Temple vs. Stony Brook Preview

By David Gough

    Temple’s 2016 season is off to a rough start after losing to Army last Friday night.

    The 28-13 defeat at the hands of the Black Knights was a bit of a shocker to the 34,000 in attendance. My 42-13 prediction in favor of the Owls certainly was a bit too optimistic.

Quarterback Phillip Walker threw three interceptions while completing only 12 of his 26 pass attempts. Meanwhile, Army’s offense wore out Temple’s defense as they rushed for 329 yards.

    The bright spot for Temple, however, was running back Ryquell Armstead. The sophomore ran for 77 yards on 16 carries in place of injured senior Jahad Thomas (dislocated thumb).

    The Owls will try to regroup and earn its first win of the season against Stony Brook this Saturday afternoon.

    Temple has never faced the Seawolves, a Football Championship Subdivision program from the state of New York. The meeting will only be the eighth time Stony Brook has ever faced a Football Bowl Subdivision team. So far, it is 1-6 in games against the FBS. The only victory came against Army in 2012.

    Despite being from a higher level of play, Temple cannot overlook the Seawolves. Overlooking its opponent may have been why Army won on Friday night. Stony Brook isn’t exactly a powerhouse at the FCS level, but neither was Fordham back in 2013. That was a darker time in Temple football history, but my point still stands.

    That being said, the timing of this game couldn’t be better. The Owls desperately need to find their game and playing –what should be- a lesser opponent can only help. If they play the way they are expected to play, it will go a long way in instilling confidence before week three’s matchup: Penn State.

    Perhaps noteworthy, Penn State renews a fierce rivalry with Pittsburgh this weekend while Temple should and hopefully will have a less physically exhausting game against Stony Brook.

    Staying focused on this week only, I’m expecting a much better performance from the Owls and Phil Walker especially.

Prediction: OWLS 45 stony brook 15

GO OWLS, MAN!

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Temple vs. Army Preview

By David Gough

    2015 was an unforgettable year for Temple football.

    It kicked things off with a 27-10 victory over Penn State, reached the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in nearly four decades, hosted ESPN’s College Gameday, and took trips to the inaugural American Conference Championship Game and then the Boca Raton Bowl.

    The Owls finished 10-4 in Matt Rhule’s third year as head coach, a big improvement from 2-10 in his first year. But after starting the season 7-0, finishing with four losses in its last seven games leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Temple is not satisfied with how the season ended last year, hence the 2016 slogan “Unfinished Business.”

    The start to finishing business begins Friday night as the Owls host Army. Temple has won seven times in 11 meetings against the Black Knights. The last meeting came in 2013 when Temple won 33-14 for its only home win that season.

    Army, much like Navy, has a triple-option offense that relies primarily on the run. Navy has been a bit more successful recently, however, as Army has only mustered up nine wins in the last three seasons.

    Army did hang in against quality opponents last season only losing by six at Penn State and by four to Navy (a team it hasn’t beaten since 2001).

    The only way this game could be trouble for Temple is if first game rust comes in play. That wasn’t the case against Penn State last year, however.

    The Temple offense will start what should be a great season under quarterback Phillip Walker, running back Jahad Thomas, and a strong receiving corps in Ventell Bryant, Marshall Ellick, Adonis Jennings, etc.

    With the first game just hours away at this point, let’s take one last look at the incredible season we witnessed last year and hope more great memories are coming soon!

Prediction: OWLS 42 Army 13

GO OWLS, MAN!

Director’s Tower 5/31 

by Dr. Matthew Brunner

I’ve always enjoyed learning things. When I was little, someone told me, “You learn something new every day. If you don’t… YOU DIE!!!” So being the scared little kid I was who did NOT want to die, I sough out something new to learn everyday. I actually kept track of what I learned for a while. Everything from how to tie a square knot, to my neighbor’s favorite color, to how many scoops of peanut butter my grandfather put on his ice cream (in case you are wondering, it was two big ones and yes, it is insanely delicious). When I was in high school, (yes, it took that long) I realized that learning was inevitable. I was going to learn something whether I wanted to or not. 

The good thing about doing that when I was young was that I became obsessed with learning new things. I realized that I did not know even a fraction of what was out there. Even in my own profession, I couldn’t believe the things other people were doing outside of my area. I loved it and I wanted to know more. When the annual Ohio Music Education Association conference came around every year, I was that freak who skipped meals so he could see another clinic or concert and filled every time slot with something. Even the 15 minutes between sessions was spent sprinting through the exhibits to visit the booths that interested me (meaning they had scores, books, batons, trumpets, trumpet accessories, or food). 

OMEA always showed me how much I didn’t know. For future teachers (or professionals in ANY field), always know that the world is changing. With technology, new cultural perceptions, and a host of other things, you should never, ever, ever think you know enough. 

This week I will be attending the College Band Director’s National Association’s Athletic Band Symposium. It is an annual event that has quickly become my favorite conference of the year. It has a perfect balance of professional and social events that are relevant to the changing landscape of college athletic bands. I look forward to this every year. The site always changes, but the setup is the same and it is totally worth the time and effort. This year we travel to the University of Minnesota. Can’t wait. 

