Head Coach Matt Rhule Brings Balance Back to Temple Owls Offense in 2013

By Tyler Brett
Howard Smith – USA TODAY Sports

The Temple Owls struggled to move the football much in 2012, ranking No. 107 in the country in total offense, averaging just 322 yards per game. Much of that could be blamed on the Owls’ extreme lack of balance under former coach Steve Addazio, who preferred a run-heavy philosophy that resulted in Temple finishing No. 116 in college football in passing last year. That looks to change in 2013 under new head coach Matt Rhule, who brings a balanced, pro-style offensive attack to try and turn around the Temple program.

The biggest change for the Owls under Rhule will be the number of times they drop back to pass. Addazio preferred to grind out his offense on the ground, putting the onus on his running quarterback and the running backs to carry the offensive burden. The team saw some positive results out of it, rushing for 201.2 yards per game on the ground, goof for the No. 31 ranked running game in college football. The lack of a passing threat, however, caused Temple to become one-dimensional and made generating consistent offense a struggle.

Rhule looks to fix that as the head coach and he’s starting with the quarterback position. Addazio wanted a quarterback who could run the football, which left junior Connor Reilly, a more traditional drop-back passer, on the sidelines for his first two years in the program. That will change in 2013, though, as Rhule moves to a more pass-friendly, pro-style offense that will utilize Reilly’s abilities as a passer to a fuller extent.

Opening up the passing game will also help pick up the slack for a running game that will likely take a step back in 2013. After losing their top two rushers from a year ago, Rhule is still looking for a leader to emerge out of the backfield. It’s been a fevered battle all spring and it’s a competition that likely won’t be decided until next fall when incoming freshmen Zaire Williams and Jahad Thomas hit campus and get the opportunity to show what they can do.

It’s a brand new offense for Temple heading into 2013 and Matt Rhule is looking for players to step up at every position. At the end of the day, the Owls will bring a more balanced attack to the Big East next fall and be a more dangerous team to contend with when they get everything rolling.

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