LB Rian Wallace (PHOTO CREDIT - Joseph V. Labolito)

2002 Statistics

Coach: Bobby Wallace
16-40, 5 years
2002 Record: 4-8
at South Carolina LOST 21-42
at Connecticut WON 38-24
at Virginia Tech LOST 10-20
at Pittsburgh LOST 22-29
at Rutgers WON 20-17

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Like last season, 2003 does not appear very promising for the Temple Owls. The Big East's second-worst team in 2002 bids farewell to 13 starters, including its only all-conference selection in Dan Klecko. With the increasing talent throughout the conference - only woeful Rutgers kept TU out of the Big East cellar - football season in Philadelphia means Eagles, not Owls. Adding insult to injury is the fact that 2004 will be TU's last season in the Big East - the Owls have been ejected from the conference, thanks to their consistent inability to compete. Does this prove our point?

Future humiliation will be the least of Temple's problems, however. The schedule carries more than enough on its own. The league schedule is formidable, although only Miami, West Virginia, and Syracuse are on the road. But the Owls must also contend with games at Penn State, Cincinnati, and Louisville. The only nonconference home game - and the only assured win - is a Sept. 6 visit from cross-town rival Villanova. In all, TU will face eight teams who played in a bowl in 2003. Expect the Owls to (marginally) compete in most, but win none.

To face this daunting task, Wallace and company will turn to a whopping 22 junior college transfers - a number which speaks to the dearth of talent present in the program. The faster the roster gels, the less embarrassing Temple's Big East exit will be. Character will be a measurable factor if this squad has any success. The talent exists for a few wins to occur, but fighting until the end each week gets progressively harder every game that yields no win. Philly will be a cold place by December, regardless of the weather, if this rings true.

Projected 2003 record: 2-10
OG Joe Laudano (PHOTO CREDIT - Joseph V. Labolito)
QB - 3 DL - 2.5
RB - 1.5 LB - 3
WR - 3 DB - 1.5
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Mike McGann, 353-173-22, 1994 yds., 13 TD

Rushing: Mike McGann, 95 att., 200 yds., 3 TD

Receiving: Zamir Cobb, 45 rec., 483 yds., 6 TD

Scoring: Zamir Cobb, 7 TD, 1 two-pt. conv., 44 pts.

Punting: Garvin Ringwelski, 47 punts, 38.7 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Rian Wallace, 76 tot., 51 solo

Sacks: Taso Apostolidis, 3 sacks

Interceptions: Yazid Jackson, 3 for 27 yds.

Kickoff returns: Makonnen Fenton, 14 ret., 27.1 avg.

Punt returns: Zamir Cobb, 23 ret., 9.7 avg.


OFFENSE: Sean Dillard-WR, Tanardo Sharps-RB, Mike Frost-QB, Damian Hendricks-OT, Dave Yovanovits-OT, Anthony Bolden-OG, Donny Klein-C, Cap Poklemba-K
DEFENSE: Tyrone Ditzel-DE, Dan Klecko-DT, Rob Sack-DT, J.D. Nichols-SLB, Jairo Almonte-OWL, Gerard Bishop-SS, Lafton Thompson-SS, Terrance Leftwich-CB, Jamal Wallace-WLB

written by Collin Mickle

Although the Owls' quarterback job will likely be up for grabs this fall (see below), whoever wins the position will be able to fall back on an experienced group of receivers - seniors Zamir Cobb and Terrance Stubbs and sophomore Sean Szarka all recorded more than 20 receptions in 2002. Szarka, who scored four TDs playing in the slot as the A-back, could see an increased role. Another JUCO All-American, Phil Goodman, will enter fall as the fourth starter despite not participating in spring practice.

The offensive line should also be solid. Senior guards Joe Laudano and Jose Portillo both have starting experience. Tackles Adam Boyd and John Gross are inexperienced, while JUCO transfer C.J. Blomvall appears set to start at center. None of the trio has much Division I experience. This area could be a problem if the experience of the first few games doesn't cause improved play, accordingly.

The departure of running back Tanardo Sharps (1200+ yards) leaves the Owls with a major hole. Senior Makonnen Fenton now has the edge over a host of other players that includes junior (transfer) Jamil Porter.

Another major concern is at quarterback, where junior Mike McGann returns to again start. Although McGann is an athletic runner and a capable passer - 16 combined touchdowns in 2002 - he threw an unacceptable 22 interceptions in just 12 games. Quarterback is a vitally important position in Temple's four-wide, one-back spread offense, and mistakes are too costly to risk a repeated 2002 performance.

Junior college All-American Walter Washington, a sophomore, will challenge McGann for the job in the pre-season. Look for his progress to parallel that of the team - he will likely be a savior if he can adjust as needed and eventually start.


