Temple's Addazio says quarterback decision will come down the road

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Temple quarterback Chester Stewart started the first seven games as a junior last season. (Ed Hille/Staff Photographer)

The decision on Temple's starting quarterback will be a priority down the line. But with the Owls in the second week of spring football drills, new coach Steve Addazio says that time is not now.

The Owls entered their workouts with two holdover starters in southpaw Mike Gerardi, who played the last five games of his sophomore season, and Chester Stewart, who started the first seven as a junior last season.

Also hoping to catch the coach's eye are Chris Coyer, who will be a sophomore, and redshirt freshman Connor Reilly.

As the offensive coordinator at Florida for the last two seasons, Addazio directed a spread offense, an attack he will bring to Temple.

"Right now, the quarterback position gets saturated the most early on in terms of the mental part of the game," said Addazio, who will turn the Owls offense over to offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. "It's the newness of the offense. It's the newness of a play call, the newness of the formation call. They've got to do all of that, and I think they are handling it pretty well. Just with the verbiage alone, and their command of the huddle with the verbiage. I like their work ethic, but we've got a long way to go."

Addazio had mixed results while running the Gators offense.

In 2009, Florida was the only team in the nation to rush for more than 3,000 yards and pass for more than 3,000. But Addazio had Tim Tebow calling the signals that year, and the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round in 2010.

With Tebow gone last fall, Florida was eighth in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense, 10th in total offense, sixth in rushing offense, and 10th in passing offense.

Temple was fifth in scoring offense in the Mid-American Conference, sixth in total offense, sixth in rushing offense, and ninth in passing offense.

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Gerardi completed 93 of 156 pass attempts for 1,290 yards, with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Stewart, 6-3 and 214, threw for 842 yards (72 for 135), with five interceptions and four touchdowns.

Both have some mobility.

"Our quarterback situation, what are we best at?" Addazio said. "I don't like it when you try to put a square peg in a round hole. Are we athletic enough to do some of these spread-option things? If we're not, then we're not going to do that right now. We want to be evaluative of our personnel. What are our skill sets? This is what we do best, whatever that is. We need to know that. At the end of the spring ball, we'll see where we're headed."

This summer, Addazio will welcome two more quarterbacks when freshman Jalen Fitzpatrick of Harrisburg and junior-college transfer Clinton Granger (George Washington High) report for camp along with 18 other recruits.

"Granger, he's really an athletic guy," Addazio said. "He's got great tools. He's got size, and he certainly possesses the athletic traits to run a spread offense. And so does Jalen. He's a smaller guy [5-11, 180], but both of these guys have the capability.

"But they are not here yet. . . . We have guys here working on [the offense] right now."

 


Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.