Farewell, Temple Huddle…For Now

Just like the 2012 Temple University football season, my semester at Rowan University went rather fast. A little over three months ago I was assigned to run this blog for my Online Journalism I course. Today marks the final day of class and the final day I am “assigned” to update the blog.

Over the course of the semester, I learned a lot about what it takes to cover a team as a member of the media. What I also learned, is that this is the field I want to pursue. Going to games, picking out minor, yet relevant details found in every contest, interviewing athletes and attending press conferences are exactly what I enjoy doing.

I enjoyed everything I did this semester with Temple Huddle and couldn’t be happier to have had the privilege of covering Temple football for the entire season.

As a credentialed Temple football blog, Temple Huddle will take this winter break off to decide whether or not to return for its second season.

If I come back for another year, I will employ more staff writers to help with the workload in order to become the top spot for Temple football news.

For now, though, I’ll continue writing for the other outlets I’m a part of, including Scout.com’s Big Red Report and GCobb.com

Before I go, though, I’ll leave you with my five favorite posts I’ve written during the 2012 season:

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Could 2013 Be More Challenging for Temple Football?

(Photo via Flickr.com -- Mike Pettigano)

(Photo via Flickr.com — Mike Pettigano)

At the end of the season, head coach Steve Addazio preached how his team would take the upcoming off-season as a launching pad for bigger and better things in 2013.

“This is a great challenge for us now, to have a tremendous off-season and to come in here and make it the hardest off-season we’ve ever had here at Temple and to really build that toughness and that character in a young football team,” said Addazio.

Unfortunately, though, Addazio may not have believed his own words. In a surprising move, Addazio resigned from his coaching spot with the Owls and accepted an offer to take on the same role at Boston College.

His departure, as of December 15, appears to open the door for New York Giants offensive line coach, Matt Rhule. Before moving to the NFL, the former Penn State player was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Temple.

His arrival, if he accepts the rumored offer (which is highly likely), will be a pleasant reunion for the University.

But what kind of team will Rhule be taking over?

On offense, the Owls will lose their top two running backs in Montel Harris and Matt Brown and their All-Conference kicker, Brandon McManus. But they will return their quarterbacks (Chris Coyer and Clinton “Juice” Granger) and most of their wide receivers aside from C.J. Hammond.

If Rhule does indeed take over as head coach, he will have to decide which quarterback is better suited for the job. Before Addazio left, he seemed to favor Granger and even announced him as the starter going into the off-season.

“He showed really good leadership skills with our team and his demeanor is good,” said Addazio regarding Granger. “And that’s important, you have to have great demeanor. People want to follow the leader and that’s all about your demeanor and how you approach things. I think he give us that.”

Granger said it himself: this off-season is very important for the growth of these young Owls players.

“It’s up to us to get that extra work in,” said Granger regarding off-season workouts. “The coaches can draw the X’s and O’s but it’s up to us to go out there and perform and I feel as the quarterback of this team, I’m going to get guys out there to do 7-on-7’s, run routes and to continue to grind.”

Defensively, the Owls will lose defensive backs Vaughn Caraway and Justin Gildea, linemen John Youboty and Marcus Green, and linebacker Ahkeem Smith. For a defense that ranked in the cellar in every defensive statistic in the Big East, losing that many starters could create even more problems for the Owls. Fortunately, though, they will return their young, talented linebacking corps, which is led by their leading tackler, Tyler Matakevich.

“We had a hard time stopping people,” said Addazio. “What bothered me the most was [defensive breakdowns] would come in bunches.”

With holes to fill and new starters expected to take on major roles in 2013, Temple could be in for another challenging season in the new-look Big East.

***

Speaking of the Big East, the conference will undergo a major transformation in 2013. The league will be split into an East and West division, and feature teams from all over the United States:

*West Division: Temple, Boise State, SMU, San Diego State, Houston and Memphis

*East Division: Rutgers, UCONN, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida

“Our new home and away match-ups for football in 2013 will create an exciting, competitive, and compelling season, culminating in our first-ever BIG EAST Championship Game,” said Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco in a press release to the media. “I know that our BIG EAST coaches, student-athletes, and fans have been looking forward both to the renewal of traditional rivalries and to great match-ups with our newcomers. We are expecting a season of intense, high-caliber football played on a national stage.”

