TEMPLE, Texas — Despite returning a stacked roster from one of its best teams in recent history, the Temple Wildcats remain focused on one goal: "Win the Day."
"All that's a pipe dream," Wildcat Head Coach Scott Stewart said when asked about his team's playoff aspirations. "So, yes, those goals are out there, but the number one goal is just win the day."
Wildcat practices have taken another step forward this offseason, with several potential Division I athletes pushing each other in drills, Stewart said.
Temple returns 13 starters from their 2020 team, which won the program's first District Championship and playoff game since making the jump to Class 6A.
Among them is four-star safety and wide receiver Mikal Harrison-Pilot. Harrison-Pilot, a junior, has already received offers from schools like Baylor, Arkansas and Oregon.
He is joined by senior running back Samari Howard, who has become a leader on the Wildcat offense. Howard ran for over 1200 yards in 2020.
"There's no teacher like experience," Stewart said. "I feel really good about our offensive skill. We have every offensive skill kid back, minus the quarterback, which obviously is a tough position to fill every year, but we've done it and we've done it at a decent level."
Stewart said he has started eight different quarterbacks in eight years as Temple's Head Coach. Still, with so many weapons on the outside, it likely will not be difficult for a new quarterback to find his feet in the Temple offense.
"We bring a lot of speed offensively and defensively too," Howard said. "We've got a lot of short guys that have strong guy mentalities so it's like little guys are gonna go up against big guys easily."
As good as the offense could be, Temple's defense may be poised for even more success.
The Wildcats return seven starters on that side of the ball, including several who are three-year starters.
Temple enters the season ranked No. 35 in the state. They open the season against reigning state champion Austin Westlake.