Why The Names Ritrovato and Wilson Are Important


Nick Sharga had Jahad Thomas’ back all season.

Judging from Temple opponents’ websites—and one Rutgers’ one—the conventional wisdom acceptable as gospel elsewhere is that “Temple has lost everyone and will return to being bad” in the 2016 season.

The pack of so-and-so fans nods their collective heads as if the OP has some inside knowledge of Temple football.

Those of us who are a little closer to the program, purchase season tickets, watch every minute of every game know better. Part of that more plausible narrative is that, while the Owls lose a great linebacker like Tyler Matakevich, they have three potential very-good-to-next-level linebackers returning in single-digit players Avery Williams (2), Nick Sharga (4) and Stephaun Marshall (6).

Think about that for a minute. Temple handed out nine single-digit numbers as voted by  their teammates as the nine toughest guys in the 105-man program and three of those guys are not only returning, but also play the same position—linebacker. (We know Jahad Thomas and Sean Chandler also are among the returning single-digit players, too.)

Yes, Temple will miss Tyler but nowhere near as much as the Temple haters think.

That’s why it is important, although not absolutely vital, that the “Unsung Hero” of last year’s team, Sharga, gets to move to his primary position, which is linebacker. To do that, Temple will be looking closely at two names who can play fullback, Rob Ritrovato and Taiyir Wilson.

The interesting thing about Ritrovato was that the staff had confidence enough to play the 6-0, 228-pounder against Penn State. That’s when he suffered a season-ending injury. The other player listed as a fullback is Wilson, a mid-year enrollee from Fork Union (Va.), who is 6-2, 245.  He played fullback at Perkiomen Valley prior to that.

If either of them show they can lead block for tailbacks like Sharga did, the Owls will have the luxury of moving Sharga over to the other side of the ball where he obviously has a nose for it.

9 thoughts on “Why The Names Ritrovato and Wilson Are Important

  1. Mike, the doubters very much underestimate Coach Rhule and his staff, both in their ability to recruit and in their developing and preparing the talent they bring in to compete on a very high level. This is Coach’s “process,” and we will get better and tougher as we go along. I expect a more explosive offense and a very tough defense. My concern is in our losing starting safeties, and Tayvon Young. We have talented guys to replace them, but they lack experience. Still, I look for good things from them; I really think we will have at least as good a record as last year, and the qb position is well stocked for when PJ is gone. As predicted, Rhule will be bringing in quite a number of offensive and defensive linemen in 2017 and has started that already and can then even out the recruiting process. Our future is bright. Look out, here come the Owls!  Rabbi Dick White (Salisrab) 

  2. Thanks, Mr. White. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the play of Kareem Ali Jr. as Young’s replacement and the safeties, Delvon Randall and Nate L. Smith. I hope Anthony Davis has recovered from his injury in the 9/2014 Vandy game. Should be a lot of things to look for in the spring game that is only a little over a month away.

    • insightful article, thanks for sharing,,

      the state gave UCONN $95M for their stadium? quite a deal if true…, still a stretch to fathom the Big 12 would pick UCONN over Temple.., Clemson and FSU wanted Louisville over UCONN in the ACC.., really?

      Are any Big 12 schools lobbying for Temple? What Big 12 school would vote against Temple?

      A bowl win and Top 25 finish last year would have padded the resume for this summer of decision..,

      still upset about our preparation and performance in Boca……, you play to win the game…, extremely shortsighted approach in Florida..,

      MR decided the kids deserved a reward more than the University needed to win…, as good as MR has been losing to Toledo has the potential to haunt Temple for the next 15 years if the Big 12 picks other AAC schools over Temple.., still upset

      • I would hope we are working behind the scenes with the P5. The fact that the AAC has a terrible bowl situation (tie-ins with the MAC and Sun Belt and not the P5) is just one of many red flags on this conference. The fact that a conference champion had to sit on pins and needles in hoops to get a bid is another. The entire master plan of the athletic department has to be P5-driven. Losing to Toledo did not help and may have set us back a year or two.

  3. There is really nothing to say. The train left the station and these schools weren’t on it. The wait at the station may be interminable. I think TU and the rest of the schools on the outside have to hope for another round of expansion. Can see the SEC taking FSU and Clemson because they are really SEC teams in ACC clothing. If that happens, Tu with its tv market is in a very good position one even better than UConn because of BC’s position against UConn. Just as Nova kept TU out as a full member of the Big East, BC will keep UConn out so they have a recruiting edge in NE..

  4. Not sure if you hear one of the post practice interviews with Matt Rhule but he stated Sharga has been moved to full time Fullback and that is where his future will be. Just figured I’d give you the heads up and see how you think this will impact the team vs what you wrote above

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