Temple will have a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterback, and a new tempo. But some of the same components that were successful last year when the Owls (10-4) won the American Athletic Conference championship will be back.
Dave Patenaude, the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the last five years at Coastal Carolina, will have similar duties under first-year head coach Geoff Collins.
Patenaude's first line of business is deciding on a quarterback after the graduation of four-year starter Phillip Walker. The new coach said it's a decision that could take some time.
"It is going to be a long process and something that won't be decided in the next couple of days," Patenaude said Tuesday after the second of 14 spring practices. "It is probably going through summer and into camp, and once we figure out who has a great understanding of what we are doing, we will put somebody out there."
The four competitors, in no certain order, are redshirt junior Frank Nutile, redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi, redshirt freshman Anthony Russo, and incoming freshman Todd Centeio, who is already enrolled at Temple and participating in spring practice.
Patenaude doesn't want to have quarterbacks sharing the starting role. "Ultimately, it will be one guy who will take the majority of reps, who will lead the team," he said.
The coach said he plans to run more option plays, and there is a possibility that a second quarterback could be utilized in those situations.
"If the quarterback isn't very mobile, then maybe you have a backup quarterback who is a good athlete who can run it and you don't have to put one of your wideouts in there," he said.
Last year, Temple rarely had Walker run the ball, trying to keep him healthy. When the Owls did run a Wildcat offense, they used sophomore running back/receiver Isaiah Wright.
Marchi and Centeio are the more mobile of the four quarterbacks.
Patenaude indicated that Temple will likely have a faster-paced offense this year, but nothing that looks like the old frantic scheme of former Eagles coach Chip Kelly.
"I think we are trying to play a little more up-tempo at times," he said. "We're not going to be of the mentality that we will just run up to the line and haphazardly call plays."
He also said that many of the principles of former coordinator Glenn Thomas will stay, especially when it comes to running the ball. "They were great [under Thomas] at running the ball out of two-back [sets], pounding the ball," Patenaude said.
With junior Ryquell Armstead (919 yards rushing, 5.9 average, 14 TDS) leading the way, Temple will continue to emphasize the run.
For now, all the new quarterbacks are getting plenty of reps and learning a new offense.
"Coach P does a great job in the meeting room teaching us the basics of the offense, and he is great at teaching it," Russo said. "Being able to work with him has been great, and he is helping us all learn the new offense."
The learning will continue through spring practice, which ends with the Cherry and White game on April 22. Temple opens its season Sept. 2 at Notre Dame.
"The thing I can tell everybody is these guys are really good," Patenaude said of his four quarterback candidates. "Don't worry about who is going to play quarterback."
Defensive lineman Sharif Finch left practice after suffering an apparent injury, the nature of which the team did not disclose. . . . Offensive lineman Leon Johnson, who started all 14 games last year, is sidelined and has his right arm in a sling. . . . The Owls' third spring practice will be Thursday.