Thursday, April 11, 2013
Temple staff's 'Olympics' a hit
By Matt Fortuna
Matt Rhule wanted to make sure his players were having enough fun. He was a little more than two months into his new job, spring ball was 16 days away and he did not want to sense any drudgery among his Temple players before his first practices with them ever took place.
"So I called out two coaches," Rhule told ESPN.com, "and gave the offense and defense points based on which coach won and one guy led into another, and the players got so into it. We kept it going, and from there we turned it into an Olympics.
"Once [running backs coach] Tyree [Foreman] pulled his hammy I knew it'd be on video. So we turned it into a video and put it on Internet. It wasn't planned out, but at the end of a tough day it turned into this."
Assistant coaches ran sprints, suicide races and did pushups against each other. NFL highlights, movie clips and fake workout videos were then interspersed between the competitions, making for a YouTube video that has gone viral (more than 3,500 hits) and generated another level of camaraderie among a team under a first-year head coach.
Will Ferrell makes an appearance via the power of technology. So, too, does Deion Sanders.
But absent from the action is the man who put it all together, Rhule -- much to the dismay of those close to him.
"I've gotten so many calls," he said. "My mother, my father, they all want to know why I wasn't in the Olympics. I told them it's because I was smart.
"But I am in the other video, I think play No. 7. I get an interception. Maybe I'll put that on the Internet."
Yes, there is another video in the making; one that has yet to see the light of day.
Rhule said the staff later went at it in football drills and compiled a top-10 highlight reel, set to theme of "SportsCenter" and dubbed over with voices of ESPN personalities.
The parody motivational videos are a nice spin-off of what has slowly become a spring staple among many college football programs, but Rhule says it is all in the name of fun, connecting the new staff with the players by showing that they are all on the same page.
"I feel like football is hard, but it should be fun," Rhule said. "And things can be hard and fun at the same time, and I think when you have a really good team, they're having fun doing it. And we want to show our players we can do hard things and have fun as well. We have a staff that guys can relate to."