Temple president says stadium is next logical step for Owls football

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Temple is having one of the best seasons in program history, and that has helped spark conversations (and debates) about a stadium plan that has lingered for years. In a column in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Temple president Neil Theobald says a stadium is the next logical step for the Temple program and university.

“While we are proud of our team’s success and the national spotlight it provides, discussions about bringing football home to Main Campus suggest that we are further along in this process than we are,” Theobald said in his column. “We are at the beginning of this process — fund-raising to date suggests the idea is financially feasible, but Temple’s Board of Trustees has not even authorized the hiring of an architect. Central to our decision-making will be conversations with the North Philadelphia community. Those conversations are just beginning.”

“We have a dynamic young coach [Matt Rhule] who wants to stay at Temple and build a national program,” Theobald goes on to explain. “A new on-campus football stadium is a logical next step not only for football, but — in my view — for one of the nation’s leading urban research universities, located in one the nation’s great cities.”

With regard to Rhule, the Temple coach is one of the trendy upcoming names in college football coaching. Rhule has done well in continuing the work done by his predecessors on the staff and says all the right things about building the Temple program. However, he will likely receive plenty of phone calls if things continue to go well and you just never know when an opportunity too good to pass up will come along. This is a reality for anumber of Group of Five programs, and Temple knows that after losing its last two coaches to power conference coaching opportunities in the ACC. Theobald’s comments about Rhule aside, the overall point is Temple has commited itself to funding the football program over the past decade more so than ever before, and the work has been evident in facility upgrades around the program. The stadium is a long-time nemesis though.

Temple has taken up residence in Lincoln Financial Field, home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, since the stadium opened its doors in 2003. There was a time when the Eagles wanted to keep Temple out of the stadium and jack the rental fees for the university, but cooler heads have prevailed enough for Temple to feel at home in The Linc. Temple has played the role of extra resident in the Philadelphia sports complex since 1978, when the Owls moved from Temple Stadium to Veterans Stadium, a cookie-cutter multi-purpose stadium that was primarily known as the home of the Eagles and baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies (and the USFL’s Philadelphia Stars) until each major league franchise built brand new sport-specific stadiums. At times, Temple would play home games in historic Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania. Temple Stadium was torn down in the mid-1990s to make way for a church.

Playing games at Lincoln Financial Field has led to attendance concerns whenever Penn State or Notre Dame are not in town. The Owls sold out both home games against the Nittany Lions and Irish this season, but capacity issues are noticeable for other games. Playing in a stadium closer to Temple’s campus without the travel hassle of riding the Broad Street line down to the sports complex and playing in a reduced capacity stadium could work well for Temple, if the financial commitment to the program remains in place as it has been in recent years, since the hiring of Al Golden.

As with any new stadium conversations, Temple faces a number of concerns before an on-campus facility can be constructed. Finances are always a concern, as Theobald acknowledges. Where to put it is another.

Wisconsin TE Luke Benzschawel medically retires after fourth knee surgery

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Wisconsin redshirt senior tight end Luke Benzschawel is calling it a career. The senior announced he is medically retiring from the sport of football following his fourth knee surgery.

I consider myself fortunate to have been part of the Wisconsin football program for the past four years. I have not been as fortunate when it comes to my health,” Benzschawel said in a statement shared on his Twitter account on Monday. “However, after undergoing a fourth procedure on my knee, and despite giving everything I have to get back on the field, my doctors and I have decided that the time has come for me to step away from the game.

Benzschawel played in 15 games during his injury-plagued college career with the Badgers. Benzschawel is the younger brother of former Wisconsin offensive lineman Beau Benzschawel. Benzschawel injured his knee during fall camp last August and did not see the playing field during the 2019 season as a result.

Alabama strength coach Scott Cochran leaving Tide for new on-field coaching role at Georgia

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One of Alabama’s most recognized sideline personalities appears to be heading to another SEC program. Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran, a man whose identity has become as well known as any strength coach can possibly be over the last few years, is reportedly heading to Georgia to take on a brand new role.

