Temple University quarterback Chester Stewart and defensive back Kee-ayre Griffin have been suspended for Thursday night's Mayor's Cup after violating team rules. The specific nature of the infractions has not been released.
In Stewart's case, we were tipped off that suspension was probable following the team's Media Day last week. Though no one asked about it at the time and Stewart spoke as if he was still in the race, Owlscoop.com editor John Di Carlo had been reporting on his site's message boards that the senior quarterback was likely ineligible for Week 1. During his weekly media luncheon earlier today, head coach Steve Addazio both confirmed the report and added Griffin's name to the list.
As Stewart has been locked in a three-way battle for the starter's job, it's tough to say what impact, if any, the suspension will have on the team. Though we know Chester's reps with the first team offense have grown fewer and fewer over the past two weeks, it remains unclear as to the motivation for that decreased involvement.
While its possible that his play simply lagged behind that of teammates Mike Gerardi and Chris Coyer, it may also be the case that the decision to suspend was reached weeks ago, forcing Addazio to take a good look at his remaining options regardless of Chester's progression. Either way, it's just unfortunate to have Stewart eliminated from the Week 1 running
due to a violation of team rules, and not as a result of his performance
on the field.
Griffin's absence, on the hand, figures to prove a more tangible cost; the senior corner started 10 games for the Owls last season, finishing the year with 21 tackles, an interception and 3 passes defended.
We'll be back later this week with a more detailed preview of Thursday night's Mayor's Cup, and will continue to update you on the Temple quarterback competition as warranted. 'Til then.