With the start of the 2013 season fast approaching the Temple Owls are sailing into uncharted waters.
For the third time in four seasons there is a new coach on North Broad Street.
Matt Rhule is no stranger to the Temple program. He spent six seasons as an assistant to Al Golden and Steve Addazio before spending last season working for Tom Coughlin and the New York Giants.
Now, Addazio is off to Boston College and it’s Rhule’s task to keep the Owls on course as they begin a new season in a brand-new league.
The American Athletic Conference was born from the remnants of the Big East, which the Owls rejoined just last year. The league features former Big East members Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Connecticut, and South Florida in addition to the Owls. UCF, Houston, SMU, and Memphis are also on board.
For now though, the Owls have their hands full with the current 10-team alignment.
Rhule got his introduction to the AAC at the conference’s kickoff media event.
“We’re really excited about the future of Temple football,” he says, “Temple football and the American Conference. And to be amongst these universities and these coaches has been just a great experience for me and for our student‑athletes.
Rhule believes he’s taking over a program that is on solid footing.
“I had the fortune of being at Temple for six years,” he says. “I had a chance to be around Al Golden. And Al did a great job getting us back to our first bowl game in 32 years. I had a chance to be around Steve Addazio. He did a great job of winning our first bowl game.
“For me now it’s my charge and my job to get us to win a conference championship. So that’s what we’re doing, that’s why we’re here.”
Rhule expects the AAC schools to utilize a variety of offensive schemes.
“I think one of the things that I haven’t heard a lot of people talk about in this league is all the different, unique styles of offense we’re going to see,” he says. “You turn on SMU, you’re basically seeing the run and shoot. You turn on Houston, and I think they run more plays per game or per minute than any other team in the NCAA. … So this league is not a league like some others where everyone kind of plays the same style.
“As a first‑year head coach, the only one I’ve been around in my time at Temple is Connecticut. So I have to each week be prepared to go in and, hey, let’s try to stop Coach June Jones and the run and shoot this year and stop a pro‑style attack with Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville. That’s a unique story and a league that has a lot of great quarterbacks.”
Rhule will now focus on getting his own team ready for its opener at Notre Dame. The Owls will open the season in South Bend on August 31.