Still On Track

Steve Addazio

Steve Addazio has preached patience throughout this season's rushed transition to the Big East Conference. After three straight losses in which Temple allowed at least 35 points in each of them, the coach is committed to staying the course, saying he feels if anything the Owls are ahead of schedule.

Steve Addazio has preached patience throughout this season's rushed transition to the Big East Conference.

After three straight losses in which Temple allowed at least 35 points in each of them, the coach is committed to staying the course, saying he feels if anything the Owls are ahead of schedule.

Temple takes a 3-5 record and 2-3 Big East record into this Saturday's home game against Cincinnati. The Owls started their return to the Big East with upset wins over South Florida and Connecticut.

"I knew this would be competitive," said Addazio on Monday's Big East Conference call. "We had a little bit of a double whammy, but that's fine. We embraced it.

"We had to reload our team. No matter what league we were in, this was going to be a rebuilding year. Then we're up a level in the Big East. It was a challenge, but it's one we wanted. It's the best thing for us and the University in the big picture.

"I think we're ahead of schedule, we were able to beat two teams that where established in this conference and we weren't. We were picked to be dead last and I understood why we would be. We've competed admirably. We were beating Rutgers 10-0, we were really playing well at Louisville and kind of crumbled.

"It's (lack of) depth, and young guys playing. I don't think we're real far off. Other coaches in this league have told me that. We're playing hard, we're competing and it's a tough, great foundation."

The Owls played their fourth straight game last week and with a young team short on depth might be feeling the effects of a long season.

"It could be. ... I think we played No. 15 (in the country), then the No. 10 team. In Pittsburgh, I thought I saw a little of that, so I trimmed back practice, but I didn't feel it in Louisville and Rutgers. We were exchanging blows with explosive teams.

"It's really more about teaching guys how fragile it is. It's just a handful of plays and all of the sudden the complexity of game is different. We've made some freshman mistakes. I won't chastise them, but it creates a level of inconsistency. It's not physicalness. It's not toughness. This team plays really hard. Consistency and depth are a bit of a problem, but I can't do anything about (depth) right now."

Addazio hopes to address that depth issue with a strong recruiting class in February. But now, it's all about staying the course.

"Losing three in a row is something I thought could happen, but as a competitor you don't want to lose one," said Addazio. "Think big, focus small, that's what we have to do right now."

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