There might not be a more versatile player on Temple's football team than redshirt senior Romond Deloatch. This season, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound product of Phoebus High in Hampton, Va., moved from wide receiver to tight end.
But during a game, he could still line up wide, in the slot, or as a fullback. On Saturday, he added a new role - sack master.
On the final play of the first half of a 48-20 win over visiting Charlotte, Deloatch earned a sack when he was inserted at defensive end. It was Temple's only sack of the game.
Now, that's versatility.
"It felt good," Deloatch said earlier this week. "Coach [Matt] Rhule called me and I was shocked."
He shouldn't have been too shocked because Deloatch has been working on defense since the spring. All that extra defensive duty paid off.
"It was an opportunity to make a play and I made a play," he said.
Still, Deloatch's main contribution comes on offense. As a tight end, he has six receptions for 133 yards, but his in last two games Deloatch has made the biggest impact. In the Owls' 34-27 loss at Penn State, he had a 67-yard reception that he almost took to the house. He was tackled on the Penn State 8-yard line and teammate Jahad Thomas scored a rushing touchdown on the next play.
"I thought I was going all the way and started getting tired and couldn't get that second wind," he said.
At tight end, Deloatch is better able to create defensive mismatches with his speed.
"He is just a matchup problem for linebackers at times," quarterback Phillip Walker said. "He is big and physical and has the ability to make big plays."
On Saturday, the Owls (2-2) host Southern Methodist (2-2) in the first American Athletic Conference game for both teams.
Last year, Temple earned a 60-40 win at SMU and Deloatch contributed with a 16-yard touchdown reception, his first of the season.
Deloatch had 20 receptions for 155 yards and three touchdowns last year, and most of his production came at the second half of the season.
During his career, Deloatch and Rhule have had their differences, but this year things have changed.
"I love Romond," Rhule said. "We have battled four years, just battled over everything."
This year, the two came to an agreement that has strengthened their relationship.
"We made a decision that I was going to become his position coach and we were going to hang out every day and it has been night and day," Rhule said. "It has probably been less him changing and more me changing, I hate to admit, but as a man I changed my approach."
When Deloatch earned his sack last week, Rhule was among the first to greet him with a chest bump. "I did the chest bump and almost couldn't walk at halftime," Rhule said, laughing.
Rhule says that Deloatch will be used as a nickel pass rusher, although the coach is not sure it can happen against SMU, which employs a hurry-up offense.
In addition to playing offense and defense, Deloatch is also a key special-teams performer.
"The biggest thing is he has decided to focus on details, on what it takes to play," Rhule said.
Deloatch says he has spent considerable time at practice working on defense. Most of all he is enjoying the extra duty.
"I want to give guys a breather on defense, and on offense I want to do my job at tight end and receiver," he said. "So it's fun playing both sides of the ball and also special teams."
Nominated. Center Brendan McGowan was one of six players nominated for the William V. Campbell Award, which is presented by the National Football Foundation to the nation's best scholar-athlete in football.