BIGEAST.org will be previewing all eight BIG EAST teams leading up to the start of the season. Team previews will be released in inverse order of the preseason media poll - today's preview will be of the Temple Owls, who were picked eighth.
Temple, which competed as a BIG EAST member in football from 1991-2004, returns to the league as a football-playing member in 2012.
Temple has registered more wins in the past three seasons (26) than in any other three-year stretch in program history.
Temple enters the 2012 season with a four-game winning streak.
The Owls have just 10 returning starters from last year — the fewest of any BIG EAST team.
QB Chris Coyer made four starts last season and was the Mid-American Conference leader in pass efficiency (177.4).
The Owls boast one of the nation’s top running back tandems. RB Montel Harris — a transfer from Boston College — is the active career rushing leader among FBS players (3,735 yards). RB Matt Brown, who was a two-time All-MAC selection, rushed for 916 yards and six TDs last year.
The Owls will have to replace four of their five starting offensive linemen from last year. OT Martin Wallace, who started every game, is the lone returning starter on the line.
Temple also will be without its top four receivers from 2011.
Temple ranked third nationally in scoring defense last season (13.9 ppg). The only teams ahead of the Owls were Alabama and LSU — the two participants in the BCS National Championship Game.
The Owls return five defensive starters, but will need to replace four players who earned All-MAC honors a year ago.
DT Levi Brown and DT John Youboty emerged as starters last season and give the Owls an experienced presence on the interior line.
CB Zamel Johnson and CB Maurice Jones are returning veterans in the secondary. Johnson made nine starts last year while Jones appeared in all 13 games, making four starts.
K/P Brandon McManus is Temple’s top returning scorer from last year and has handled placekicking and kickoffs for the past three years. He took over as the punter last season and averaged 45.8 yards per punt.
Matt Brown averaged 25.1 yards on kickoff returns last season and is expected to be an all-purpose threat once again.