Ready To Battle

Arguably the biggest game of the year is coming up Wednesday, and on Monday Temple coach Steve Addazio took a few minutes to address the critical contest at Ohio on the Mid-American Conference Coaches Call. Read a transcript of the interview here.

Opening Statement

Obviously, we're all excited to get back playing again. We had that little mini-bye, I guess If you will, which was much needed. We gave our team a few days off and that was real important for us. We came back and had some real spirited practices where we worked on some of the things we needed to work on. That was positive. We're looking forward to going to compete on Wednesday night against a great Ohio team, at their home field, and obviously that will be a great challenge for us. They have an outstanding football team, I think they're a real tough, physical football team. They do a lot of things on offense that are going to challenge your defense. The quarterback is a playmaker. They have a set of wide receivers that are fantastic, an experienced offensive line. We know our defense will be challenged. They play very, very well defensively. They run to the ball, they're physical at the point. Their linebacker is a tackling machine, We're going to play a talented football team, a team that's fundamentally sound, that knows how to play the game hard, with passion. When you have to go on the road the way we have to go on the road right now, you just really have to play great defense, run the ball, have senior leadership. We have to be able to withstand that home field charge, hang in there, be a physical football team and get this game into the fourth quarter. That's our goal. That's our plan. We have tremendous respect for them. We're just looking forward to getting going.

How do you feel about playing mid-week games and what's the benefit to your program of being on ESPN two weeks in a row?

My thought is whatever gives us the greater opportunity for exposure for our conference. Obviously, on a Wednesday night, having the ability to be on ESPN, I think it's a great showcase for the conference and obviously for Ohio and for Temple. You know, I'm in favor of that. That's where that is. I've never played a Wednesday night game before. I'm sure excited for it. I was saying today it feels a little different. Yesterday on Sunday felt a little different, but you know what, you get into Week 9 of the year, different isn't a bad thing. I'm excited for it, I think it's great for our conference and our programs and I think it's great for college football. People want to watch college football. You want to go home on a Wednesday night, flick on the TV and watch college football. They're going to get a chance to do that. That's terrific.

Some positions stats tell the story and others don't. I think in your situation defensive tackle is one that doesn't. You've been really complimentary of Levi Brown. What are the things you like out of him, tying up blockers and clogging up run gaps and what kind of season do you think he's had?

He's really developed fundamentally. He enjoys the game. When you watch him play … the line of scrimmage. The line of scrimmage has to move one way or the other, and obviously when we're on defense we want to move it. I think he does a great job of that. He demands double teams, I think he's a guy who is playing his best football right now. I'm real pleased with him, and we need him to keep developing and keep being a force inside.

This game features the top two scoring defenses in the MAC. Talk about what you see out of Ohio's defense.

I think when you look at Ohio on defense, you look at a team that plays well together. I really like Noah Keller, to me he seems to be the guy that brings it, he has that juice, that's the way it looks to me on film and they play really, really hard. We are anticipating a team that's going to want to stop the run, and we're going to come out here and have balance. We're going to really make sure we don't play this game one-dimensionally. That doesn't mean we don't want to do what we want to do. But we have to be able to have more balance. We're going to do that. This defense is very physical, and if we just sit there and try to continually pound the rock on them, we're playing into their hands a little bit, obviously, Those are just things we want to do. Their defense is very talented, and I think they play really hard. I love watching teams that play hard. They love the game and they play hard. This team plays hard.

What has this sort-of bye week allowed you to do?

Quite honestly, it's allowed us to rest. We needed to rest. You're in the eighth week of the year and we needed a break. We needed that. There's some guys that needed to get away from this thing physically and mentally for a few days. I would say that's first and foremost. It gave our staff a chance to gather a little bit and take extra time to really think through. Sometimes when you go week to week, you can't reflect back enough to say what are the real changes we need to make? What do we really need to do right now? That gives you that opportunity to take a deep breath and evaluate. I think that's what we were able to do in this period of time is evaluate, schematically, fundamentally, everything. That helped us. Those were two things and obviously I've been able to pay a little attention to recruiting as well. Those things are good.

Was the plan still to keep Bernard out of practice and rest him for Wednesday?

We did our share of that, and as we get ready to roll, it's all hands on deck. Whoever is going to be in that game has to be out there working and getting ready for this game. Like everyone else in the country, you have to be smart. You have to use your head. You don't play a Wednesday game on a Saturday, but in the same breath, we have to get guys working in the game plan.

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