PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — For the Temple players who spent their high school years playing under the lights, Friday night’s game with UMass at the Linc may feel a bit nostalgic.
Temple and UMass will do battle in South Philadelphia on Friday evening as the Owls look to go 2-1 on the season. Temple Coach Geoff Collins is excited about being in the Friday night spotlight and is hoping his players will soak in the opportunity to play at night at the Linc.
“It’s probably the first Friday night I’ve played or coached in a long time,” said Collins. “I think that’s pretty cool. Growing up, you want to play high school football. You want to be playing under those Friday night lights. We kind of get to go back to that a little bit.”
On paper, the Owls should be able to pick up their second win on Friday. Temple will face a UMass team which will come to town with an 0-3 record. However, Collins has plenty of respect for the Minutemen after seeing them up close last year as an assistant.
“We played them at the University of Florida,” Collins said. “It was an absolute pain with the formations and the shifts and the personnel groupings. I have a healthy respect for them and our players do having played them in the past. What tough competitors they are.”
Temple will look to get its ground game going on Friday after struggling last Saturday against Villanova. However, Running Back Ryquell Armstead remains banged up and his status for Friday remains up in the air. Center Matt Hennessy is confident Temple will be able to run against UMass if the Owls focus on the task at hand.
“I’m not really worried about what UMass is doing,” said Hennessy. “I’m just worried about what we’re doing against UMass. We’re just focusing on us and doing things the best we can. It’s not really about what they do or what they have done. It’s just about how we’re going to do things.”
This Temple team still appears to be searching for an identity. With a new coaching staff and only two games played, there is still a growing process for the Owls. Defensive Lineman Jullian Taylor saw progress last week in the win over Villanova. Taylor is hoping the growing continues under the lights on Friday night.
“We’re still growing as a team,” Taylor said. “We’ve got a lot of young players and they definitely grew from last week. They were battling and not getting passive. They impressed me a lot.”