Matt Rhule explains why Temple defends the triple-option every day

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday August 18, 2016

Temple opens the season with Army and plays in the same league as Navy, so they’ll play against the triple-option, but Matt Rhule says his teams are always prepared for it.

When going against a service academy, you have to be assignment-sound, see the ball and watch for cut blocks. Rhule told SiriusXM College Sports Nation that it’s not a unique preparation. It’s always a part of his defense’s daily work.

We do it every day. We walk through it every day. We practice it every day,” he said. “One of the great things that happened to me as a young coach was coming up in the old Southern Conference. When I was at Western Carolina (from 2002-05), Geoff Collins was our defensive coordinator, now the defensive coordinator at Florida.”

And who was in that league?

We had to stop Georgia Southern, Furman, Wofford, so we learned early on that you’d better do it every day, so it’s just part of your DNA,” Rhule said. “Your kids don’t have to think. They know how we play it. It’s all fundamentals, technique and tremendous assignment discipline. It’s the same approach we’ve taken here.”

Navy isn’t on the schedule, but could be the opponent if Temple makes the AAC title game again. In three years, Rhule has taken Temple from 2-10 to 6-6 to 10-4 (including a 31-24 loss to Navy in the second season). QB P.J. Walker will be a senior among 14 returning starters this year.

Temple put itself in the mix for Big 12 expansion, but Rhule looks at the AAC as a big-time league now, and the same with his team. Facilities are getting upgraded, and the program is getting amenities like virtual reality.

“We’re a pretty big-time place, in our opinion,” Rhule said. “We think we’re better than most programs in a lot of areas.”

Temple’s schedule begins with home games against Army and Stony Brook, before a trip to Penn State, where the Owls will look for a second straight win against the Nittany Lions.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to