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.