WILDWOOD — Ryquell Armstead, Kyle Dobbins and their Temple University football teammates came to the Jersey Shore on Saturday.
First, the Owls had a live practice in the morning at Lower Cape May Regional High School. The practice was closed to the public.
In the early afternoon, the team and coaches gave away posters and signed autographs for the fans at Morey’s Piers amusement park in Wildwood, and gave interviews.
Armstead, a senior running back and a 2014 Millville High School graduate, is one of Temple’s leaders. Dobbins, a freshman running back and a resident of Sicklerville in Winslow Township, played three years for St. Augustine Prep before graduating from Timber Creek.
Temple is an NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision program.
Armstead was second on the Temple team in rushing yards last year with 604, and his five rushing touchdowns gave him 21 for his career, tied for sixth all-time in program history.
“Being here definitely brought back (being in the Cape-Atlantic League),” said Armstead, 21. “Today’s scrimmage was exciting and the line blocked really well. The backs are all doing well. They’re hitting the holes and running hard. Our goal is to go 1-0 each week. The team is coming together and we want to excel throughout the year.”
“I’m very familiar with this location. I came here (to Wildwood) for a family outing in the spring.”
Dobbins gained 4,804 yards of total offense and scored 57 touchdowns in his high school career.
“The scrimmage went well and the line did well for me,” said Dobbins, 18. “It’s pretty exciting. I’m working on my craft and enjoying the process.”
Temple head coach Geoff Collins talked a lot about the upcoming season. The Owls (7-6) won five of their last six games in 2017, became bowl-eligible and beat Florida International 28-3 on Dec. 21 in the Gasparilla Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida. Armstead scored on a 5-yard run.
“Ryquell did a great job in 2017 even though he had some problems with injuries,” Collins said. “He’s one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever had the privilege of coaching and he’s one of the top running backs in the country.
“In three weeks (Sept. 1), we play Villanova at the Linc (Lincoln Financial Field), so coming to the beach to get away is fun and will help (with team) bonding. It helps that Philadelphia is located where you can get to the shore easily. I’m actually from Atlanta, but my wife is from Delaware and has relatives who live near here.”
Temple’s quarterback is Frank Nutile, who threw for 1,600 yards and 12 TDs last year in part-time duty. Nutile posed for a photo with offensive linemen Darian Bryant, Aaron Ruff and Matt Hennessy, a tackle, guard and center, respectively.
“I used to come to Atlantic City and Wildwood,” Bryant said. “I love the beach and the water, and I’m a big guy (listed at 6-foot-5, 320 pounds) so I love funnel cake.”
Temple, a member of the American Athletic Conference, will also play home games at the Linc against Buffalo (Sept. 8), Tulsa (Sept. 20), East Carolina (Oct. 6), Cincinnati (Oct. 20) and the University of South Florida (Nov. 17). The Owls play road games at Maryland (Sept. 15), Boston College (Sept. 29), Navy (Oct. 13), University of Central Florida (Nov. 1), Houston (Nov. 10) and Connecticut (Nov. 24).