Cherry On Top

Temple football coach Steve Addazio declared the Owls' first experience of holding the annual Cherry and White Game in Lincoln Financial Field a success on Saturday after the Cherry defeated the White, 17-10, to cap spring practice. The Owls will head into offseason workouts and open training camp in August preparing to face their first season back in the Big East Conference.

Temple football coach Steve Addazio declared the Owls' first experience of holding the annual Cherry and White Game in Lincoln Financial Field a success on Saturday after the Cherry defeated the White, 17-10, to cap spring practice.

The Owls will head into offseason workouts and open training camp in August preparing to face their first season back in the Big East Conference.

"You get to this day and you can walk into that locker room, getting through 15 days, including a spring game, and got a lot done and didn't have any major injuries, I feel great about that," said Addazio. "(The attitude Saturday) was ‘Let's go have a little fun, the hay's in the barn.' We've had a productive spring, today wasn't as productive as what we've had in spring ball.

"But it was a good experience, come to the Linc, it's a new environment, but I really loved that environment. It's fun. All of the sudden, you're back in that setting again and it's a big thing."

Addazio, who had been the offensive coordinator at Florida before coming to Temple last year, said he always felt the Gators' spring game brought out the best in their players.

"We used to love that spring game because the atmosphere was very game-like," said Addazio. " You get a great sense of a guy who hasn't been on that stage yet. We used to watch those guys in that stadium and it was great. We didn't have the same crowd here, but it had the same impact. I'm glad we did it today."

The move to the Linc from campus was precipitated by construction at the Owls' practice facility, Edberg-Olson Hall. The work is expected to be completed by the fall, so Temple will have options next year.

"I thought today was terrific, but that's not really my decision," said Addazio. "There's a lot of factors that go into that. I'm just glad for today. I really enjoyed it.

"I'd like to see us grow our spring game. I see no reason our crowds can't continue to grow. What do you do on a Saturday at 11 o'clock? The sun's shining, it's beautiful. To me, I kind of wish I was up in the bleachers, just kind of hanging out, I probably would have been better off."

Brandon McManus kicked a 53-yard field goal for the White, then drilled a 34-yarder for the Cherry. Kenny Harper scored on a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs – also one for each side –and ran 15 times for 67 yards.

Starting quarterback Chris Coyer hit Ryan Alderman on a 43-yard touchdown strike in the second quarter for the Cherry as the juniors hooked up on a pass over the middle.

"We got a good look, cover-1, and C.J. (Hammond) did a great job holding the safety, and it was a great call to be honest," said Alderman, who had three catches for 56 yards. "Chris hit me in stride and I took it from there."

Coyer finished 6-of-16 for 116 yards and the score, and also ran four times for 26 yards – the latter an impressive stat considering quarterbacks were down by contact.

"The receivers have to do a better job catching the ball," said Addazio, blaming drops on some of Coyer's incompletions. "Chris threw the ball pretty well, that was good to see. He had a great spring. He looked electric on the field.

"From where he ended last year to where he is now. … He's significantly ahead, he has command of the offense, continues to throw ball well. We just left chunks of yards on the field."

Coyer, though, took some of the blame, knowing he missed open receivers – including Jalen Fitzpatrick and Malcolm Eugene on back-to-back downfield throws in the third quarter.

"I was real inconsistent today and that's something I really need to work on," said Coyer. "I felt in the second quarter I started to feel it a little bit more, and in the third quarter I missed some bigger balls I really needed to hit, so that's something I'll be working on a lot over the summer."

Coyer's backup, Clinton "Juice" Granger, was 14-for-20 for 125 yards with an interception. He drove the White team inside the 5 late in the game, but was downed by linebacker Sean Daniels on fourth down for one of the junior's two sacks on the day.

The Owls saw some impressive defensive efforts by a trio of freshmen. Linebackers Nate Smith and Tyler Matakevich combined for 24 tackles and defensive tackle Hershey Walton added eight stops.

"I could have been a little better, but I did what I had to do," said Smith, who got an earful from Addazio for a horse-collar tackle on running back Matt Brown but finished the day with 13 stops. "We were pretty excited to put on a show for the fans. It definitely was a good spring, and now we have to tackle the offseason workouts."

Temple announced its spring award winners at halftime. Running back/wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick was Offensive Most Improved Player, linebacker Ahkeem Smith took home Defensive Most Improved Player and Olaniyi Adewole was Special Teams Most Improved Player.

Brown earned the Mark Bresani Award for Sprit, tight end Wanemi Omuso was the Gavin White Local 215 winner for best or most improved non-scholarship player and offensive lineman Pat Boyle was given the Owl Club Academic Award for graduating player with the highest grade-point average.

Owls Daily Top Stories