(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!