Temple football eyes better days ahead

P.J. Walker Temple
Temple quarterback P.J. Walker will lead the Owls going forward. Credit: Getty Images

Forget what the schedule and calendar says. The season didn’t end for 2-10 Temple Saturday when the Owls crushed Memphis, 41-21, to at least salvage something out of a disappointing year.
In the minds of first year coach Matt Rhule and his players, it’s just the beginning.

“I want to win,” said sophomore linebacker Tyler Matakevich, the nation’s runaway leader in solo tackles with 106. “It’s going to take so much out of all of us, so I’m trying to take everybody along with me. Today was the first step.”

That’s why as soon as they handed in their uniforms, the returning Owls went straight to the weight room to begin training for 2014. From freshman sensation quarterback P.J. Walker right on down to kicker Nick Visco, who made more field goals in the final game (two) than in the first 11, they know there’s much to do if Temple is to bounce back.

“As we look ahead, I think the hard lessons we learned were things we had to learn,” said Rhule, whose club lost three games where it had the lead in the final minute and led in the second half eight times. “Seeing how easy it is to lose a game, how small the margin of error, will be really good for our program moving forward. Now we have to recruit, develop and find players to help us win those games.”

Fortunately for Rhule, he has a quarterback in Walker who threw for 20 touchdowns and averaged 232 yards passing after taking the reins a month into the season, and a defensive leader in Matakevich to build around.

“I have to learn to protect the ball,’’ said Walker, who also threw eight interceptions. “You can’t win games if you turn the ball over. I learned a lot each game, each week. But now I need to get into better shape and learn the offense better.”

According to Rhule, such dedication — especially considering the frustrating way the season went, with Army and Memphis the only breakthroughs — can’t help but bode well for the future.

“As I told these guys right from the beginning, I’m going to raise the standards, the ‘price of admission’ here,” said Rhule, who was an assistant on Al Golden’s staff when the Owls went from 1-11 laughingstock to 9-3 in just three seasons. “That’s why we started this morning. You have to be positive and start moving forward. This is what we did once before.”

Can they do it again in the new American Athletic Conference, where they’re in the basement at 1-7? With the help of some new recruits to shore up some of those deficiencies, don’t “Rhule” it out.

“We averaged 400 yards a game, the second most in school history,” Rhule said of his pitch to prospective recruits . “That shows the direction we’re headed. People see an opportunity here. They see we were a play or two away from winning so many times. People like the way we’re playing and that we’re not afraid to play young guys.

“We tell kids they can make a difference.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

National

Donut capers stymie police in Oregon

For more than a month, mysterious vandals have been smearing pastries on cars, depositing donuts in lawns and leaving cakes strewn about the streets.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.