We’re Talkin’ Practice

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.


Washington Post’s Neil Greenberg had Praise Martin-Oguike drafted LAST year.

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

21 thoughts on “We’re Talkin’ Practice

  1. Jennings and Ellick have to step up, and I believe they will after listening to Matt Rhule. I still feel the one position that worries me is CB, I just don’t know how confident I am in these other guys, but considering Chandler was moved to safety, the staff must be pretty confident.

    • three positions to watch, first the DL. E. Robinson wants quick versatile guys as the AAC has basically become a three step drop league.., think he is underestimating the importance of bulk in the 4th qtr. Matt I. and H. Walton were big and tall guys who took up a lot of space…,

      next the OL, aside from Dawkins who stands out? McGowan is always hurt.., and, do we have anyone on the OL on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd team all-AAC?

      finally DB.., Tavon Young was a lock down corner. we have depth and speed at DB but no lock down corner. think we’ll see more zone and nickle this year…,

  2. I have a hard time seeing this team winning double digit games this season. I think 8 wins is a bit more realistic.

    • Too many big-time playmakers back and the 126th-toughest schedule in the country make “only” eight wins unrealistically low.

    • we have seven home games, speed and depth at the skill positions, the best LB squad in the conference, a four-year starter at QB, and a tight coaching staff…, this team will go undefeated it it beats PSU and USF…,

      biggest question marks include the OL play and health of the TEs..

      I think E. Robinson will adapt and change the DL strategy after Army

      • Yes, I forgot the seven home games. If we don’t sweep them, we will at least win six. (I will say the talent difference between USF and Temple in the game Temple won, 37-28, in 2012 was a much wider gap than the talent difference now, so the home field at the Linc probably means a 7-0 home record this season.)

  3. Freddie Booth-Lloyd had the best recruiting film I’ve ever seen. He threw O lineman around like used Samsonite luggage. I think that he’ll be fun to watch this season.

    • There is a reason why Tom Herman called Temple one of the two toughest lines his team will face this season and Freddy Booth-Lloyd (along with Averee Robinson, Greg Webb, Haason Reddick, Sharif Finch, Jacob Martin, Praise Martin-Oguike, Karamo Diaboute) are just some of those reasons.

  4. It looks to me that the best thing the Owls have going for them this year, and the easiest predictor of double digit wins, is that schedule.

    If they can beat PSU on the road, it will be a surprise, or a major screw-up, if they don’t go into the South Florida game undefeated.

    A 7-0, likely to be ranked, Owls squad should be able to put 35,000 into the seats for that type of game. A big win then could set the road up for going into the Conference championship undefeated.

    It really is hard to see them losing any ogre games on the schedule. I know that Memphis and Cincinnati are solid teams, so I don’t mean to underdestimate them, but Temple should be a step ahead at this point. And it should be easy enough to stay focused on those games considering the turkeys on the rest of the schedule.

    • I’ve never been a fan of cupcakes, especially for a G5 team. Much rather have the Owls play the schedule UConn is playing this year (three beatable P5 teams) but, failing that, got to run the table. This table is set up like the final 3 balls on a pool table sitting on the edge directly in front of the cue ball.

      • Can’t blame TU for the conference schedule (you can only play who they give you, and you don’t have Houston or Navy this year), though you tend to have the same issues that existed in the BE (2, maybe 3 ‘big’ conference games, with the others being middling to clunkers) only now with ‘lesser’ names. Nothing wrong with Army or even a 1-AA (though with your overall schedule thus year the 1AA game does look weak) but that Charlotte game is really bleh; they were literately playing D-III schools 3 years ago.

        Joe P.

  5. I had a long talk at the tailgates last year with new AD Pat Kraft about this very subject. When I asked why we don’t schedule more P5 schools, he said, “they don’t want to play us.” I have a hard time believing three P5 schools want to play UConn but they don’t want to play Temple. To me, the future schedules should be filled with Maryland, BC and RU (which are on) and the Bucknells and Villanovas (also on) should be replaced by, say, ‘Cuse and Pitt.

    • Without knowing when those games were scheduled, it can’t be said that UConn gets games TU can’t. The contracts could have been signed years ago. If they were scheduled recently UConn hasn’t been too good recently and those teams may consider them an easy win. Nevertheless, Pat Kraft has said that schools do not want to play TU.

      • Probably the timing was the biggest thing, but we’ve recently added Bucknell and Villanova and that’s the wrong direction to go IMHO. John Chaney put Temple on the map by scheduling tough teams and beating them and that’s the GPS the Owls should follow for football, too.

  6. Can’t understand booking Bucknell. At least with Villanova there is increased attendance.

  7. I despise any I-AA game. Absolutely no upside. But if you’re gonna do it, you sure as hell don’t schedule a CAA team or anyone else that has even a remote chance to beat you. So at least the Bucknell game makes sense on that level. I hate playing Villanova. TU can sell out the Linc with a premier opponent; no need for a money grab in town game with no upside. The top half of the CAA should be off limits because they’re all capable of a win if enough things go right. That league knocks off a I-A opponent every year.

    • Without Andy Talley, ‘Nova has no chance to beat Temple. Talley outcoached the pants off Al Golden and took his lesser talent and beat Golden’s greater talent. Talley is a once-in-a-lifetime gameday coach. Great gameday coaches like Talley scare me. This guy Nova has succeeding him cannot be as good. Still, playing both Nova and Bucknell is as bad idea as accepting a bowl game against a MAC team. You want to advance the brand, not put it in reverse.

      • Nova, Towson, JMU, Maine, Richmond, W&M and UNH are all capable (albeit unlikely) of beating an AAC level team. “No chance” is simply too arrogant given the history.

      • Except that Talley had a brain freeze in the game TU scored a touchdown on the kickoff. He decided to throw a pass that was incomplete, which stopped the clock and gave the Owls time to win.

      • No chance without Talley. You don’t replace a legend with another legend. If you look at every FCS upset of a FBS team, the FCS team had the better head coach. I don’t like playing Villanova, but I like our odds with Matt (especially now that he’s embraced a philosophy–run the ball, play great defense–that has proven successful at Temple in the past) against a career line coach like Nova has now.

  8. As far as Talley’s brain freeze, before the brain freeze he had coached a masterful game of playing to win while Golden was playing not to lose. He probably should have beaten Daz 3 years ago. Loved his trick play that scored a touchdown against a much superior team.

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