Among the West Division, Temple, at 4-7 this season, would have had the fifth worst record, only ahead of Memphis at 4-8. The West currently features three teams (Boise State, San Diego State and SMU) who will be playing in bowl games this year.

With that in mind, the Owls will have plenty of competition in 2013, especially in their highly-anticipated non-conference road trip to South Bend, Indiana to face the No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

***

Be sure to check out Temple Huddle’s timeline briefly recapping the season that was for the Temple Owls. After clicking the link below (or here), readers will be redirected to Dipity.com where they will be exposed to a custom-made timeline that recaps Temple’s schedule and the outcomes of each game. Enjoy!

Temple Football 2012 Season on Dipity.

(click the link above)

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Temple Huddle Podcast: Reviewing the 2012 Season

Temple Huddle did a two minute recap of the key players from the 2012 season. Click the link to watch the podcast:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7HNmapVNGY&feature=plcp

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Temple in the NFL: Checking Out Owls in the Pros

(Muhammad Wilkerson – Credit: Bleacher Report)

Unfortunately, the Temple football team won’t be taking the field until next season, but there are still plenty of ways Temple fans can get their football fix. A few former Temple standouts are making a name for themselves in the NFL. 

Evan Rodriguez, Chicago Bears

Last week, Rodriguez recorded his first career reception in the NFL on an 11-yard pass against the Minnesota Vikings. He could start seeing more action his way now that the coaching staff is giving him reps at tight end rather than at fullback.

Terrance Knighton, Jacksonville Jaguars

The four-year veteran recently was fined $250,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis’ rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck. It was also determined Luck was defenseless at the time of the hit. On the season, Knighton has amassed 21 combined tackles and two sacks, which is two away from his career-high.

Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens

The rookie tailback has seen an increase in touches the past four weeks, including a career-high 10 carries against the Oakland Raiders three weeks ago. With the Ravens pulling away from their divisional foes and closing in on the AFC North crown, Pierce is expected to see more action as the Ravens will most likely want to keep Ray Rice’s legs fresh for the postseason.

Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets

While his team is becoming the laughingstock of the AFC, Wilkerson was recently praised as one of the team’s few “bright spots” in a recent article on The New York Post. The second-year defensive tackle has compiled an impressive 66 tackles, two sacks and three forced fumbles. Among all of the Temple alumni in the NFL, Wilkerson is the only one who could find himself in the Pro Bowl this season.

Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders

Everybody knows Oakland loves their speed. This is why Streater is emerging as a go-to target for quarterback Carson Palmer. The New Jersey native has registered 21 receptions for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

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Big East Forgets Geography, Puts Temple in West

 

Starting next year, Temple will be collecting a surplus of frequent flyer miles due to the Big East’s realignment.

Earlier this week, the Big East revealed the new outlook for the conference, which will consist of two divisions (both Pittsburgh and Syracuse — two of the conference’s all-time  programs — left for the ACC):

East Division

*UCF

*Cincinnati

*Connecticut

*Louisville

*Rutgers

*USF

West Division

*Boise State

*Houston

*Memphis

*San Diego State

*SMU

*Temple

(Navy and possibly another team will join the conference in 2014.)

First, the names of the division are redundant yet at the same time, a contradiction. The “Big East East Division” sounds awkward, while “The Big East West Division” comes across as confusing. So the Big East doesn’t only feature teams located in the eastern states? It just makes no sense.

Now let’s look at the teams. While it’s great to see the conference expand considering it was the smallest of the “Big 6” conferences, the travel could cause problems, specifically for Temple.

The East division is formed by five of the original programs (UCF is the lone new member) and they are all relatively close in location (and on the eastern sea board).

The West division is where things get mind-boggling.

