All spring, Temple redshirt sophomore safety Keyvone Bruton and redshirt freshman receiver Jadan Blue have been cited by the coaches for their big-play ability.
Both continued their strong play during Saturday’s Cherry & White game, staged before a crowd that Temple officials said surpassed 5,000. The game took place for the first time at Temple’s sports complex, where a number of the school’s Olympic sports compete.
Bruton appeared in just two games last season and Blue, who made a favorable impression last year during training camp, ended up redshirting.
With the departure of four-year starter Sean Chandler, there is a spot at safety next to returning all-conference performer Delvon Randall.
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Bruton will be a candidate and, unlike last year, he thinks he is now ready.
“That was probably my biggest problem last year; I didn’t have that much confidence,” said Bruton, who had two tackles, including one for a loss in the first series, and a pass breakup. “Now I am really confident in my play and technique, and I trust the coaches to put me in the right situation.”
Bruton wears No. 20, the same number as former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, who is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame for induction this summer. In addition, Bruton also wears a black visor like that Dawkins played with.
“If he is going to play like Brian Dawkins, he is going to look like Brian Dawkins, and I am fired up about him and his future,” said coach Geoff Collins.
Blue (6-0, 185) had six receptions for 63 yards and three touchdowns.
“I did well, but, at end of day, all of it is because of my coaches and quarterbacks throwing me the ball, and we have phenomenal quarterbacks,” Blue said.
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Unlike in the past, when there was offense vs. defense, Collins had the teams play actual games, minus kicking. Teams had to go for it on fourth down.
Blue is attempting to find time at the deepest position, which is led by returning veterans Ventell Bryant and Isaiah Wright.
What Blue has done this spring certainly has put his name in the conversation.
“It makes you feel good that everything you are working for is showing on the field and it gives me a lot of momentum,” Blue said.
All four quarterbacks saw extensive action. Unlike last season when the position was up for grabs, redshirt senior Frank Nutile has a firm grip on the spot.
Yet all four have enjoyed their moments this spring.
A player who is the most intriguing is 6-5, 216-pound true freshman Trad Beatty, who enrolled in January and is among the most highly regarded recruits in the 29-member class.
He completed 8 of 17 for 49 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. A lefthander, Beatty showed good mobility, rushing for 21 yards on six carries.
Collins doesn’t allow true freshmen to talk to the media, but Bryant, who had two receptions for 22 yards and a score on Saturday, says that Betty is coming along.”
“Trad kind of struggled a little early with the playbook and speed of college football but everything is starting to slow down and he is making a lot of plays,” Bryant said.
Nutile completed 11 of 17 for 117 yards and one touchdown. The other two quarterbacks are redshirt sophomore Anthony Russo and redshirt freshman Todd Centeio.
Russo, who struggled in the first half, but settled down, completed 2 of 11 for 25 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Centeio, a major running threat, completed 2 of 9 for 13 yards and gained 16 yards on nine carries.
Eight players will join Collins on a trip to Tokyo beginning May 11, where Temple will do a number of clinics. The eight are Nutile, Wright, linebacker Shaun Bradley, defensive tackles Michael Dogbe, and Dan Archibong, cornerback Linwood Crump, center Matt Hennessey and offensive lineman Jalen Robinson. … Bradley, a former running back at Rancocas Valley, had two carries for 24 yards, including a long run of 17. … Dogbe was awarded a single digit (No. 9), which Temple gives to players who show great toughness and dedication. … Ryquell Armstead had three carries for 33 yards and two touchdowns. … Temple opens its season Sept. 1 against Villanova at Lincoln Financial Field.