On one hand Steve Addazio says when Temple travels to Connecticut Saturday it’ll be just another game. On the other, he knows that’s not true.
Not when he’s going back to the state where he was born, started coaching and raised his family for 35 years.
Not when he’s going against his mentor, UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni.
Not when three members of his staff, and freshman star linebacker Tyler Matekevich, all hail from Connecticut.
The Huskies (3-3) present enough challenges for a Temple team still savoring its first Big East victory since being kicked out of the conference way back in 2004.
“They have seven starters back on offense and eight on defense, so they’re a lot more experienced than we are,” said Addazio. “We’re playing against a team coached by arguably one of the finest coaches in the [Big East] conference and maybe the country. Coach P. started me in this business and I wouldn’t be where I am now without him. He taught me how to be a football coach.”
The Addazio-Pasqualoni relationship dates back to Western Connecticut in the mid-80s, followed by Syracuse a decade later, where Addazio became offensive line coach for three seasons. Two of Addazio’s current assistants also worked under Pasqualoni.
But all that familiarity will take a backseat when the Owls (2-2) attempt to contain UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer, running back Lyle McCombs and receiver Geremy Davis, while exploiting a defense keyed by Big East sack leader Travardo Williams.
Temple will rely on running back Montel Harris (133 yards, two TDs) last Saturday and quarterback Chris Coyer, who went 16-for-20 for 167 yards, while rushing and throwing for scores.
“That’s a great confidence builder and hopefully we can maintain it,” said Addazio. “But we’re a work in progress.”
Just a few other notes from Temple football before they take on UConn:
Coach Steve Addazio said he is hoping to get RB Matt Brown back for Saturday’s game. Brown sprained an ankle in Temple’s 37-28 upset of South Florida.
Defensive tackle Kamal Johnson won’t be allowed to play or practice until assault and kidnapping charges against him are resolved.
He has seven tackles.