Owls looking to improve after getting ‘exposed’ by triple-option

FCS opponent Stony Brook will face the Owls on Saturday afternoon.

Julie Rhule had harsh criticism for her husband’s team after last week’s loss to Army.

“She said, ‘Your sideline stunk and you stunk and your coaches stunk. You have a bunch of coaches that are down there just standing there.’ My wife never says anything about football,” coach Matt Rhule said. “She said, ‘That didn’t look the way you usually look.’”

The team is looking to come back with more energy for its game against Stony Brook on Saturday. Rhule said Monday’s practice was “the best practice we’ve had here in three years.”

Because Temple played on Friday instead of Saturday, the Owls have had an extra day of practice to prepare for the Seawolves. Rhule had the entire team watch the game film, instead of separately as an offensive or defensive unit.

He also compared the team’s start against Army with its first two drives against Penn State last year.

“You watch the film, we played better against Army than we did against Penn State last year,” Rhule said.

“The thing I’m concerned about our kids is on the sideline against Penn State, we were down 10-0 and they were celebrating like, ‘Hey we’re going to find a way to get this done,’” Rhule added. “And on Friday we were sitting there and it was like, ‘Who’s going to make a play?’ That to me is what we exposed.”

After beating the University of North Dakota, then-ranked No. 19 in the STATS FCS poll, Stony Brook received 207 votes in the Sept. 5 STATS poll. The Seawolves are two spots outside of the FCS top-25.

Even though Stony Brook is 1-6 all-time against FBS teams, the Owls aren’t overlooking their FCS opponent.

“Regardless of who we play, we have to play to our standard,” redshirt-senior defensive back Nate Hairston said. “It doesn’t matter who we play, we want to put the same thing on film every time.”

The Owls will have to prepare for a conventional offense against Stony Brook, which is difficult after facing the triple-option, Rhule said. Stony Brook redshirt-sophomore quarterback Joe Carbone completed 16-of-31 passes last week for 159 yards, hitting eight different receivers.

Stony Brook’s defense was its strength against North Dakota last week, allowing nine points and 177 total yards. Senior defensive back Jaheem Woods, one of the team’s captains, earned STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week and Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Week honors for his career-high 11 tackles.

The Owls will be without some offensive starters on Saturday. Senior running back Jahad Thomas will be out for the second week in a row with a dislocated thumb. Redshirt-senior tight end Colin Thompson and wide receivers Keith Kirkwood and Ventell Bryant are also unlikely to play. Freshman wide receiver Isaiah Wright will make his debut at some point, Rhule said.

Redshirt-sophomore Chris Myarick and redshirt-senior Jake O’Donnell, who have seen limited action, are behind Thompson on the tight end depth chart. O’Donnell had one catch for 10 yards in 2014 at the University of Miami and Myarick does not have any receptions in five games with Temple.

Redshirt-freshman tight end Patrick Anderson might also see playing time.

“Just trying to get guys in that have really haven’t had the opportunity to show what they can do,” senior quarterback Phillip Walker said. “Guys like Pat Anderson, we don’t know what Pat Anderson can do. We just got to go out there see what he can do see if he’s ready to play.”

“It’s still a great offense that can move the ball whenever we buy into what we need to [do] and not have negative plays,” Walker added.

The last time the Owls played an FCS opponent was in 2014, when they beat Delaware State 59-0 after losing to Navy in the previous week. The Owls are looking to beat an FCS team again to rebound after a loss to a triple-option team.

“We’re not worried about the week ahead, we’re not worried about what happened last week, we’re just worried about this week right now, going 1-0,” redshirt-junior defensive back Artrel Foster said. “That’s all we’re worried about. I’m not worried about nothing else.”

Evan Easterling can be reached at evan.easterling@temple.edu or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling.

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