“I thought our fullbacks did a great job of setting the tone,” Matt Rhule at the 14:36 time stamp.
Anyone who has ever played the game at the high school level or above knows the feeling of being a little nervous before every game. Butterflies is really the best word I’ve heard for it and, although we did not hear Temple head coach Matt Rhule say that word he implied it at the most recent press conference.
“We’re nervous, but it’s a good nervous,” he said.
Can’t argue with the results because the “good nervous” has meant the school’s first 4-0 start since 1974, a season the team won their first six games. In order for the results to continue, it’s OK to have butterflies before Saturday’s Homecoming Game with Tulane (noon, Lincoln Financial Field).
Once you get that first hit in, though, the butterflies go away and you just play ball and that’s what the Owls have to concentrate on against Tulane. They are a better team than Tulane, and probably a lot closer to the Duke team that hammered Tulane, 37-7, and the Georgia Tech team that abused Tulane, 65-10, than they are to Tulane right now and that should be enough.
Other highlights from the presser:
- The Owls are playing a lot of players now. This is a very good thing because that means there is going to be a more seamless transition to next year because of the way Freddie Booth-Lloyd (who helps replace Matt Ioannidis) and Michael Dogbe (who probably replaces Nate D. Smith) are playing now. Heck, Nick Sharga—next year’s Tyler Matakevich—also had a good extended run.
- Rhule said “the fullbacks set the tone.” Yes, he really said that. We’ve come a long way in a year.
- The Owls are not quite as good as they are going to get. “We’re not quite there just yet,” Rhule said, “but we’re getting there.” Hopefully, where they are now is good enough to beat Tulane and UCF and they “get there” upon arrival in Greenville, N.C., where they put it all together in three weeks and stay “there” for the rest of the season.
- The Owls have only forced two fumbles. This time last year they forced 10. Got to think the second guy in on every tackle is going to be punching that ball like it’s Chuck Wepner’s face.
- The Tulsa game (last year’s Homecoming) was sloppy because the Owls tried to do too much.
- It was good to establish the run. Jahad Thomas, after a minor hiccup against UMass, took some sugar and got rid of the hiccups against Charlotte, going for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
- Sharga is Temple’s first significant two-way player since even before John Rienstra. “Rhino” came in for only a couple of downs on defense against BYU. Sharga played 11 snaps on offense, mostly early, and 14 more on defense, mostly late. “It’s a great story,” Rhule said. Matt is right about that because I wasn’t born when Temple last had a significant two-way player, and that’s a long time ago.
One person Rhule did not mention was Nate L. Smith, a former Archbishop Wood and George Washington player, who scored a touchdown on a blocked punt and probably should have scored one on his interception. The only reason he did not was a teammate missed a very makeable block and allowed the Charlotte running back to make the tackle. Still, Smith showed the kind of running instincts in the open field and nose for the end zone that would make him a great option as a punt returner.
Got to think that missed block came up in one of Phil Snow’s film room sessions this week since the Owls want to maximize their scoring opportunities on defense.