Temple Owls linebacker Tyler Matakevich Filled Out His Trophy Case This Week (Derik Hamilton/USA Today)
It has been less than a week since the # 24 (FBS) Temple Owls (10-3,7-1) lost to the Houston Cougars in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game (recap here) and just 12 days until they meet the Toledo Rockets(9-2,6-2 MAC) in the Boca Raton Bowl on 12/22. Following are some notes about a few happenings this past week to hold you over ’til my preview next Thursday.
NCAA All-Time Active leading tackler LB Tyler Matakevich kept the accolades coming by winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy announced Monday, awarded to the country’s best defensive player by the Football Writers Association of America and Charlotte Touchdown Club, as well as the Walter Camp Football Foundation Connecticut Player of the Year, especially gratifying for the Connecticut native. Then tonight to top it off won another ? for the case, the Maxwell Club‘s Chuck Bednarik award. All of this is well earned and he made it easy for the voters, as he was the only FBS player to lead his team in tackles every game this season amassing 481 in his career, getting him to w/i 11 of the school record of 492 set by Steve Conjar (78-81), and 126 this season, in addition to 5 ints, 4.5 sacks, and 15 TFOL’s.
Also on Monday was announced even bigger news for the program itself – the renegotiating of Head Coach Matt Rhule‘s contract that already ran through the 2021 season. Terms were not disclosed but sources said it was well above the 1.5 M that he was to make this year and would certainly make up for the 4M buyout he would have been due this season. This should put a stop to the rumors that started not long after the team won the AAC East. Of course more winning seasons will bring them back, but the buyouts typically higher in the early parts of the contract, should keep that at bay. Also on this busy Monday Rhule was announced to be one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award named for longtime Grambling State University coach.
On Tuesday the Temple Board of Trustees met to discuss the plans for making plans for a new on-campus stadium – in full disclosure an idea that this writer does not endorse – and instead, w/ reportedly 50 to a hundred people protesting outside, announced that they were putting a hold on this for now because Mayor Elect Jim Kenney had many questions about the issue, as well he should being the politician most affected by such a project in the near term, and having to put all his constituents needs into the equation. “They didn’t necessarily have to hold off on the vote if they were going to do planning and design stuff,” Kenney said. “My problem is I need to understand better the relationship between Temple and the Eagles and the Linc as it relates to relationship between Pitt, the Steelers and Rooney family. Part of what has driven Temple to want to build a stadium is the amount of money it costs them to use the Linc which is a heavily publicly subsidized facility which increased the value of the Eagles considerably.” Kenney later added “Do I think Temple should continue to expand its Division I capabilities and become a Game Day site more than just once? Yeah, I think it’s wonderful. My daughter is just transferring there. I’m a Temple lover. However, I also have a responsibility to make sure community is respected, to make sure when we have a publicly invested facility it’s available to a university at a cost that’s not prohibitive.” Temple president Neil Theobald and the Trustees plan to meet w/ Kenney in the near future. Stay tuned.
I will be back next week w/ my Bowl Preview.