One of the fathers of the players mentioned to me a few years ago that being a Division I football player was a 365-day-a-week job.
As someone who took the Fox Chase Regional rail into Center City for many years past the 10th and Diamond complex, I nodded affirmatively. All of those years, mostly Al Golden ones, I marveled how the players worked out in the elements, be it snow in January, driving rain in April or 90-plus degree heat of July. In none of those months did the Temple Owls have a scheduled game.
I believe grind is the word we’re looking for here.
That same grind did not exist with Bobby Wallace, who lived in Gulph Shores, Alabama for two-plus months in his time at Temple coach. Not coincidentally, with Wallace gone and Golden here, the grind turned into winning and it was all worth it.
Even with a tough taskmaster like Golden, though, he understood that the grind needed to be interrupted by recharging the batteries from time to time. Golden did it on site with things like Youtube singing videos and having the team go over to the Student Pavilion for some full-court basketball. Golden had a Masters in Sports Psychology at Penn State, so he was applying what he learned.
Recently, though, Matt Rhule took it to another level when the Owls went upstate for some camping. How does this help the Owls beat, say, Penn State? Simple. The team that bonds together off the field sticks together on it. From all reports, the Owls bonded nicely on the camping trip and extended the bonding to the numerous Community Service duties they have done since.
The grind is real, but mix in a little bonding with the grind, and that cannot hurt. As always, we will be able to tell for sure by December.
Friday: Temple Wins Internet