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
National

Is #JusticeForAvaLynn a case of bullying?

On Saturday, the hashtag #JusticeForAvaLynn became one of the trending topics on Twitter. Users circulated the above photo of 5-year-old AvaLynn, posted by her mother…

International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…