Each Wednesday leading up to the football season, BIGEAST.org will profile two players from the conference who will look to make an impact in 2012. This week, players from USF and Temple are represented. Let us know what you think on Twitter at @bigeastfb, hashtag #wtww.
As Temple begins its first year in the BIG EAST since 2004, head coach Steve Adazzio will look to quarterback Chris Coyer to help lead a young team. The Owls return just 10 starters - the fewest of any BIG EAST team - from a team that went 9-4 last year.
The left-handed, dual-threat quarterback took over the reins late last season with the Owls on a two-game losing streak. In his four starts, Coyer jumpstarted the offense, completing 60-percent of his passes for six touchdowns and gained 562 yards on the ground with three rushing touchdowns.
Coyer capped this stretch with an offensive MVP performance in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl – the program’s first bowl win in 32 years.
His 177.4 passing efficiency rating was best in the MAC, but it’s his ability to run fits well with Adazzio’s scheme.
“I’m a dual-threat guy,” said Coyer at BIG EAST Media Day. “That’s the kind of offense Coach Adazzio has grown accustomed to running down at Florida and now with us.”
But Coyer will not be asked to do it all himself. Although the Owls lose four starters on their offensive line and four top receivers, senior Matt Brown and Boston College transfer Montel Harris should comprise one of the league’s most prolific running back tandems.
“We’re going to run the football,” said Addazio at Media Day. “And we’re going to have an attitude about it.”
As Temple resumes BIG EAST play, the Owls are riding one of the program’s best stretches, having played in bowl games three of the last four seasons.
“We can’t wait for the opportunity and the challenge that awaits us (in the BIG EAST),” said Coyer.
The Owls will open the 2012 season at home against crosstown rival Villanova Aug. 31 in the teams' annual Mayor's Cup matchup. Temple’s first BIG EAST contest will be Oct. 6, when the Owls host USF.