PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Temple kicked off its conference schedule with a victory over SMU last Saturday. The Owls’ second conference contest promises to be a much tougher test.
Temple will be on the road in Memphis on Thursday night. The 3-2 Owls will face a Tigers’ squad that is off to a 3-1 start this season. Memphis averages 477 yards per game on offense and put up 77 points in a victory earlier this season. The Owls will also be facing what is expected to be a loud crowd at the Liberty Bowl, but Temple Coach Matt Rhule is hoping his players will embrace the challenge.
“We’re excited to play this game against Memphis,” said Rhule. “We understand that they’re going to do a white out, so we look forward to having a great crowd. Coach (Mike) Norvell is a tremendous guy and a tremendous football coach, and he’s done a great job with that team.”
Norvell is in his first year as head coach of the Tigers, so he was not part of Temple’s victory over Memphis at the Linc last season. It was a day in which the Owls’ defense shut down future NFL Quarterback Paxton Lynch, but Rhule says there is little they can take away from their victory over the Tigers last season.
“There’s not much to learn from that game to this game,” Rhule said. “It’s a new staff. It’s a lot of different players with some new schemes and a new coaching staff, and really, we’re a completely different team.”
The Temple Defense will face a tough test against one of the top offenses in the country. The Owls struggled defensively earlier in the season, but defensive lineman Hasaan Reddick believe things are turning around on the defensive side of the ball.
“Everything is falling into place,” said Reddick. “We’re hitting on those details we were missing in the first couple of games. Now, everything is just hitting home. We are on a roll, and we’re ready to go.”
In addition to facing a tough Memphis team, the Owls are also dealing with a quick turnaround. Rhule has had to get his players ready for a road game just five days after the previous contest.
“We’ve done this before,” Rhule said. “I think we have a good process in place. We’re a little non-conventional. We bring our ping-pong table. We try to have fun, but not be funny and try to be loose getting up to the game.”