Temple Owls Heading Into Season with High, Yet Reasonable, Expectations

Nov 29, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls defensive back Boye Aromire (37) celebrates a fumble recovery with teammates during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cincinnati Bearcats won 14-6. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
After putting together one of the best recruiting classes in recent memory, the Temple Owls head into the 2015 College Football Season with Bowl aspirations

After putting together one of the best recruiting classes in recent memory, the Temple Owls head into the 2015 College Football Season with Bowl aspirations

Nov 29, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls defensive back Boye Aromire (37) celebrates a fumble recovery with teammates during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cincinnati Bearcats won 14-6. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls defensive back Boye Aromire (37) celebrates a fumble recovery with teammates during the third quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cincinnati Bearcats won 14-6. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

NEWPORT, R.I. (C+P)–It is a tradition that has gone on for years in Rhode Island.

It is the American Athletic Conference’s version of the Christmas Truce of 1914. For a couple of days in Newport, players and coaches all converged in the historic town. They shared a meal, caught up with old foes and took a moment to relax and enjoy each others company before going to war against one another in the coming months.

Head Coach Matt Rhule enters the 2015 season with momentum on his side. After finishing with six wins last season and becoming bowl-eligible, the program garnered one of its best recruiting classes in recent memory. These changes have been noticed. In the preseason media poll that was announced Tuesday, Temple was selected to finish third in the AAC Eastern Division. This year, there is a great deal of optimism surrounding the team with aspirations of a conference title and a bowl appearance.

“On the football field, we have to get better on offense to have a chance to make the jump from a team that has 6 wins, to a team that competes for a conference championship and go to a bowl game” said the Coach Rhule. “To do that, we have to get a lot better on offense and continue to do what we did last year on defense.

There is more help coming for the Temple offense. Even with the latest additions of wide receivers Adonis Jennings and Robby Anderson, Rhule thinks that there could be another threat who could emerge this season. Ventell Bryant, the 6 foot 3, 185-pound redshirt freshman wide receiver from Tampa, Florida, could factor in as a key component this season.

Coach & Player writer Chris Franklin asks the tough questions in his one-on-one with Temple head coach Mat Rhule (Photo by Jaclyn Buchanan).
Coach & Player writer Chris Franklin asks the tough questions in his one-on-one with Temple head coach Mat Rhule (Photo by Jaclyn Buchanan).

“Obviously, we’ve added some weapons but we think he is a really productive, hard-working competitive kid that’s going to play a lot for us.”

With the influx of receiving talent that has come to the Owls in the past few seasons, most of the attention has gone to the passing game. However, just as most successful teams can do, the running game has to be productive.

“We have to find a way to run the football. We ran the ball decently around 150 yards a game two years ago. Last year, we were down to around 100 yards. With Robby and Adonis and all the other receivers we bring back, we are all hoping that they will take some pressure off the box. At the same time, we have to run the football and be who Temple is which is a tough, hard-nosed, physical program.”

The team is also making significant strides in the classroom.

“We are proud of the fact that we have 21 seniors. By the end of the season, when we go to a bowl game, we will have 25 to 27 college graduates in the program. We are proud of our team. They have developed themselves on and off the field. We hope that that translates into wins and hopefully jobs for those kids when they are done.”

For Temple, it can be a memorable season. On paper, the Owls have the talent to compete with everyone on their schedule this season. Their first battle will be against in-state rival Penn State on Sept. 5 can be the moment to show Philadelphia and the rest of college football that the Owls are a team that can contend for a conference title.

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