WR Zamir Cobb (PHOTO CREDIT - Harvey Levine)


Returning Starters in bold
QB Mike McGann-Jr Walter Washington-So
SB Makonnen Fenton-Sr Jamil Porter-Jr
WR Sean Szarka-So Phil Goodman-Jr
WR Terrence Stubbs-Sr Jeremy Hartsfield-Jr
WR Zamir Cobb-Sr Andre Mixon-Toland-Jr
TE Eric Carpenter-Jr Collin Hannigan-Jr
OT John Gross-So Chris Harris-Jr
OG Joe Laudano-Sr Steven Bell-Jr
C C.J. Blomvall-Jr ..
OG Jose Portillo-Sr Yohance Perry-So
OT Adam Boyd-Sr Stan Primus-Jr
K Jared Davis-Sr Roger Price-So



written by Collin Mickle

Defensive end Rodney Wormley is one of the few returning starters on the defensive line. Wormley, who had 42 tackles as a freshman in 2002, benefited considerably from the presence of All-Big East selection Dan Klecko at defensive tackle. Klecko is gone, so Wormley will have to take a more prominent role. The only other experienced player on the d-line will be senior tackle Taso Apostolidis. Apostolidis had 40 tackles as a backup in 2002 and will replace the talent and hustle of Klecko.

One player to watch on the defensive line will be sophomore end Mike Mendenhall. As a reserve in 2002, Mendenhall recorded 35 tackles. Mendenhall, who will likely play the rush end position, will have to make big plays. If he performs and garners double-teams, others stepping up will dictate how well the line performs as a unit.

The Owls' linebacker corps is expected to be solid behind the leadership of sophomore Rian Wallace, the team's top returning tackler. Senior Troy Bennett - a weight-room monster who bench-presses over 400 pounds - will enter the fall as the starter at the strong side. Temple's 4-2-5 base defense means that Wallace and Bennett will typically be the only linebackers on the field for the Owls. Nickel and dime players will need to think run-support for this to work, but this takes balanced players who make few mistakes when deciding run or pass.

The Owls return just one starter in the secondary. In a conference that promises to air the ball out regularly, inexperience in the defensive backfield does not bode well for TU. That player, senior cornerback Yazid Jackson, is a solid cover corner, but his lack of size (5-10) is a handicap against the tall receivers of Pittsburgh, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami.

Senior Donnie Coleman earned the other starting position at cornerback, beating out talented sophomore Mike Holley. Even if Holley does not regain the job in the fall - certainly a possibility - he will see plenty of action as the nickel.

The three safeties - free safety Jonathan McPhee, strong safety Sadeke Conte, and "Owl safety" Lawrence Wade - are extremely inexperienced. The trio combined for just six tackles in 2002 - five stops by McPhee. The unit will get an early trial-by-fire - the Owls face solid passing attacks in three first-half tilts, against Penn State, Cincinnati, and Louisville.


CB Yazid Jackson (PHOTO CREDIT - Harvey Levine)


Returning Starters in bold
DE Mike Mendenhall-So J.D. Stanley-Sr
NT Taso Apostolidis-Sr Adam Fichter-So
DT Luis Lumpris-Sr Anthony Nembhard-Sr
DE Rodney Wormley-So J.D. Stanley-Sr
SLB Troy Bennett-Sr Christian Dunbar-Jr
WLB Rian Wallace-So Manuel Tapia-So
OWL Lawrence Wade-Jr Joel Gray-Jr
CB Donnie Coleman-Sr Mike Holley-So
CB Yazid Jackson-Sr Carl Marshall-Jr
SS Sadeke Konte-Jr Shawn Bullard-Sr
FS Jonathan McPhee-So Eric Wright-Jr
P Garvin Ringwelski-Sr Mike McLaughlin-So




The Owls special teams were a weakness last season. Kicker Cap Poklemba's likely replacement will be senior Jared Davis, who did not attempt a kick in 2002. Sophomore Roger Price finished spring ball as the designated PAT kicker, with Davis assigned field goal duties.

Senior punter Garvin Ringwelski also returns, after averaging 38.7 yards per kick. Ringwelski will need to improve - the Owls' defense will need all the help it can get, especially considering the likely early struggles on offense. Sophomore Mike McLaughlin, the holder for field goals and PATs, is Ringwelski's backup, but did not attempt a punt in 2002.

Fenton, who will assume starting running back duties, was the second-best kickoff returner in the conference last season (27.1 yards per return), and is expected to retain the job. Cobb will return as the punt returner. Coverage teams look to be weak if the defense pulls quality players to then leave special teams little field-position insurance.