With less than 24-hours before kickoff, Tim O'Malley and Dave Berk discuss the pre-game details…
Connor Reilly could have picked an easier place to make his debut as a starting quarterback on the college level. Probably about 120 easier places on the FBS level, to be exact. But after three years of signaling in plays and holding on field goals, Temple's redshirt junior is going to relish the fact his first critical action as an Owls' signal-caller will come in South Bend, Indiana against the University of Notre Dame. "I think playing in Notre Dame is going to be great, you're just going to have to drown out the noise and the crowd and play with the guys on your football team," said Reilly. "It's definitely going to be a great experience, but once you get on the field and the ball hits my hand it's just a football game. As an offense, we've been grinding it out since the spring and in camp we started at the bottom and worked our way up the ladder. As an offense, we're ready to go on Saturday." First-year coach Matt Rhule, who gave last year's fourth-stringer a shot to win the job, doesn't think the moment will be too big for Reilly. "One of the reasons I have confidence in him is I don't think he looks at things like that," said first-year head coach Matt Rhule. "He just kind of goes out there and plays. The one thing he has to do is not try to win the game on one play, just be the guy no one notices, give the ball to all your athletes and at the end of the game look back and have everybody say he played a great game. It's just calming him down and letting him have fun, and I think he'll do that." Recruited by Al Golden, Reilly didn't fit in coach Steve Addazio's spread offense the last two years and considered transferring, but instead decided to play baseball as a two-sport athlete. He gave up the diamond this year when he found out the starting quarterback position was up for grabs. "We had a team meeting (after Rhule was hired)," recalled Reilly. "He said nobody has a job right now, everything is an open competition. And I smiled and I was happy. When the spring started, I just did what I could do. Coach Rhule's (pro spread) offense was a new breath for me." Reilly knows he has to stay within himself, especially considering the hostile atmosphere he'll see in South Bend. "We're going to go down the field, dink and dunk," said Reilly. "We might take a shot every now and then, but we're going to move the chains. That's our goal, and in the end it will happen." Reilly barely beat out Juice Granger, who finished last season as the starter, for the starting quarterback job as the competition went down to the final scrimmage last Wednesday. Rhule didn't promise Reilly how long he would stick with him if he started slow, but particularly with the junior's on-field inexperience, he'll probably be given a little rope. "I want to say he'll let me play, but we'll see what happens Saturday," said Reilly. "As far as what I can do and the offense can do, we're just trying to move the ball." Granger, a redshirt senior who is in his third year in the program will be ready if his number is called. But he appreciated the strides his competition for the starting quarterback spot has made over the years. "His maturity, he's grown up a lot," said Granger of Reilly. "He has the talent and he's just understanding football a lot more. He's definitely excelled."
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