It never quite feels like football season has arrived until one team starts lobbing salvos at their opponent through the media. Well, the Temple Owl football team is officially welcoming us to the 2017 season with some rather aggressive remarks this week. And it’s glorious.
It’s important to understand, not all bulletin board material is created equal. Players know when a guy is expressing confidence in their team and when he is flat out disrespecting the opponent. Phrases like “we expect to go in there and win the game”, are technically bulletin board material–he’s essentially predicting a victory–but that won’t get anyone’s attention. It falls in the category of “what do you expect him to say?”
But, Temple? They are going beyond the normal platitudes and I support it 100%.
We Are Going To Kick Their A**
Starting corner Kareem Ali got things started yesterday in an interview with CSNPhily.com with not just a prediction of victory, but also the manner in which it will be achieved.
We know we have nothing to lose. We are going to go hard, we’re going to kick their ass.
As a player, this will raise some eyebrows. That’s not a throw away quote, especially the way the climate is now with the media making any kind of snipe a big deal, and coaches censoring what players say.
Now, usually what happens in this instance is the quote gets circulated, the coach makes a comment that he doesn’t want to give Notre Dame any more motivation, and things shut down.
Not so fast my friend.
New starting linebacker Shaun Bradley lobbed another shot towards his counterparts in not only predicting victory, but a blowout for the 17 point underdog Owls.
Temple LB predicts Owls will win in a blowout. Don't think ND has a bulletin board in its new locker room, but still. https://t.co/NutsLtrqGP
— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) August 30, 2017
I want to reiterate for the third time, I am all in on Temple letting their feelings be known ahead of time. They aren’t playing the quiet confidence game. They are calling their shot. And let’s be real, when a 17 point underdog is about to come to your stadium and they are talking about blowing you out and kicking your butt, that’s disrespect. And it’s also not false bravado, they genuinely believe it.
It’s exactly the type of thing Notre Dame needs.
What I’d Like Notre Dame To Say, But Won’t
Here’s a sample of things Irish players could respond with, but likely won’t because Brian Kelly doesn’t run that type of program.
Nyles Morgan – My team welcomes any challenge by anyone to come and kick our a**. Kickoff is at 3:43 on Saturday, we’ll be there on time and as scheduled. I suggest a heavy breakfast.
Mike McGlinchey – He can say what he feels, which I welcome not just from him, but anyone, and yes I take it as disrespect. The guy said they were going to blow us out in our stadium. How am I supposed to take it?
Equanimeous St. Brown – Well, the young man is my direct opposition, so it was especially meaningful in that respect. All I have to say is this (insert a quote from a proverb in a foreign language).
Brandon Wimbush – I’m all about that action, boss.
Please note: I said could and that no one at Notre Dame has responded in such a manner.
Seriously, It Was Disrespectful
I don’t want to play the “Notre Dame needs to come out and blow this team away to send a message to the team and the fans” game. This isn’t a movie. And this isn’t about sending a message. They’ll play how they play, and I expect their best effort regardless.
But, I do want them to notice a 17 point dog is talking about running them out of Notre Dame stadium. And I want them to take it personal, because it is personal. Because if Temple feels that way, then every other team feels that way too. And for good reason. They were a soft program last year.
One of the most famous Lou Holtz locker room speeches came in his first season against Michigan, when he talked about respect. Hopefully Notre Dame carries that mindset, not just against Temple, but throughout the year.