More than likely, the Big East decided to throw Temple in the West because they are new to the conference this season. Nonetheless, though, Temple’s closest division foe is Memphis; after that, it’ SMU (Dallas). With that in mind, the Temple student-athletes will have many long road trips ahead of them, including one across the country to San Diego.

For kids who range in age from 18 to 23, traveling to the west coast more than likely is welcoming; but it makes things a little more difficult.

Practice schedules will need to be adjusted, more money will need to be spent on flights and more hotel services will be needed than in the past.

Also, the Big East announced the “Big East Championship Game” will pit the two division winners with an automatic bowl bid on the line.

“This new alignment gives the Conference and its fans the best of both worlds – national exposure that is a result of the BIG EAST being in six of the top 10 U.S. media markets – with a schedule that focuses on spirited regional rivalries,” said Aresco, according to the press release.

So what are those “spirited rivalries” he speaks of? I’m not quite sure. Temple versus San Diego State? Temple and Boise State? Those don’t come across as rivalries to me.

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Audio: Steve Addazio Speaks After 34-10 Loss to Cincinnati

(Photo credit: Mitchell Leff/Provided by Temple University SID)

Following his team’s loss to Cincinatti, Temple head coach Steve Addazio discussed what he saw out of his team and expressed how he is doing everything possible to build this team into a contender.

During the game, Addazio pulled starting quarterback Chris Coyer in favor of junior Clinton “Juice” Granger. The Philadelphia native came in and went 7-for-16 with 86 yards. He recorded the team’s only touchdown on a four-yard pass to tight end Cody Booth.

Making things worse for Temple was the fact that their leading rusher, Montel Harris, left the game with an undisclosed injury. Before going down, the Boston College transfer tallied 19 yards on eight carries.

The Owls were outgained 472 to 267 yards and surrendered 30 or more points for the fourth straight game (all losses).

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Can Temple End Their Losing Streak Against Cincinnati?

The Temple Owls will attempt to upend the Cincinnati Bearcats for the first time since 1985 when the two teams faceoff on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.

Temple (3-5, 2-3 BIG EAST) is coming off a crushing loss to the Louisville Cardinals. Opposing quarterback Terry Bridgewater threw for a career-high five touchdowns and 324 yards en route to a 45-17 dismantling of the Owls. Bridgewater, like many passers this season, exposed Temple’s defense and picked apart the Owls’ “swiss cheese-like” secondary.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati (6-2, 2-1 BIG EAST) knocked off Syracuse by a score of 35-24. Senior running back George Winn ran for a season-high 165 yards and three touchdowns despite his team losing the turnover battle (3-2).

When Temple and Cincinnati meet this weekend, there will be a few storylines to watch:

  • While the Bearcats haven’t had much success throwing the ball this year — opening up the quarterback competition this week — quarterback Munchie Legaux (or whoever starts) enters a great situation on Saturday. The Owls are ranked 116th in pass efficiency defense (154.75) and have allowed 230+ passing yards per game in their past four contests. Legaux has throw over 230 yards just three times this season, so it will be interesting to see how he attacks the vulnerable Owls’ secondary.
  • Two of the top running backs in the BIG EAST will counter each other this weekend. Cincinnati’s George Winn leads the conference with 897 yards. He is averaging 112.1 yards per game and has reached the endzone seven times. Opposing him will be Temple’s Montel Harris. After transferring from Boston College, the senior is fourth in the conference with 82.6 yards per game. He has amassed 578 yards and five touchdowns in 121 carries. Both defenses will be in for a long, hard-fought day trying to contain these two NFL-potential halfbacks.
  • This game could get lopsided if recent trends hold up. The Bearcats have the third ranked scoring defense (19.9 points per game) while Temple is allowing a league-worst 29.9 points per game. Moving further, Cincinnati’s offense leads the league in scoring (34.2 ppg) while Temple is seventh among eight teams in scoring (22.4 ppg). Considering the Owls have surrendered 42.3 points per game during their three-game slide, there’s a high probability that Cincinnati will have their way against the Temple defense.
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