Temple Survives Central Mich and A Quick Note on Concussions

Temple Survives Central Mich and A Quick Note on Concussions

In front of a considerably smaller crowd than present for last week's Mayor's Cup, the Temple University Football team slugged out an ugly victory over the Central Michigan Chippewas Thursday night in OT. Temple's chances would once again rest on the foot of Owl kicker Brandon McManus, who, after having missed two of his first three kicks wide right, was able to compose himself and split the uprights to end the 13-10 affair.

Temple was the beneficiary of some very lucky late breaks, including a Central Michigan fumble on the last play of regulation and an ill-advised force into the end zone on the opening drive of the extra session, the latter resulting in an Owl interception. From there, Coach Golden ordered up a steady diet of Matt Brown. Three consecutive rushes proved barely enough to gain the first down. Two more short yardage gains and third down to center McManus between the hash marks would close it out.

For those who have been knocking the Bernard Pierce for Heisman campaign, last night really only bolstered your argument. Pierce, who began to look like the Bernard of old after some explosive touches and bulldozing broken tackles in the first half, entered the fourth quarter with a touchdown on 10 rushes for 57 yards and 2 catches for 15 yards. Bernard would finish the game with a TD on 10 rushes for 57 yards and 2 catches for 15 yards. Just so we're clear, Bernard Pierce (yeah, this guy) did not touch the football in the fourth quarter or overtime.

I know the decision to bump him below Brown on the depth chart was due to his inability to practice after experiencing some concussion-like symptoms, but one has to wonder exactly what the problem is now. If he's still hurt or feeling any irregularities with his head, he shouldn't be playing. If he is completely healthy, why is the most talented guy on the team sitting on the bench during the fourth quarter and overtime in a meaningful in-conference match up? I can appreciate the argument that Golden is perhaps limiting his touches early in the season to try to keep him healthy late in the year, but that all goes out the window with the game on the line. I don't really get it myself, any guesses? Update: Owlsports.com is reporting that Bernard's disappearance was caused by a hand injury sustained during the third quarter. No word on the severity of the injury has been released. Hopefully, it isn't serious and his absence was largely precautionary.

(Quick digression: As long as I'm asking for feedback, are there any medical personnel who read the site and can explain to me, and anyone who may be curious, the difference between a concussion and "concussion-like symptoms." Sports fans can attest to the fact that any number of athletes are diagnosed each year with only "concussion-like symptoms," rather than an actual concussion after taking solid shots to the head. I clearly am not a doctor and have almost zero medical expertise outside of the application and removal of band-aids, but it just seems odd that an athlete would experience symptoms usually associated with a concussion without having actually been concussed. Anybody have any knowledge on the matter? Is there a doctor in the house?)

Back to the gridiron, Chester Stewart is...well, let me say this off the bat: I like Chester. I want him to succeed, and, having met him, he seems like a nice enough guy. All I'm saying is that if he keeps teasing Temple fans with some solid play under center only to twice fumble the ball at absolutely huge moments of the game, every member of the student section is going to wind up either prematurely gray, or start drinking more than they already do. Big C's first pass of the night came on a bomb; a 56 yard completion to wide out Rod Streater gave the impression that things were going to be clicking for the Temple offense. And though we proved ineffective once inside the red zone for the majority of the night, Chester's throws were noticeably more steady and on point than the week prior, an exciting sign of some quick growth in his release and timing. 

His actual decisions with the football, however, remain back-breaking. Pierce's touchdown right before half gave the Owls a 7-0 lead with little time left. An almost immediate CMU turnover put the Owls well within range for a Brandon McManus FG to end the half. Going into the break up 10-0 after a largely scoreless opening thirty would have really swung the momentum in Temple's favor. Instead, Chester would cough up the ball with just seconds left to send the Owls into the break up 7. Later, with only 35 ticks on the clock, Stewart attempted to break out of the pocket and scramble out of bounds. This might have been less disastrous if he wasn't holding the ball like a loaf of bread (read: L.J. Smith) in the open field. Failing to wrap up the football resulted in a hard hit and strip that might have cost Temple the game if not for a late Chippewa mental cramp of their own. I'm pulling for you, Chester. I am.

Defensively, DT Muhammad Wilkerson had a huge game and seemed to be in on almost every key tackle. The unit as a whole really deserves recognition on its performance. Bending but not breaking, the Owl D bears ultimate responsibility for the victory. At least we're 2-0, right?

Nick Menta is a TU Senior and the Sports Director of WHIP Temple University Student Run Radio.

Photo by Jazmyne Anderson

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

The Phillies are a lifeless team right now.

For a while the starting pitching was the biggest issue, then it was the bullpen, now it's the offense. The Phils have hit .224 since May 12, which was when their 2-7 road trip began. 

Their .268 on-base percentage over that span is worst in the majors and their .613 OPS is better than only the Mariners.

