Depth was the theme of the day Tuesday as Temple held its fourth practice of preseason and the first open to the media.
According to NCAA rules, teams must go two days practicing in T-shirts and two more days in shells before they can go with full pads. The first full-pad practice will be Wednesday.
The Owls actually held two practices Tuesday, one for most of the more experienced players in the morning and another for mainly the younger players in the afternoon.
Temple's second-year coach, Geoff Collins, does not put out a depth chart. He just lists players as above the line or below the line and those above are the ones who will be considered for action each week.
"We went through our entire roster [Monday] and set what we think are above the line for the first game and it was exciting to see the number of guys projected to be above the line when we take the field against Villanova," Collins said after the morning practice, referring to the Sept. 1 opener at Lincoln Financial Field.
The key will be to maintain that depth once the hitting starts.
"There were times last year and even last preseason where we didn't have the depth and couldn't practice the way we wanted to practice," Collins said. "We couldn't get quality, good reps."
He said it also altered how the team played in games. The secondary was especially thin. Collins said he was limited in using nickel (five defensive backs) and dime (six defensive backs) alignments.
At least for now, with 29 new recruits and two graduate transfers, Collins and his staff feel they will have much more flexibility.
"The exciting thing is there is really good depth on the roster and there are really good battles to be above the line at every position," he said.
Collins isn't big on discussing injuries but says that three veterans coming off injuries have been working on the side and showing progress. The three are redshirt junior linebacker Chapelle Russell, safety Jyquis Thomas and and wide receiver Brodrick Yancy. The latter two are graduate students.
Russell suffered his second ACL injury before the 10th game of the season last year. He was leading Temple with 70 tackles at the time. Thomas and Yancy were each limited to seven games with unspecified injuries.
Collins said neither of the players has participated in full 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 drills. They are doing individual work and some group work.
Collins added that the coaches have to limit the players because all three want to do more work. He said the goal for all three is to be able to start the season, although two weeks ago, he said Russell might not be ready by the opener.
Collins said that junior defensive end Nick Madourie won't play this season because of an unspecified injury.