For Temple men’s gymnastics head coach Fred Turoff, the past few days of practice have been one of evaluation and rededication to detail. Details that make all the difference from finishing first or fourth in any particular meet.
“I’m just looking for better performances,” said Turoff (Temple ’69), in his 26th year as head coach. “Our biggest problem is that we have been missing too many routines and we need to just cut back on some things and concentrate on basics.”
Temple is 7-3 and ranked 12th nationally entering Friday’s home meet against Army in McGonigle Hall at 7 p.m.
Turoff knows that the Temple team is capable of dethroning UMass and winning the East Coast Athletic Conference title. With these expectations comes a more demanding coach than perhaps in years past.
In their tri-meet against William and Mary and Illinois-Chicago last weekend in which the team placed second, Turoff was disappointed that not one person hit their pommel horse routine without a glitch.
Turoff said things like that must be cleaned up if Temple is to beat both Army and then UMass, who they meet in Amherst, Mass., on Sunday.
The Owls first met the Minutemen at Amherst in the Massachusetts Invitational on Dec. 1. Temple won the seven-school competition with 200.650 points. UMass came in second with 200.550 points.
|“The team has more talent than ever and definitely more depth. We just haven’t learned how to make it all mesh.”|
— Alex Weber, Junior
On Jan. 11, at the 12-team West Point Open in West Point, N.Y., the Cherry and White finished third behind Penn State and, you guessed it, the Minutemen.
“I came into this year with a whole new attitude,” said junior Alex Weber. “It is to murder UMass. We want to kill and dominate them. That is my focus.
“I want to win and not worry so much about personal statistics. I mean, the team has more talent than ever and definitely more depth. We just haven’t learned how to make it all mesh.”
Senior captain Brian Munn also thinks that this team is as good as any in his four-year career.
“Our amount of talent has gone up and so has the amount of people on the team. My freshman year, there were eight gymnasts and now there’s 21. We just need to get on track and try to push ourselves.
“At West Point we had quite a bit of falls so hopefully we can go up there and do our best.”
For Munn, that means performing at his best on rings — something of a personal goal, but one that can also be used as an example for the younger members of the team.
With all the attention UMass is getting, Turoff cautioned to concentrate on the task at hand.
“We have to be careful and not look past a team that can put up 200 points,” he said of Army. “We have been competing regionally and nationally as well, so I am encouraged by that.
“But my goal in the 25 years that I have been coach is to have everyone hit their routine. It still hasn’t happened. But throughout the season we always get better and go up. I mean you know you have a good team when the workouts are over and the kids are still practicing.”
Notes: The team will be selling T-shirts, designed by junior Richard Maguire and 50/50 raffle tickets at Saturday’s men’s basketball game against St. Joseph’s at the Liacouras Center. All proceeds go to the gymnastics program at Temple.