position group.Today's focus is on the quarterbacks.

Scot Loeffler has coached Tim Tebow, Tom Brady, Brian Griese and Chad Henne at the collegiate level.

Loeffler knows what a great college quarterback looks like, and Temple's new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach will be charged with finding the best fit for the critical position this fall.

"It's the most scrutinized position in sports, hands down," said Loeffler. "(Quarterbacks) get way too much credit when they win and way too much criticism when they lose. The great ones have a wonderful ability to worry about things they can control. They don't worry about winning, don't worry about losing, it's 100 percent concentration on that play. One thing I've learned from them all and tried to teach our guys here, that philosophy.

"We're still in the learning stages. To get to that championship caliber stage we want to get to, it begins with the offensive line but obviously the quarterback has a great deal in that process. We're not there yet, but we're working on it, being mentally tough and handling pressure, becoming fundamentally sound and overall general situational football."

Loeffler may be new to Temple but quarterback battles have been commonplace with the Owls the last several years. With the exception of Adam DiMichele in 2008, the starting quarterback was a question mark in each of Al Golden's five years on North Broad Street.

Nothing has changed in that regard with Steve Addazio taking over as head coach.

Temple will have six quarterbacks on the roster this fall and up to four of them will likely have a chance to start the opener against Villanova on Sept. 1. The new offense has spread principles, and whoever wins the job will have to show he can operate the system.

Veterans Chester Stewart and Mike Gerardi came out of the spring sharing the top spot. Because of a hand injury, sophomore Chris Coyer is a little behind, while junior college transfer Clinton Granger could have a say.

Gerardi, a junior, saw his first playing experience last year and flourished. In six games, he threw for 1,290 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions – though ended on a rough note when he struggled in the season finale against Miami (Ohio).

"I like him as a football guy," said Loeffler. "He has great intelligence, loves the game, likes Temple. He's a competitor. He played a little last year and had some success. It will be really great to watch him compete for the job."

Stewart has started games in each of the last three seasons and began last year as the starter before Gerardi took over the position mid-season. Stewart had his moments, most notably leading the Owls down the field for a season-opening win against Villanova, but was inconsistent in throwing four touchdowns and five interceptions on the year.

"Chester physically is extremely gifted, has intelligence," said Loeffler. "He's working on making plays when plays present themselves, and when the plays not there putting it on the shelf and saving it for another day. I like him. As a senior, he has to develop into a leader. We'll see. It will be a competitive fall."

Assistant offensive coordinator Matt Rhule, who had Loeffler's responsibilities under the previous regime, noted the plethora of experience the two quarterbacks have accumulated should be valuable.

"Two guys there have a lot of experience. … good, bad or indifferent," said Rhule. "When you play enough, eventually you have a great year. I loved coaching Adam DiMichele, but the thing I remind people about is as a sophomore, we benched him three or four times. It took him a while and game reps to be really good."

Coyer was limited by an injury to his non-throwing hand most of the spring and he also has less game experience than the other two. But he's physically gifted and has a good pedigree.

"I know he's a football rat," said Loeffler. "The guy's a winner, he's a very dynamic runner and we'll see how he competes."

Granger attended George Washington High School in Philadelphia and Pierce College in Los Angeles. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder has three seasons of eligibility and the physical abilities to run the spread.

Can he make up enough ground to be in the mix?

"He's a very gifted young man," said Loeffler. "He's older because of his junior college stint. We won't know (whether he can win the job) until we get to put the pads on. We'll find out his learning curve when training camp hits, where he is in the mix."

Both Loeffler and Rhule expect one of the candidates to grab hold of the opportunity.

"They're all great kids," said Rhule. "You're hoping one of them picks up the system and runs with it, and I think that will really happen in the fall. This system is conducive to a quarterback playing really well."

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