So far, so good: Drayton likes what he sees through 3 preseason practices
With three preseason camp practices as his guide, first-year Temple football coach Stan Drayton told reporters Friday afternoon that he feels good about where the Owls are so far.
“We’ve got some new pieces that we’re just trying to matriculate into our system,” Drayton said, “and those guys are looking good. I love our effort. I love our attitude. There are some things that we still have to work on, obviously. But they’re coming with the right approach, so it’s been awesome.”
Three of those new pieces came to Temple via the transfer portal in former Illinois running back Jakari Norwood, former Virginia Tech and North Dakota State quarterback Quincy Patterson, and former Georgia Tech wide receiver Adonicas Sanders.
Norwood, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound Pompano Beach, Florida native, is waiting to be cleared but should be available to the Owls “any day,” according to Drayton. Although he played sparingly in his four years in the Big Ten and tallied just 244 yards on 49 carries, Drayton believes Norwood could bring speed and be a factor in a Temple backfield that is still looking for someone to break away in the room as a lead back.
“If you sit there and you look at the kind of player that he is, he’s got versatility,” Drayton said. “He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He’s tough. He’s tough on contact, but he’s got the fifth gear. He’s the guy that can hit a home run. So it’s something that we felt we needed in that group, and we’re hoping he can bring that to the table early and often.”
Patterson, a 6-3, 235-pound redshirt junior, will be part of a position battle with returning starter D’Wan Mathis under center. Drayton called him a “natural leader” who’s “not flinching” and “not nervous.”
“None of that stuff is showing up,” Drayton said of Patterson, who helped lead North Dakota State to a 7-0 start before an injury. Patterson later returned as a running back in the season and was part of a team that won the FCS national championship, rushing for 660 yards and six touchdowns while also passing for 813 yards and six touchdowns.
But Patterson is still learning new offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf’s offense, Drayton said.
“He’s got some work to do, though,” Drayton explained. “He doesn’t know the system as well. He’s catching up in that respect. It’s kind of learning on the run for him, but he’s putting in the work, so I’m excited about Quincy.”
A quarterback room that also includes Mariano Valenti and true freshman E.J. Warner should get a boost from Sanders, who caught 29 passes for 362 yards and three touchdowns at Georgia Tech last fall as a redshirt junior.
“He’s tough, he’s strong,” Drayton said of Sanders. “He runs strong routes. He runs experienced routes. Some guys just run routes. Some guys know how to set up within the route, and he’s a guy who brings a little bit of experience to the table that way. He catches the ball very well. He has steady hands.
“I love his approach. He’s very mature. He has a next-play mentality. If things don’t go right the previous play, he knows how to wash that out and go try to make a play the next time, so he brings a lot of maturity to the group, and I’m very excited about Adonicas.”
UP NEXT THIS WEEKEND: Details from offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf, defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot and special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Adam Scheier on Temple's first three preseason practices.