The spring football scrimmage is truly a scrimmage. The Cherry and White teams were mixed and matched as this is a game played for fun rather than competition. The spring drills showed what talent and skills of the players to Coach Steve Addazio. This was an opportunity to play many people in different situations, and as said just give the team a chance to enjoy playing football.
“I think the kids had fun out there today and enjoyed themselves,” said Addazio. “Obviously we went out there and played it pretty close to the vest, a little vanilla. We just played it straight up. I wanted them to go out and have fun, compete a little bit. The work we thought needed to be done was done Friday. This was a chance to have a good time and be amongst family and friends. I thought they did a great job with it. It was fun to watch them compete.”
The team did compete in front of a crowd that filled the sidelines. The team unveiled their new helmets for the upcoming season that will have the Temple logo “T” on the side, replacing the spelled out “Temple” from previous years.
As for the game, this year featured some offense. The last two Cherry and White games were 3 – 0 and 10 – 7. In this game the score was White 27 Cherry 26 as the team going into the Cherry end zone as denied on a two-point conversion. The Cherry team and White teams evolved as the game progressed. Quarterbacks Mike Gerardi and Chester Stewart piloted each squad. Gerardi piloted his offense to 4 touchdowns. Gerardi threw 2 touchdown passes; one to Tight End Alex Jackson and an 88 yard catch and run by Evan Rodriguez highlighted by a crunching block thrown by Tight End Cody Booth. Stewart was at quarterback for 4 scoring drives highlighted by a 63 yard touchdown pass to Michael Doty. Connor Reilly had a touchdown pass of 21 yards to Running Back Myron Myles.
“Chester (Stewart) had a great spring,” said Addazio. “He had a great day as did Gerardi and Reilly. I’m excited about the quarterbacks. I think they’ve come a long way. I think they showed that they have the ability to make some plays.”
“I thought I did all right,” said Stewart. “I made a few mistakes, but I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish which was no turnovers and put some points on the board.”
“As a unit, we played well on offense,” said Gerardi. “We moved the ball. We were able to run the ball which opens up the passing game. It seems like the out play-actions were working really well, just short, little passes. Guys were having great yards after the catch.”
Running Back Myron Miles showed ability as he crossed the goal line four times. Bernard Pierce played one down. Pierce had a good spring practice, and Addazio wanted to see Myles and Running Back Ahkeem Smith get some snaps.
The game revealed that Temple has talented tight ends that will be utilized in the fall. Jackson and Rodriguez scored and caught passes, Balsavage and Booth contributed. The expectations are to see the tight ends as the staple of the Temple offense.
“They’re explosive and I’m excited about that,” said Addazio. “Alex Jackson had a great spring. He was the most improved out there this spring. He’s dynamic, he’s a playmaker. We have a real solid group of tight ends. We will use every one of them.”
Defensively, Addazio did not show much as his key defensive players, especially Linebacker Adrian Robinson, exhibited their skills during practices.
“I like where our defense is headed,” said Addazio. “I wouldn’t let them do anything today. I just wanted to be vanilla, but they‘ve had a heck of a spring. They are making a heck of a transition with a new scheme and a new concept. So it’s good.”
The question is what did the Coach think of the performance?
“I thought it was well run and pretty clean,” said Addazio. I was happy with the execution. My evaluation started on day one (of spring drills) until Friday. A few points had to be made, and I made them in the re (the locker room). There are a few management points that had to be pointed out, how we are going to conduct our business, and how we are going to do things, but I was pleased.”
The Cherry and White Spring Game concluded with the game awards. Alex Jackson won the Offensive Most Improved Player Award.
“It feels great,” said Jackson. “I didn’t expect to win it, but when they called my name, I was very happy. I’ve worked hard this spring to improve my game and show what I can do.”
Four more awards were presented.
Defensive Most Improved Player was to Defensive End Morkeith Brown.
Special Teams Most Improved Player was awarded to Running Back Ahkeem Smith.
Mark Bresani Award for Spirit – presented to the player that shows the most spirit and enthusiasm towards practice and participation in the Temple Football program, went to Linebacker Tahir Whitehead.
Gavin White Local 215 Award – Presented to the best or most improved non-scholarship player for the spring practice period, to Defensive Back Brett Pierce.
Temple opens their football season on September 1 against Villanova in the annual Mayor’s Cup game. Penn State will make a visit on September 17.
Written By: Glenn Papazian