Proper Sendoff

On Friday, Temple head football coach Steve Addazio will welcome his senior class out to the field against Kent State for their final home game. The reception could take a while. The Owls will be honoring 19 players — including 13 starters — and Addazio will be preparing to send off the first senior class in his tenure, although a victory would go a long way into extending their season.

On Friday, Temple head football coach Steve Addazio will welcome his senior class out to the field against Kent State for their final home game. The reception could take a while.

The Owls will be honoring 19 players — including 13 starters — and Addazio will be preparing to send off the first senior class in his tenure, although a victory would go a long way into extending their season.

Their stories are vastly different. Defensive end Adrian Robinson was the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, while middle linebacker Stephen Johnson didn't see the field for three seasons but is the Owls' leading tackler this year.

Four of the senior starters are on an offensive line that has opened holes for junior backs Bernard Pierce and Matt Brown during their stellar careers.

Even some of the seniors who aren't starting like wide receiver Joe Jones, offensive lineman Jeremy Schonbrunner, quarterback Chester Stewart and linebacker Quinten White have been significant contributors.

With the 42-14 win over Army last week, the Owls won the 29th game in the last four seasons — setting a record for a senior class and breaking a mark that had stood for 80 years.

"That's very important, that's big," said Kevin Kroboth, the starting free safety who has played four positions and been a contributor all four years during his career. "You come in as a freshman, and you want to win and you want to be on a good team. Fortunately, these coaches and past coaches have put us in position to do that and as a group of seniors we've done a good job."

The record is impressive because this group of Owls joined the program early in Al Golden's tenure when tangible progress wasn't as obvious.

"We came in and Coach Golden and the staff told us we were going to win a lot of games and we bought into it," said Jones, who has had a resurgence this year after a disappointing junior year. "I think (that we didn't come into a winning program) adds a little spice to it."

Kroboth has played both safety spots, cornerback and wide receiver. Jones spent time at running back and wide receiver.

Likewise, starting cornerback Kee-ayre Griffin was once the Owls' starting running back.

"At the time they made the switch I wasn't happy about it, but it was about being unselfish, it was about the team," said Griffin. "I felt comfortable going to DB knowing eventually I could help the team out and help Temple become successful.

"The years went by so fast, but if I had to do it again I definitely would. I think I would cherish college football more, appreciate it more. I improved as an all-around guy, communicating with people and working with people."

For Addazio, who took over for Golden after last season, he appreciated the reception he received from a group of players in their final year being asked to accept a whole new coaching style and scheme.

"They're resilient, they've battled," said Addazio. "There was a coaching change, they bought totally into what we're doing here, There was no resistance, nothing. It was welcome, open arms, want to have a great year, want to have a great season, coach us as hard as you can coach us.

"When you have a group of guys like that, it's really terrific. Some guys hadn't played as much football, and these guys were eager, ready to be coached and have their opportunity. We were really thrilled with their attitude, their work ethic and their desire to continue to be great."

The seniors are hoping this isn't their final game wearing a cherry-and-white uniform. An eighth win would seemingly put them in position to receive a fourth bowl bid in program history — their second as players after the Owls competed in their first postseason game in 30 years in 2009 — and possibly become the second Temple team in history to win a bowl game.

"Our goal is to get eight wins and get to that bowl game," said Jones. "Temple hasn't done that many times, and we want to make that our legacy as seniors."

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