Herbin reboots, ready to be a big part of Temple's offense

Posted: August 14, 2014

KHALIF HERBIN came to Temple's football program as a decorated high school offensive machine. At only 5-7, the wide receiver set the school record at Montclair (N.J.) High School for career touchdowns with 70.

As a freshman at Temple under then-coach Steve Addazioin 2012, he was one of only 14 freshmen to play. He was a member of the kick- and punt-return units, showing flashes of excitement, but netting only 58 yards on the season.

When Matt Rhule succeeded Addazio, there was a decision to be made on Herbin's future. With a new playbook being introduced, Temple decided to redshirt Herbin for his sophomore year.

"He was as exciting a high school player as I had ever seen," Rhule said. "Last year, we made the decision, because he had a little bit of a bad back - and it would be better for him in the long run academically and maturity-wise - it would be good for him to sit a year and have a fifth year down the road."

Despite being initially unhappy about the decision, Herbin understood the reasoning, and took the idea and ran with it. He used the opportunity to put on weight, which he needs as a smaller player.

"I don't think any player would be happy about being redshirted, but I think it was the best thing for me," said Herbin, who has three seasons of eligibility remaining. "It gave me a year to put on some weight and do some real training in the weight room, because I didn't have that the year before. I gained some real strength from it."

He continued: "It gave me a chance for the pressure to be off me for once. I got to actually review the playbook in my own time. When a player doesn't know the system and know the plays, it is hard for them to play as fast as they want to play. I feel like I can play as fast as I want to play, because I know everything that is expected of me and everything that I need to do."

With Herbin's knowledge of the system and his strength at an all-time high, the expectations for what he can do this season are high, as well.

"I am expecting him to be a dynamic playmaker," Rhule said. "I try not to put pressure on guys, but he is ready for it.

"We look for him to be a guy we can put all over the field," Rhule added. "I don't watch a ton of the sports media TV this time of year, but I try to watch the Eagles when I can. He'll be like a [Darren] Sproles. He'll line up there in the backfield and we will try to do the same things that Chip [Kelly] is doing with him."

Herbin, who also ran track in high school, is excited for his role with the Owls this year. While Rhule has goals for him as a player, Herbin said he is putting aside personal goals this year.

"I am doing everything that my coach asks me to do," Herbin said. "If he wants me to run down, I'll do that. If he wants me to return punts, play receiver, play running back - whatever coach needs me to do is what I'm going to do."

Watching from the sideline last season as the team struggled to a 2-10 record was tough for Herbin. He could not help but think he could have made one play out there to change the course of the game. He found himself in tears after a couple of the Owls' heartbreaking losses. He has high hopes for what he can bring to the team this year to give it that little extra push to win close games.

"I am coming in as a selfless individual," Herbin said. "It isn't about me, it is about the team. Everybody has gotten better. We have improved as a team. I feel like we are jelling."

On Twitter: @AndrewJAlbert01

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