Temple = Respect

Head coach Rich Rodriguez is impressed with what the Temple program has accomplished over the past couple of seasons.

"Temple is a team that has improved tremendously over last few years. They have a lot of good players and are well coached," Rodriguez said on Monday as he looked forward to the Owls.

Two of those players are running back Tanardo Sharps and defensive lineman Dan Klecko, who are among the nation's best.

"Sharps is a big guy, and smaller defensive backs may have trouble hanging on to him when he gets into the secondary," Rodriguez noted. "He's a complete football player. We need to make sure we don't let him get into the secondary with a big head of steam because he's tough to bring down."

As for Klecko, Rodriguez thinks he could be the best defensive lineman in the country.

"Klecko is one of the most dominating players in college football. He causes so many problems on single blocks. He will be a focus for our offensive line this week, for sure.

Klecko sustained a neck injury against Virginia Tech, and his status for WVU is unclear. If there's any way the tough lineman can get on the field for the Owls, he will.

West Virginia's offensive line will have a challenge in running the blal against the Owls, who contained Virginia Tech's Lee Suggs well. However, Rodriguez is proud of the progress his offensive line has made.

"Our offensive line has gotten better. Coach Rick Trickett has done a great job with them. They are a tough bunch of guys, and a close group. They've bonded well toghther. We're able to make adjustments with them on the fly because this is their second year in the system."

The name Temple used to conjure up images of a glorified off week, but no more. Rodriguez is wary of the Owls, and knows that his team will need to play with the same effort they had against Miami to get a win.

"Temple took it to us pretty good last year, and our guys know they are pretty good. I'm confident our guys will have a good week of practice and be ready to go.

"You have to play hard, play well and play smart all the time these days. That should be the norm and that's what all good football teams have."

Hopefully, the Mountaineers have taken another step toward that level. They defeated two teams they were favored against, and came up with another great effort against Miami. That's three straight weeks of football that was good enough to compete with anyone and hang wins on the board. Rodriguez now will be looking to see if West Virginia can maintain that level of play for the rest of the season.

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