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
Local

Hate crime charge in attack on Sikh Columbia…

A man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly pulled the beard of a Sikh Columbia University professor as part…

Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Local

Queens pub offers 'Munchathon' 4/20 menu

New York doesn't permit recreational marijuana usage — at least not yet — but that hasn't stopped one Queens bar from getting into the spirit…

Local

Borough prez Eric Adams defends Brooklyn's honor after…

"F--k Brooklyn," shouted Toronto Raptors' general manager Masai Ujiri shortly before facing the Brooklyn Nets at Saturday's playoff game.

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.