So….apparently this never posted. Thank you airport wifi. At any rate, here is a bit of a recap of the conference. 

Minneapolis was beautiful! People out running, biking, and walking all over. The weather was good most of the time. The only time it rained…when we were golfing. 😕 

There were many great sessions on everything from drill writing, to marketing, to health and wellness. We all also spend time talking about what we are doing and any pitfalls we have run into. As much as I love the clinics, I often learn more from other people. There are some great people in this profession and everyone is willing to help each other. 

The best part is that it inspires me and gets me excited for the coming year. The timing is perfect so that I get energized and then have the summer to plan. Well done CBDNA! 

Director’s Tower 5/17/16

by Dr. Matthew Brunner, Director of Athletic Bands

We’re on summer vacation!!!!! Well, at least with Temple’s classes being done, the calendar says so even if the weather doesn’t. It feels a bit more like late October. I wonder if that is part of the reason I am looking forward to the upcoming marching season as much as I am.

We all need a break sometimes. Classes, work, anything can wear on you. We need that time to refresh and recharge. During that time, I always like to step back and look at where we have been, where we are, and where we want to go.

We had a great year last year. Big home games, College GameDay, Boca Raton Bowl, AAC Basketball Tournament in Orlando, NCAA Tournament in Brooklyn; it was a great year! After an incredible football season, we earned the two free days on the beach in Boca Raton. (And who can beat sitting on the beach in 80+ degrees in December!)

Busy seasons always test you. They test your preparedness. They test your dedication. They test your perseverance.

  • Preparedness – Are you organizationally, physically, mentally, socially, spiritually prepared to do what you need to do?
    • Organizationally – Organizing your life in a way that you are always LOOKING AHEAD is one of the most important things you can do. Not everyone works at the same speed, so getting done what you can when you can will help to make other things go smoother when they come up.
    • Physically – Did you run in the off-season or get enough rest? If not, in season rehearsals may wear you down where you can’t work. On Game Days, you may be worn out by the 4th quarter when the team and the fans need you the most. People are depending on you to be at your best!
    • Mentally – Do you work AHEAD of schedule and not wait until the last minute to do things? Have you looked at your drill charts or music before rehearsal so that these items are learned quickly and we can spend more time cleaning than learning.
    • Socially – Have you made your personal schedule so that you can do the things you NEED to do, while still completing the things you WANT to do. Everyone needs that personal time with friends outside of class…but you should always feel like you EARNED it.
    • Spiritually – Whether it is God, a beloved relative that always believed in you, or the spirit of band alumni and fans…there is ALWAYS something else that you can look for to help you through hard times. Why does a football team like playing tough teams at home? Because of the SPIRIT from the home crowd that will help them bring out their best. What do you fall back on to help you? And can YOU help someone else in a similar way?
  • Dedication – You have a lot of work to do. You have a paper to write. You have music to memorize. It’s easy to let something slide when you are overwhelmed. But when that happens, you not only let someone else down, you let yourself down. Everything you do should be done to the absolute BEST of your ability.
  • Perseverance – When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Yeah, we’ve all heard that before. But people have forgotten what that means. Some think, when times are hard, it’s best to get rid of the tough things, to ease up your commitments so you can focus on a smaller number of things to accomplish. That’s not how life works. It means when things get difficult, you plug away, you PERSEVERE to reach your goals.

Every year, I have students entering college who say to me, “Oh, I won’t have time for band because of my classwork.” How do you know? You haven’t been here to see what life is like in college. And how do you think you will cope with life after college if you “don’t like being too busy.” I hate to break it to you…but it only gets worse!! High School was busier than Middle School, and College is busier than High School…. but adulthood is College x 10. The big difference in adulthood is that OTHER PEOPLE depend on you more than ever before. You HAVE to do the work or others will fail with you. And if you are not used to working diligently and giving your best through busy times, you will have a hard time in the real world.

It’s hard to go at 100% all the time. That’s why we need those breaks. We need to do those “other things.” When I ran track, in the offseason or off weekends, we were told to do some “active rest,” which meant I didn’t need to go work on hurdles, but to do something else physical so I didn’t get out shape, but not doing the constant grind of running like I did the rest of the time.

For a lot of students, Marching Band is that something different that they do in their day. It’s not classical music, or solo literature, it’s not doing research in the library, writing a paper, or doing experiments in the lab. It’s people from MANY different walks of life, different backgrounds, different majors, different abilities, and different goals, coming together to participate in something that bonds people organizationally, physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. It’s work, but it’s fun work. It’s rewarding work.

There is nothing I would rather do than what I am doing. I love my job, and I love my students. Sure I have those down days. Sure I have those times when I would rather be doing something else. But when it comes down to it, I am happiest when I feel that sense of camaraderie, success, and accomplishment that brings together so many different people. It makes me appreciate even more when I stick through the hard times and never give up. I like to feel like I EARNED my breaks, my weekends, or my glass of wine. I know I am a better person for it. It just goes to show……

…..PERSEVERANCE CONQUERS!!!!!

