Summer's biggest issue? The offensive line

Temple football head coach Matt Rhule. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

When asked what was the most pressing issue facing the Owls during training camp, Temple coach Matt Rhule didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“The biggest area that we have to come to peace with is our offensive line. We’re only returning one starter in Kyle (Friend). There isn’t a tremendous amount of bodies there,” Rhule, who said the kicking game was also a big concern, said.

“The good news is that there are no seniors on the offensive line, that’s the positive side,” he continued. “It’s just really who is going to step up at that position. It’s great to see all these athletes out here running around, but if you don’t win in the trenches you don’t win. So our offensive line is the biggest area where we have to look and figure out who is going to play for us there.”

The Owls are set at center, where junior Kyle Friend is entrenched. However, the rest of the line clearly will be a work in progress. In fact, I’d expect the starting jobs to remain fluid there until a week before the season-opener at Vanderbilt (Aug.  28).

For what it’s worth – and that’s probably not much after just one practice – the first unit offensive line on Friday consisted of Eric Lofton (right tackle), Brendan McGowan (right guard), Friend, Shahbaz Ahmed (right guard), and Dion Dawkins (left tackle).

Ahmed is interesting here in that the junior started at times in 2013 at defensive ends. Ahmed has added about 30 pounds to his frame and now tips the scales at 285 pounds.