Camp Notes: Rhule and coaching staff challenge QBs at end of practice, Wright continues to impress

Coach Matt Rhule challenged senior quarterback Phillip Walker and the quarterbacks to the football throwing equivalent to Kan Jam on Friday. Freshman Isaiah Wright’s name keeps popping up at camp.

Senior quarterback Phillip Walker and the other orange jersey wearers followed Friday’s practice with a friendly competition.

In a game that looked like the football throwing equivalent of Kan Jam, the quarterbacks tossed footballs at trash cans stacked in the back corner of the end zone.

Coach Matt Rhule assembled a squad made of members from his coaching staff to take on Walker redshirt-sophomore Frank Nutile, redshirt-freshman Logan Marchi and freshman Anthony Russo.

Walker had a few close calls, but no one could score the five-point shot in the top of the trash can and Rhule eventually conceded the win to his quarterbacks.

‘We just needed it’

On Tuesday, Rhule sent his first team offense home from practice during the Owls’ early session.

“The first team offense didn’t want to get coached today,” he said Tuesday. “They were using their feelings and emotions on the football field instead of listening to what the coaches were saying. I threw them off the field and told them to go home for the day.”

Rhule said the group responded like their coach had hoped during the second practice session on Tuesday. He said the unit’s mental approach is what he’s really liked through the rest of the week.

“We just needed it,” Walker said. “We needed to get our minds right. … We’d been playing well, then once we had a bad day things just got out of hand. We just needed to get away from each other for a couple hours and we spent some time alone for the first time all camp.”

“If it would have happened during the season, it would have been too late,” Walker said.

Bursting onto the scene

Freshman Isaiah Wright is listed on the Owls’ roster as wide receiver. However, in his first few weeks at Temple he’s found himself all over the field.

Wright is getting reps at wideout and running back, and he’s even returned kicks.

“He’s been bursting on the scene,” Walker said. “He’s been doing great playing running back, receiver. Everything we need him to do he’s doing.”

“You can tell he’s going to be a special player,” Rhule said.

The youngster’s biggest impression on Rhule has been his maturity at such a young age.

“He’s one of the most mature freshman I’ve ever been around,” Rhule said. “Everything from the way he acts in terms of talking to people and being someone that’s empowered to talk to people and speak his mind in a very positive way, to the way he practices, takes cares of his body. He’s ultimately earned the respect of the guys on the team in a very quick amount of time just because of the way he carries himself.”

Man in the middle

Redshirt-senior offensive lineman Brendan McGowan started four crucial games at center last season when Kyle Friend missed the last four weeks of the regular season with a knee injury.

The experience has helped McGowan’s transition to a full-time starter at center this season go smoothly.

“Getting the reps from last year really helped me out,” McGowan said. “Learning the offense and really knowing my job really helps me do that.”

The experience also helped McGowan and Walker build on chemistry started when Walker was taking reps with the backups early in his freshman season.

“Now, it’s a lot faster,” Walker said. “There’s a lot more checks and play calls that we’re doing. … We’re on the right track right now, we just have to keep going.”

Owen McCue can be reached at or on Twitter @Owen_McCue

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