There have been many reasons for Alabama’s overall success with Nick Saban as the head coach. Having Cochran on his staff has certainly been one of the key reasons because he has been recognized as one of the nation’s top strength and conditioning coach (he’s won the award for top strength coach twice). And it may not be much of a coincidence that Cochran has been one of the only assistants on the staff for each of Saban’s national championship seasons between Alabama and LSU. His voice and energy seen on the field in warmups and on the sidelines has become a draw for television cameras in more recent years and he has been one of the leaders in the movement to recognize more strength and conditioning coaches during gamedays.

It should come as little surprise Cochran would be an attractive option for Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, a former Alabama defensive coordinator who worked alongside Cochran in Tuscaloosa. What role Cochran will be taking on remains to be confirmed, however, as reports say he will not be Georgia’s strength and conditioning coach. That role is currently held by Scott Sinclair in Athens.

No matter what role Cochran takes at Georgia, and how that ultimately pans out for the Bulldogs, this is a notable loss for Saban and Alabama. Granted, Alabama should be able to find a more-than-qualified strength and conditioning coach to take over the very lucrative (and high-paying) job, so it’s not like this will turn Alabama football into a doormat (much to the dismay of Alabama haters around the SEC and beyond).

Ole Miss QB John Rhys Plumlee, RB Jerrion Early also starting for Rebels’ baseball team

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John Rhys Plumlee and Jerrion Early were two of the best athletes on Ole Miss’s football team in 2019. The pair, both true freshmen, led the club in rushing; Plumlee rushed for 1,023 yards and 12 touchdowns while also throwing for 910 yards and four touchdowns, and Early ran for 722 yards and six scores on nearly seven yards per carry.

But it’s actually an understatement to limit the backfield mates’ athletic ability to just the football team. They’re two of the best athletes at the school, period.

The Rebels’ baseball team, ranked No. 13 in the country by Baseball America, is off to a 6-1 start with both Plumlee and Early contributing.

Early, a 31st round selection by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Jackson Prep in Walnut Grove, Miss., has appeared in five games with three starts at center field. He’s 1-of-8 with four walks, three runs scored and three stolen bases in as many attempts.

Plumlee has appeared in four games to date, starting Saturday’s win over Xavier in left field. He’s struggled at the plate thus far, going 0-for-7 with five strikeouts, though he has scored one run and stole a base in his only attempt.

The Hattiesburg native is not only juggling college classes while playing two sports, but he’s also in the midst of a quarterback battle with fellow rising sophomore Matt Corral while learning a new offense under new head coach Lane Kiffin and offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby.

Both players are giving it a go on the diamond, but their new head coach has made it clear where their bread is buttered.

“We want that to be (Plumlee’s) first priority, because if you’re going to be in something, I just think you go with it, and whatever time he has left he’ll come to us,” Kiffin told OM Spirit.

“I talked about it with baseball…let’s see how it goes,. They’re (Plumlee and Ealy) all in right now on baseball, and then let’ see. If they’re having a significant role, they’ll stay in there. If they’re not, then they’ll probably come back and do more football,” said Kiffin.

Utah WR Terrell Perriman now up to eight felony charges, dismissed from program

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Utah wide receiver Terrell Perriman was already in serious trouble in late January when he was charged with allegedly raping and kidnapping a 17-year-old girl.

But his count of two felony charges has now grown to six, according to KSL, as Salt Lake County prosecutors are now charging him with three counts of rape, two counts of forcible sodomy, burglary, forcible sexual abuse and aggravated kidnapping.

According to KSL, witnesses saw Perriman force his way into a woman’s residence in the fall of 2018, when he allegedly forced her to perform a sex act on him. A month later, the victim says he forced his way into her apartment and again forced her to perform a sex act on him.

Then, in January, Perriman texted a woman to come to his residence, where he forcibly removed her leggings and raped her. He was arrested for that alleged rape two days later.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham announced Friday that Perriman has been dismissed from the team.

“He was suspended indefinitely when we initially became aware of the incident that led to his arrest,” Whittingham said in a statement. “At that time we said we would monitor the situation as it moved through the legal process. Today we were made aware of additional charges that led to our decision to dismiss him.

“Because of the ongoing legal process, and with Terrell no longer a part of our program, we will have no further comments regarding the situation.”

A Florida product, Perriman was a bit player for the Utes. After redshirting in 2018, Perriman appeared in 10 games for the Pac-12 South champions, primarily on special teams. He amassed two catches for nine yards and one rush for five in the Alamo Bowl, his last game as a Ute.