Owls defensive tackles expect more sacks this season

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Temple head coach Geoff Collins talks to the team after practice.

Temple may have a deeper defensive line than a year ago, so the biggest question is how to replace the heat put on the quarterbacks by defensive ends Haason Reddick and Praise Martin-Oguike.

Reddick was a first-round draft choice of the Arizona Cardinals, selected 13th overall, and Martin-Oguike signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent.

The duo combined for 32 1/2 tackles for losses. They also contributed 18 of Temple’s 41 quarterback sacks. Temple may be more of a sack- by-committee team this season with no player likely to match the 10 1/2 sacks by Reddick or the 7 1/2 by Martin Oguike.

A key for the Owls will be getting more of a pass rush from the inside. Last year, Temple’s defensive tackles accounted for 7 1/2 sacks, with the graduated Averee Robinson contributing 4 1/2. While the tackles’ main job is to occupy blockers and push the pocket, they will also be needed to put pressure on the quarterback.

The two most experienced tackles are redshirt juniors Michael Dogbe (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) and Freddie Booth-Lloyd. Both had 1 1/2 sacks last season and saw sufficient action, with Dogbe contributing 43 tackles while making eight starts and Booth-Lloyd recording 18 tackles in all 14 games, with two starts.

Dogbe said that there will be more sacks from the tackle position this season.

“I think having [Reddick] and Praise on the outside, those were two great edge rushers,” Dogbe said. “We were mainly guys to push the pocket, but we have guys who can finesse inside and create sacks.”

The Owls substituted liberally last season on the defensive line, especially at tackle, and that should happen again. The difference this year is that  without Reddick and Martin-Oguike there should be more people rotating at end. Last year, Reddick was usually on the field most of the time, and Martin-Oguike rotated in and out of the lineup.

Redshirt freshman Dan Archibong, a 6-6, 285-pound defensive tackle from Springfield (Delco) High School, has had a great camp. The coaches were on the fence about playing him last year, and Arbhibong saw action in two games. But he eventually redshirted. He was a defensive end in high school and has displayed great quickness while playing inside at tackle.

“Having that quickness helps because offensive guards aren’t as fast as tackles so when you have that quickness, it really helps get around the corner and get to the quarterback,” said Archibong, who showed that quickness in the spring game by recording a sack.

Also inside is sophomore Karamo Dioubate (6-3, 295) a touted player from Philadelphia’s Prep Charter, who appeared in 12 games last year.

On the outside there are plenty of options, although no ends with the reputation or resume of Reddick or Martin-Oguike.

Redshirt senior Sharif Finch, who appeared in four games before receiving a medical redshirt, and senior Jacob Martin, who had 2 1/2 sacks last season, are the likely starters at end. But there are several who should play there, including redshirt senior Jullian Taylor (who can also play inside), redshirt sophomore Dana Levine and redshirt freshman Quincy Roche.

Redshirt senior receiver Keith Kirkwood could be employed as a situational pass rusher after showing promise in the spring and preseason camp.

Even with Reddick, Martin-Oguike and Robinson gone, their presence will be felt due to what they passed on to the younger players.

“They taught me everything. How to break down film, how to put the extra hours in that make a player great,” Levine said. “I learned everything from Praise, Haason and Avery.”