TU SportsDesk Weekly Profile: Phil Snow

Matt Rhule and Phil Snow have been crucial in elevating the Owls’ defensive play

In 2012, the Temple defense ranked dead last in the Big East. With Matt Rhule stepping in for the Owls, a change was needed. Rhule, a 2015 a semi-finalist for the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award, named California native Phil Snow as defensive coordinator to revamp a struggling defense.

Snow and Rhule are familiar friends. Snow was the defensive coordinator for UCLA when Rhule was a graduate assistant in 2001. Rhule was quoted saying “He is one of the finest teachers I have ever been around.”

Snow’s previous collegiate experience includes Boise State, California, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington and Eastern Michigan. He held defensive coordinator positions at ASU, BSU, Washington and Eastern Michigan. Snow left Eastern Michigan to come to Temple.

Sprinkled in Snow’s resume is some professional experience with the Detroit Lions in 2006-2008 in which he served as their linebacker coach.

Snow bounced around between NCAA and NFL teams before landing at Temple

Under Snow as defensive coordinator, the 1996 Arizona State team played in the ’97 Rose Bowl game and finished first in the conference in rush defense (98.0), pass defense (104.2) and total defense (306.2). The Sun Devils finished the season ranked fourth in the nation in both polls.

One thing that has been steady since the arrival of Phil Snow in 2013 has been the Owls defense. From 2013 to 2014, Temple’s defense jumped from 105th to 23rd in the nation in total yards, the result being an average 17.5 points per game. Only five other schools in the country allowed fewer points to opponents in 2014.

This year, Temple’s defense has thrived yet recently received some uncharacteristic blows at the hands of conference rivals SMU and USF, who combined for 84 points in 2 weeks. The first 8 weeks of the season, opponents combined for just 122 points. Dropping to 2nd in both rushing and total defense in the conference, the Owls will have their hands full once again this week against Memphis. Ranking 8th in total offense in the country, the Tigers have averaged an impressive 43.7 points per game. Only 4 offenses have averaged more points per game in the country.

Temple faces arguably its biggest test of the year tomorrow as they will take on Memphis. The Tigers boast 8th best total offense in the nation and are scoring over 40 points per game. With Paxton Lynch standing tall with 23 TDs and only 3 INTs on the year, Snow’s bunch will have to face the music, as Temple controls their own destiny in the right to play for the AAC Championship.

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