Temple football team meets fans at Shore

Posted: July 10, 2012

OCEAN CITY, N.J. - They came, they saw, and they sweated.

In sauna-like weather, Temple fans spent a few hours Sunday at the Ocean City Music Pier getting autographs and posters and taking photos of the Owls football team.

Other than the sweltering heat, and people occasionally walking by wearing Penn State gear, this was a great display of support for the Philadelphia-area's Bowl Championship Series program.

"This actually is my first time down here," said Temple quarterback Chris Coyer, a junior from Oak Hill, Va. "It's fun. I really didn't know what to expect. I know a bunch of the guys have been down here before. But it's been fun so far signing autographs for the guys around here."

But according to preseason conference predictions, this could be near the end of the Owls' enjoyment.

Phil Steele, Athlon, and College Football News predict that Temple will finish last in the eight-team Big East. This season marks the Owls' return to the conference as a football member after five years as a football-only member of the Mid-American Conference.

Even though it averaged 8.6 wins the last three seasons, Temple returns just eight starters from last season's squad. And there's a thought that the competition level in the Big East is superior to the MAC's competition level.

Being doubted "is nothing new to us," Coyer said. "We still have the same mind-set [as in the last three seasons]. We are going to go out and try to be the toughest team on the field every time we go out there.

"That's the way we play. And that's the way we are going to keep playing."

The redshirt junior said he expects Temple to be in every game this season with a chance to win.

So does defensive tackle Shahid Paulhill, who enjoys being doubted.

"We don't want anything given to us," the redshirt junior said. "So if they want to pick us last, we will earn our way to the top just by working hard, playing physical, and just by playing Temple and Philly football."

The Owls will focus on proving their doubters wrong once the season begins Aug. 31 with the Mayor's Cup against Villanova at Lincoln Financial Field. Temple opens conference play Oct. 6 against South Florida at the Linc.

Sunday was a time to relax with their fans.

"We got to come out to the beach and see what the fans really look like," Paulhill said. "When we are on the field, we don't really see what's out there.

"So a little one-on-one interaction never hurts."

Contact Keith Pompey at 215-854-2939 or kpompey@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @pompeysgridlock. Read his blog, "Owls Inq," at www.philly.com/OwlsInq

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