Very little can interrupt Rod Carey’s train of thought when the first-year Temple football coach is preparing for an opponent.
Even news of the school’s first Top 25 ranking since December 2016 somehow eluded Carey for hours.
During Monday’s American Athletic Conference teleconference, Carey was asked his reaction to being ranked No. 25 on Sunday in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
“Somebody told me that last night,” he said. “I really didn’t pay attention to it, and now I know.”
Last night? The poll came out early Sunday afternoon, before the 1 p.m. kickoff of the Eagles game in Minnesota.
“I was watching film for 11-12 hours [Sunday],” Carey said. "I didn’t check email and don’t do stuff like that on Sunday. We have a schedule for the team, and I didn’t know until last night.”
Still, he appreciates the attention for his program. “Don’t get me wrong. We are certainly happy,” he said.
But, he continued ...
“That number doesn’t mean anything on Saturday when we kick the ball off,” he said. “We are happy, flattered, and didn’t pay much attention to it.”
Temple (5-1, 2-0 AAC) will visit SMU (6-0, 2-0) at 3:30 Saturday, the second straight week Temple is playing a ranked team. Saturday, the Owls beat No. 23 Memphis, 30-28, at Lincoln Financial Field.
While Temple isn’t ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, SMU, which was idle this past week, is No. 19 in both the AP and Coaches polls.
Temple left guard Jovahn Fair, who left the game in the third quarter Saturday with what Carey terms a “lower body injury,” didn’t practice Monday.
Fair, a graduate student who has started 36 games, was replaced by redshirt junior Leon Pinto.
“I would expect him maybe [to practice] tomorrow but probably Wednesday," Carey said of Fair.
The coach added that Fair definitely has a chance to play Saturday.
Temple redshirt sophomore Will Mobley was named AAC special-teams player of the week.
Mobley was perfect on three field-goal and three PAT attempts in the Owls’ win over Memphis. His field goals came from 31, 29 and 44 yards.
This year, he is 7-for-8 on field goals and has made all 20 conversion kicks.
Temple junior cornerback Harrison Hand made the AAC honor roll, after recording a team-high nine tackles, with two tackles for loss, as well as an interception, a forced fumble and a pass breakup against Memphis.