Players up and down the lineup are slumping. Odubel Herrera has hit .207 with a .246 OBP since the ninth game of the season. Michael Saunders hasn't given them much at any point. Maikel Franco had an eight-game hit streak snapped Monday, but even still is hitting .221 with a .281 on-base percentage. 

At this point, why not bring up Roman Quinn and play him every day? It makes too much sense right now.

Daniel Nava went on the 10-day DL Monday with a hamstring strain suffered Friday in Pittsburgh. It doesn't seem to be a serious injury, but why not use the open space as an excuse to bring Quinn up for at least a few days and see what he's got?

Quinn could infuse some energy and life to the top of a sputtering lineup. Bat him second, play him in the corner outfield and see what happens. At the very least, he'd be a defensive upgrade over Saunders. At the most, Quinn's hunger to stick in the majors could result in a hot streak that sparks the top of the order the way Herrera does when he's hot.

Quinn is hitting lately at Triple A, batting .333 with a .424 OBP over his last 15 games. He showed last September that he can be an offensive catalyst with his ability to beat out infield singles, bunt for hits and spray the ball. Yes, he strikes out too much for a leadoff-type hitter, but it's just hard to see the downside of a call-up right now.

The argument against bringing Quinn up now is that it's too early to sour on Saunders, a player the Phillies signed in hopes of trading at some point. But think about how much Saunders would have to do to have worthwhile trade value. Yeah, you could flip him somewhere for a negligible return or some salary relief, but he'd have to be extremely productive for at least a month to get a team interested in trading a minor-leaguer of any value for him.

Pete Mackanin has tried many things to spark the Phils' lineup, moving Herrera and Franco down, sitting guys, challenging guys. The best solution, perhaps the only solution right now, might be a move made over his head to promote the Phils' speedy, switch-hitting outfielder who has a future with them so long as he stays on the field, which he has this season.

As for Rhys Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro, who have also hit very well at Triple A, they just happen to play the same positions as Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp, who have been the Phillies' most reliable bats the last few weeks.

Jason Kelce ignoring trade rumors as he tries to work on himself

Jason Kelce ignoring trade rumors as he tries to work on himself

Jason Kelce is aware of the rumors and reports that have surrounded his name this offseason. 

As much as he might try to avoid them, the Eagles' veteran center does not, presumably, live under a rock. So he's heard for months about the possibility of his long run with the Eagles coming to a close. 

After all, the Eagles have stockpiled an abundance of interior offensive linemen who can play center, and trading Kelce would save the team $3.8 million in cap space. 

So it all makes sense, but Kelce is trying to keep it out of his mind. 

"I think you'll drive yourself crazy if you're reading too much into what's going on," he said on Tuesday as the Eagles kicked off their voluntary OTAs. "My whole offseason has just kind of been really the only thing I can control is my game and the way I play and what I've been doing. So I've just really tried to hit the weight room, work on technique, work on things to try to get my game back to where it used to be."

How is he able to put it out of his mind? 

"Because worrying about it doesn't do any good," he answered.

While the Eagles have Isaac Seumalo and Stefen Wisniewski ready to play center if necessary, head coach Doug Pederson said on Tuesday that Kelce is still "the guy." 

Kelce, 29, was named to his second career Pro Bowl team last season, which might be a surprise to those who watched the Eagles throughout the year. Kelce wasn't as bad as some people think, but he also probably wasn't a Pro Bowl-caliber player. 

He got off to a very slow start in 2016 but did seem to get better as the season went on.  

"I feel at times last year, there were times I was dominant and games where I didn't really do a great job," he said. "You go back and watch film and try to make the corrections, try to make sure that moving forward I'm the same player I was in the past."

Kelce attributed many of his problems early last season to lousy technique. He's been trying extra hard to work on that part of his game as well as in the weight room. 

Often characterized as undersized, he said weighed 295 pounds on Tuesday morning. That's also his listed weight on the Eagles' website. 

All last season, Kelce said he played in the 290s, which was heavier than he had been in a long time. His goal this offseason is to make it up to 300 pounds by training camp, and then he hopes to keep the weight on. 

"I would certainly think so," he said. "As you get older, it gets a little bit easier to put on the weight and hold it on. I think everybody kind of finds that out."

Perhaps the biggest reason for the Eagles to keep Kelce around this season is the development of quarterback Carson Wentz in his second year. Kelce, as his center, might be integral to Wentz's growth. Although Kelce said he doesn't think of it like that when asked if that relationship gives him an advantage over others.  

Kelce has been with the Eagles since 2011 when he was a sixth-round pick out of Cincinnati. He's played and started 78 games in six seasons. 

He admitted last season he needed to play better or he knew he would become expendable (see story). So the rumors and reports this season likely aren't a shock to him. 

He's still not going to pay attention to them. 

"The reality is, we always have guys coming in, coming out," he said. "Now we happen to have a lot of really good depth at interior line. But like I said, it doesn't do me any good worrying about the what-ifs. All I can control is what I can control and that's how I go out and play, how I go out and prepare and how I try to get back to the player I've been in the past."