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  • Rock Hoffman

FOOTBALLSTORIES COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK


Former Temple standout Haason Reddick - who just signed with the Eagles - spoke to the Temple football team recently at the request of new head coach Stan Drayton. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles.

As new Temple head coach Stan Drayton leads the Owls through spring practice one of the things he's attempting to do is re-establish the culture that saw Temple play in seven bowl games in 11 seasons and win the 2016 American Athletic Conference championship.


To do so, he’s inviting some of the players who accomplished those feats - such as new Eagle Haason Reddick, a member of that 2016 championship team, and a first-round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2017 – to speak to the current Owls.


“When a guy like that stands in front of the team and talks," said Drayton before a recent practice, "they're on the edge of their seats. They're trying to grab on every single thing, because they know that guy can relate to exactly what they're going through right now.


“When he starts talking about the standard and the culture that he lived through, it helped him develop, to get him to the place where he is today. They all want to be where he is. So, they're giving him full attention, full respect. He's surrounded by those players. They just want to hear, and they want to feel the love that he's putting out, and they want to see what it is to be Temple TUFF. Our kids, they're wanting to be Temple TUFF. They want to represent what this university represents. So, when a person like that stands in front of them, they're trying to grab on to every word.”

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Charlie Volker went from playing running back for Princeton to representing the United State as an Olympian.

During the pandemic, a lot was said about how it would impact the opportunities for college players to move to the NFL, especially for those from smaller schools. Charlie Volker was one of those college football players who turned lemons into lemonade and became an Olympian.


Volker, a star running back for Princeton from 2015 to 2018, is the seventh leading rusher in school history and was first-team All-Ivy his senior season. He also competed on the Tigers’ track team.


Volker made the US Olympic Bobsled team and the four-man crew he was part of finished 10th in the recently completed 2022 Winter Games in Beijing while his two-man team was 27th.


“I was working out at the outset of COVID,” he said in a school release. "Then the minicamps were canceled, and those are huge for guys like me. One of the trainers there had been a bobsledder, though, and he said to me 'you know, you're the right type of athlete for the sport.'"


Volker isn’t the first former running back to become a bobsledder, 30 years ago in France, Herschel Walker was a member of the US team (Walker and driver Brian Shimer were seventh in the two-man competition).


“Bobsled,” Volker added, “is track for the first 50 meters and football for the rest. The key is to push the lights out of the sled and then load cleanly. How you jump in the sled has to be practiced over and over. How low you get and how locked in you can be, and how little you can get thrown around.”

“Knowing Charlie, he loves competing,” said Princeton head football coach Bob Surace. “He’s someone who wouldn’t be put off by doing something different. We knew he had rare measurables (6-0, 220), with his size and speed. He's such a competitor and so detail-oriented that he just chipped away at any area he wasn't good it until he could do it at the highest level he could.”

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There was a noteworthy participant at Temple's pro day, Anthony Russo, the former Owls quarterback was among those showcasing their skills for NFL scouts. Russo is an Archbishop Wood grad, who started 26 games between 2017-20 for Temple before moving on the Michigan State as a graduate transfer.


He lost a tight battle for the starting job and saw limited action for the Spartans, completing seven of nine passes in two appearances for a team that finished 11-2. He displayed his abilities for pro scouts in the Tropical Bowl, a college all-star game, and earned the game MVP award.


After speaking briefly with Drayton, Russo said he likes what he sees from the Owls' new mentor.


“Coach Drayton and his staff seem like a great fit for this place," he said while meeting with the media following his pro-day workout. "I'm excited for what they're going to do for this program."

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Went from playing and coaching at Rowan University to a job coaching with the Chicago Bears.

Justin Hinds was a first-team All-NJAC defensive lineman in his junior and senior seasons for Rowan. After graduating in 2009, he joined the Profs coaching staff as the assistant defensive line coach. Recently, he was named to the same role with the Chicago Bears on the staff of new head coach Matt Eberflus. After coaching for a season at Rowan, Hinds climbed the coaching ladder making six different collegiate stops before joining the Bears.


“From his first day on campus, you knew he was special. His personality and his work ethic was second to none. He was a leader on and off the field," said Profs' offensive coordinator Pat Lancetta. "Being able to watch him grow from a player to a coach was very gratifying. You just knew that he was going to be successful in the coaching ranks, and I truly believed he was destined for the NFL." *


Email Rock Hoffman at rock@footballstories.com



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