Temple Football: Owls' passing game developing quickly under Rhule

Temple passing game developing quickly under Rhule

4/22/13 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   407 respect

There’s no argument with why Temple’s offense struggled so mightily to score points in 2012. The Owls’ quarterbacks combined for the nation’s fifth-worst passing game, which put a lot of pressure on the backfield to overachieve.Blog Photo - Temple Football: Owls' passing game developing quickly under Rhule

Now that Matt Rhule has taken over and implemented his pro-style, no-huddle offense, Temple looks to be much more balanced on this side of the ball – and it showed during Saturday’s spring game.

“[Our biggest focus] has been developing the passing game,” said Rhule during a Monday morning phone interview. “You have to do it each and every day. There were some growing pains early, but everyone has bought in.”

Junior Connor Reilly has enjoyed an extremely successful spring, emerging as the leading candidate to take over a much more pass-friendly scheme.

He completed 25-of-41 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns during Temple’s annual spring game, nearly tripling last year’s pass offense’s average stats for each category.

“Connor hasn’t taken a snap here yet but he is our number one guy,” said Rhule. “He fits what we’re doing. …he wasn’t a fit for Addazio’s Florida-style offense. Connor is a drop-back kid, not a runner.

“He’s a winner and a team guy and has figured out how to compete,” he added. “He allows us to complete passes and rely on more of a traditional running game.”

Reilly was never given the chance under Addazio due to his inability to make plays with his feet, but is a perfect match for the new offensive installment. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Virginia native has excellent long-range ability and knows how to spread the field.

His presence will not only improve the passing game, but should open more leeway for members of the backfield – which is still figuring out how to replace Montel Harris and Matt Brown.

“This was an area of emphasis in preseason camp,” said Rhule, whose Owls averaged 201.2 rushing yards per game in 2012. “No one has distinguished themselves. I’m not saying that none of them are good enough, but we need someone to step up and fill that void – we just haven’t established that yet.”

Incoming freshmen Zaire Williams and Jahad Thomas – three- and- two-star recruits, respectively – are expected to make an impact on the position battle upon their arrival this summer.

“That’s a position where you feel like a freshman can come in and play right away,” Rhule said. “We promised them an opportunity and they’ll get one.”

Either way, Temple should be able to find prosperity in this area – the running game has produced over 2,200 yards three times over the last four seasons.

Due to NCAA regulations, teams cannot practice until fall camp in late July-early August. This leaves a lot of in-between time for players to work on their own, so it’s important that they stay driven and the focus stays intact.

“Now you put the ball in their hands until the summer,” said Rhule. “I want it to be driven by them. They need to continue to develop their ball skills and drop-back passing game.

They left the spring session with good idea of what we’re trying to do. Us coaches will pick it up in August and we’ll go from there.”


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