Takeaways from Matt Rhule Press Conference

While winning has been, is and will always remain the No. 1 focus of any football program, we often forget the contributions of individuals to the program as a whole and that’s why Matt Rhule’s discussion of Ed Foley was the highlight of his most recent press conference.

There were just a handful of people who held Temple football together during some difficult times—Rhule himself being one in the transition to Steve Addazio—and Foley and Chuck Heater also played a big-time role in holding the program together just before the handoff to Rhule.

You need guys like that and that’s why recognizing Foley with the game ball on Saturday, two days after his father passed away, was a nice gesture. Also interesting was the fact that the entire Boston College football staff, led by Addazio, went to the funeral. Best wishes to coach Foley.

Other highlights from the press conference:

Those four fingers mean something at Temple. Often you see teams holding up the No. 4 at the start of the fourth quarter. Usually, it’s a meaningless gesture because everyone does it. Not at Temple because  it’s backed up by some pretty solid play in the fourth quarter this season. Must be a product of the conditioning program.

P.J. Not Happy. Even though he has a 64 percent completion rate and double the touchdowns to interceptions, P.J. Walker is unhappy with his QB play so far. That demonstrates the kind of standard P.J. wants to set at the position. We all know what P.J. can do. We have enough body of work. Still think he’s going to exceed his 20 TD passes of last year.

Derrick Thomas Could be the Breakout WR. According to Rhule, Thomas is close to making some explosive plays in the passing game. If he does, we can finally say, “Robbie Who?” Let’s hope he does. Here’s a preview of what is coming soon to a field near you (don’t worry about the stats, Bishop Maginn rarely passes the ball):

Sam Benjamin Punt Block Specialist. Looks like Benjamin has a knack to block punts, both in practice and in games. Temple hasn’t had one of those guys in a long, long time (a LB named Bruce Gordon also had that knack but that might have been 25 years ago). Now if we can only convince 7-foot basketball player Devonte Watson (he of the 97-inch wingspan and 41-inch vertical leap) to be the FG-block specialist, no one would ever be able to get a kick off against Temple.

Not Getting Over Navy. “And won’t for a long, long time,” Rhule said. That’s what I like to hear, a coach who stews over a loss as much (or more) than I do and I stew over every loss. Hopefully, coach Rhule talks to coach Wayne Hardin soon because he told both my and my friend, Fizzy Weinraub, an interesting and foolproof method to stop Navy’s triple option on Saturday.

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13 thoughts on “Takeaways from Matt Rhule Press Conference

  1. Try the late seventies for Bruce Gordon.

    • thanks… could not put my finger on whether he was a bruce or wayne player (bruce wayne?) … proves that time really does fly too fast. remember him going in at pitt, blocking a punt, and recovering it in the end zone. gosh, if benjamin gives us that kind of weapon, we could steal a couple of more special teams’ touchdowns and those are hard to come by.

  2. Turnovers are one area where the coaches deserve credit. Last season I think they nearly doubled their turnover numbers in the last game.

    • Mike already refused to give credit to Rhule or the coaching staff for the T/O ratio…even though Finch has stated that turnovers were a constant emphasis during the off-season and during practice. Pleanantly surprised you giving him credit were credit is due.

  3. Slightly off topic but I really wish they could have tried a couple longer field goal attempts during of those blowout wins. At some point down the line this team is going to face a key fourth down late in a game at, say, the opponents 25 yard line. It would be nice for the staff to have an idea of how much confidence they should have in the kicking game before making those decisions.

  4. special teams play, turnover ratio, and the number of penaltities are key indicators of well coached teams.., so far this Temple team has done well in two out of three.., Navy game exposed key weakness on both the defensive and offensive line – we are not physical at the point of attack. the O-line can pass block, but can’t move people off the line of scrimmage, and the D-line can pass rush and chase you down but can’t hold the line of scrimmage.., expect UConn to move us off the ball.., IMHO don’t think this team will run the ball well, this offense must have more explosive plays, and PJ has stop turning the ball over

    • it won’t run the ball well with this offense. can’t expect to with Harper as the starting tailback. Just doesn’t have the tailback speed to get to the edges. Need to try 2 backs, Harper as the fullback and gilmore or thomas as the tailback. Running game would work a whole lot better with that speed behind Harper’s blocking ability. There are reasons we are ranked 95th nationally in total offense and that’s the biggest one. A running game opens up play-action windows for P.J. to throw into. Without a running game, you’ve got no passing game.

  5. Even with PJ’s solid stats, he needs to stop forcing things and let what comes to him become a more natural approach. Its good he’s recognizing where he needs to improve, but fewer thrown interceptions is a must – they turn games around and can make all the difference in close games. Blocked punts – remembering back to 1967, Mike Stromberg blocked a punt, picked it up and ran it in for a TD. He was a defensive end at Temple, added 15 pounds that off-season and played linebacker for the Jets. He was also a design major at Tyler School of Art when I was there. Pretty cool. The UConn game will tell a lot of where this team and coaching stands and set the tone for the rest of the season. Its a real important game. Go Owls.

  6. Way too much angst on this board. Very hard to find out what kind of offense we have since Vanderbilt and DSU were complete blowouts with us getting turnovers, great special teams play and the defense scoring TDs. Offense didn’t have to do too much for us to cruise to victory. The Navy game was another story. The offensive line did not do a great job of run blocking in the Navy game. You can debate if the play calling was any good as well. The offense is a work in progress and I think it will be better this week, however, without the threat of PJ (ankle) keeping the ball on the read option I think our chances of having success with the run will continue to be one dimensional. I don’t think we have to do a lot on offense to win at Conn. but we must absolutely keep turnovers to a minimum. UConn has not shown an ability to move the ball and score points. Defense needs to be stout against the run. If D is stout against the run and we don’t commit a plethoria of turnovers, I like our chances of victory.

    • Bingo!! I made this exact same point in the precious post regarding the offense. We have only used our 1st string the whole game only once this year and @Vandy and vs. DSU we were just trying to use up clock much of the game. We barely had the ball against DSU due to all the TOs and special teams/defensive TDs. We put up almost 400 yards against Navy in the one game that our offense actually tried the entire game. Not great numbers, but certainly not alarming. I’ll take 40 PPG all day long.

  7. No ifs, ands or buts so there won’t be any need for woulda, coulda, shouldas! Just win the damn game. I’m excited about watching it.

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