Homecoming Game

Homecoming Game

Temple head coach Steve Addazio is savvy enough to know there are plenty of good story lines surrounding him as the Owls travel to Connecticut for a 1 p.m. Big East game this Saturday. Still, Addazio knows the most important part of the trip is trying to get his Owls (2-2 overall, 1-0 Big East) a second straight win in the conference after last week's 37-28 victory over South Florida.

Temple head coach Steve Addazio is savvy enough to know there are plenty of good story lines surrounding him as the Owls travel to Connecticut for a 1 p.m. Big East game this Saturday.

Addazio got his start in the coaching business in 1984 under coach Paul Pasqualoni at Division III Western Connecticut and later served under Pasqualoni, now the coach at UConn, when he moved on to Syracuse.

Addazio is also a Farmington, Conn. native who played his college ball at Central Connecticut State, making this a Homecoming game for him.

Still, Addazio knows the most important part of the trip is trying to get his Owls (2-2 overall, 1-0 Big East) a second straight win in the conference after last week's 37-28 victory over South Florida.

"I have all the respect in the world for the opponent, but it's not about that, I don't care about it, I can't wait to get this team ready to play," said Addazio. "I want our program to be 2-0 in the Big East, and we're playing one rough, tough team.

"I've been in this business so long. … I want to play well for my University, my program and my kids. It's not about me. You're darn right I'm proud of where I'm from, but right now I live in Philadelphia, I work for Temple and I love it. I'm not getting a lot of phone calls (from family) because they all know don't bother me.

I'll take a nice trip in January, go get some Sally's Pizza and visit a few aunts and uncles. But there's no time for that now."

Addazio did take time to give Pasqualoni, who he considers a mentor, his due for molding him as a young coach, telling stories of sleeping in the offices at Western Connecticut hollering ‘Good night' over the walls like a scene from ‘The Waltons.'

"Coach P started me in this business and I wouldn't be where I am without him," said Addazio. "I couldn't have had a better start, he taught us how to be coaches. He's tremendously detailed. He's the best there is."

Pasqualoni lavished his own praise on his fromer protégée.

"Steven and I worked together at Western Connecticut first and then Syracuse, and he's a high-energy, motivational, give everything you have kind of guy," said Pasqualoni. "There's no question he had the skill set and ability to be a head coach."

But like Addazio, he'll have no time for nostalgia.

"It's more like get your team ready to play," said Pasqualoni. "With Temple back in the conference, if you get sidetracked with anything else, you might be in trouble."

What this game will come down to though isn't the coaching story lines, but what kind of dent Temple can make in the Huskies' stout defense and whether Connecticut (3-3, 0-1) can get anything going itself offensively.

Connecticut is No. 6 nationally in total defense, Linebacker Yawin Smallwood has 62 tackles, including 11 for loss, four sacks and a forced fumble, while defensive end Trevardo Williams has 6 1/2 sacks.

The Owls could use another big game from running back Montel Harris, who broke out for 133 yards in last week's win over South Florida, and a healthy Matt Brown, who is questionable with an ankle injury.

"You try to do what you do best, but you realize this is a tremendous defense," said Addazio. "They're fantastic. There's not a whole lot of people who are running the ball against them, so you have to open it up and throw it."

However, Connecticut is ranked 101st in the country in total offense – though Maryland is dead last and we know how that turned out for the Owls. The Huskies, who were held to three points against Rutgers last week, are 112th in scoring offense.

Addazio says he sees great players on offense as well, including running back Lyle McCombs and quarterback Chandler Whitmer.

"There's very little margin for error," said Addazio. "We have no chance if we're not completely locked in."

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