When Matt Rhule takes the call at the AAC teleconference today, maybe someone will ask him a question about the health of his team and how the week off has benefited the Owls.
With South Florida beating Memphis on Saturday night, the easy answer to how the East will be won is for the Owls to win out, one game, one quarter and even one play at a time. The best thing that could have happened in the off week was for the Owls to be revitalized by the rest.
The perfect answer for Rhule would be that everyone is fine and ready to go for Tulane (3:30 Saturday, Channel 17).
The worst answer would be that nothing has changed and the Owls are as banged up as they were last week.
The most likely answer, though, is somewhere in between.
Marshall Ellick, the promising wide receiver who would have, among other things, caught a touchdown against Penn State (had it not been for a penalty), has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. There has been radio silence on Ellick for a couple of weeks, but it was never seen as an injury that would keep him out for the season so maybe the week off has helped him as well. Ellick’s loss has not been felt because this really has been the deepest the Owls have been at wide receiver and Jahad Thomas has been, as we guessed here in the offseason, very effective when used as a slot receiver.
There have been a number of other Owls who have played through bumps and bruises. Sean Chandler was thought to be out for the entire year with a knee injury, but came back and seems to be playing at a high level. Too many to mention, but there is no doubt that if most of them were OK to get on the field the last couple of weeks, they will tough it out for the final two weeks.
It will be nice to know, though, how the week has impacted those bumps and bruises and we should find that out no later than today.
Wednesday: So You Are Saying There’s A Chance?
Friday: Tulane Preview
Sunday: Game Analysis