Go Owls!!!!

Temple vs. Memphis

by David Gough

This game had a lot of hype a few weeks ago after Temple’s four point loss to Notre Dame. It was destined to be another ranked vs. ranked matchup and decide who would host the conference championship game on December 5.

The game still deserves a lot of hype, but now it’s for different reasons. Memphis has now lost two in a row to Houston and Navy and are now out of the conference championship conversation, although the College Football Playoff committee still has them ranked. Temple had a game to forget against an upstart South Florida team as they lost 44-23. Not exactly what we were expecting! With that loss, Temple is no longer ranked and the chances of hosting the conference championship game are very slim at best.

Unlike Memphis, Temple still has a shot at making the conference championship. Winning out against Memphis and UConn would do it, but South Florida will be playing Cincinnati Friday night. A Cincy victory would relieve the pressure a little on the Owls by only forcing them to win one of their last two games to clinch the east division.

On top of that, Temple defeating Memphis this weekend might just get them back into the Top 25. As it stands right now, the AAC champion will likely be the highest ranked group of five team in the nation and have a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game in either Glendale, Arizona or Atlanta, Georgia.

Beating Memphis will not be an easy task despite the Tigers’ two game losing streak. They lost to the best of the American in Navy and Houston. They squandered away a 20 point lead against Houston in a game that they probably should’ve ended up winning. They’re going to show up to the Linc ticked off on Saturday. It certainly doesn’t help Temple that Paxton Lynch is one of the best quarterbacks in the country and is said to be NFL ready. Their offense is averaging over 40 points per game and they have a big time win against Ole Miss.

Temple, on the other hand, will also be showing up Saturday angry. They didn’t play their game against USF. PJ had an interception that rivals some of his worst ones in his 2014 campaign. The defense got ran over for 326 rushing yards. Austin Jones missed two field goals.

There were missed tackles and dropped passes. It just wasn’t their night. A lot of people wrote USF off before this game, but I wasn’t going to be surprised if the Owls ended up losing. Just not by three touchdowns.

With all that, we now have a home game this weekend against Memphis set for a noon start on ESPNU. Both teams need a win to get back on track, but Temple now needs it more for their conference championship hopes. They have played smart football in their biggest games this season. They dominated Penn State, beat Cincy and ECU in big conference games, and lost in the last minute to a Notre Dame team that currently is in position to play in the College Football Playoff.

Temple needs to be at its best on Saturday. Slow starts and bad mistakes will get you beat by Memphis early. After some of the performances we have seen this season, there’s no reason to not expect a great game out of the guys. They rebounded well after escaping UMass and surviving the scare against UCF. Saturday should be no different. Plus, it would be nice to get some revenge on Memphis after they came to Philly last year and won on a last second field.

Prediction: Owls 31 Memphis 28

GO OWLS, MAN!

(and bearcats, too!!)

Temple vs. Notre Dame Prediction

by David Gough

Halloween night. 8:00 on ABC. 70,000 fans. #9 Notre Dame at #21 Temple. The biggest game in Temple football history is this weekend as the program has never had this much exposure before. The Owls, 7-0, are now two weeks into being ranked for the first time since 1979 and it just so happens they are playing a team ranked much higher than them.

The most historic football program in the country, Notre Dame, is 6-1 in their 2015 campaign. Their only loss was a close one to Clemson, the 3rd best team in the nation. They are playing well even though their starting QB is out for the season. DeShone Kizer has filled in the role quite nicely in five games with a respectable 1,370 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. He has done just enough to let the Fighting Irish keep rolling. It does help Kizer, though, that he has one of the best receivers in the nation in Will Fuller, a Philadelphia native. But the running back, C.J. Prosise, has really carried the offense with 922 rushing yards in just seven games.

Temple’s rush defense will have a lot on their hands against Prosise, but so far they have been one of the best in the nation. They are ranked 6th in the NCAA when it comes to rushing yards allowed. Prosise vs. Temple’s defense will definitely be something to watch. Whoever wins that battle may result in that team’s victory.

Notre Dame’s rush defense isn’t even in the top 50. Meanwhile, we have Jahad Thomas, one of the best running backs in the American Conference. I’d imagine Thomas would get a lot of carries on Saturday.

Neither team ranks high in the pass defense category, so it might be an active night for the wide receivers. Will Fuller has to be kept close or he will burn the Owls’ secondary more than once. On the other hand, Temple’s receivers must catch the ball when it comes to them. It was an issue at East Carolina that could’ve cost the team the game.

In order for the receivers to have a big game, you have to look at P.J. Walker first. Like any other game, turnovers need to be avoided. This something that P.J. has been better at this year, but if there ever was a game where you can’t afford turnovers – or a slow start – it’s this one.

Notre Dame will take control of this game early if the Owls can’t get off to a fast start. The only way Temple wins this game, let alone keeps it close, is to play smart football and just execute on everything.

Saturday will be fun. It is a historic year for the football team and hopefully the magical ride continues.

Realistic Prediction: Notre Dame 31 Temple 24

Optimistic Prediction: Temple 27 Notre Dame 21

GO OWLS, MAN!!