Houston’s Tom Herman says the two toughest lines he will face will be Oklahoma and Temple, not necessarily in that order. Morgyn Seigfried interviews the Wildboyz here.
When it comes to practice, I have the same thought process as Allen Iverson. It’s a necessary evil, but both he and I are not particularly interested in it.
A good story requires an antagonist and a protagonist and, for the next couple of weeks, this one will be without the antagonist. The only big story that comes out of camp the next couple of weeks will be injury-related, so no news is good news. Any great catch or great play is minimized because, as Iverson says, it’s not a game. The antagonist arrives on Sept. 2 in the form of Army and we will have that good guy/bad guy story and away we go.
Still, the way the Owls practice probably is a good indicator of how they will do in the games because attention to detail matters in both settings.
That’s probably why head coach Matt Rhule was good to set the tone on Saturday by demanding more. In his post-practice comments, he mentioned that “last year didn’t exist” and, in reality, it doesn’t. One of the great things about college football is that with a new year comes new expectations and some years those expectations are higher and some are lower. To me, last year wasn’t all that great past the ND game and this year’s team should play with a chip on their shoulders because of it.
Outside of Temple, the expectations for Temple are lower this season than last. They do not see what we see. They see Temple with key losses (Matt Ioannidis, Tyler Matakevich, Robby Anderson, Tavon Young, Kyle Friend) and think Temple will take a step back. We see players more than ready to step up (Greg Webb, Avery Williams, Marshall Ellick and Nate Hairston) in those same positions and think Temple will take a step forward. They don’t see that Temple has one of the best defensive lines in college football (Houston’s Tom Herman’s words, not ours) and the Wildboyz should be making more plays than ever. (One of them, Praise Martin-Oguike was so good a Washington Post mock draft had him going in last year’s sixth round of the NFL draft. They didn’t even realize he was coming back to Temple.)
I will say one thing now. The step backward year will be next year, not this one. This is the step forward year, even if it is only one step from 10 wins to 11. It could be two or three steps, but I’m confident this is the step forward year.
Only time will tell.
In the meanwhile, between that time and the real games is practice and now is the time to get those players in the best positions to make those steps forward.
Friday: Beyond Unfinished Business