Temple RB Pierce focused on New Mexico Bowl
Bernard Pierce can’t say whether Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl
against Wyoming will be his final college game before he makes a
bid for the NFL.
Either way, Temple’s junior running back is determined to make
the game a special one.
”It’s not about me,” said Pierce, who totaled 1,381 yards and
a school-record 25 touchdowns this season. ”It’s about the team. I
don’t have to impress anybody. A win is a win no matter how many
points or how you win. It’s just a win.”
Pierce is part of a backfield tandem with Matt Brown that
finished seventh in the country in rushing for Temple (8-4).
That’s what Wyoming (8-4) is determined to stop, said Cowboys
coach Dave Christensen.
”They want to establish the run first,” he said. ”I
understand that. They have two backs who are very good, then they
want to work in the play action.”
Although Pierce and Brown gain their yards differently, the Owls
approach the offense the same way no matter who’s carrying the
”It doesn’t matter to us,” said first-year Temple coach Steve
Addazio. ”We run the same plays. They’re different styles of back.
You run power with both backs, but it’s a different deal. One is a
low, slicing runner. The other is little bit bigger, more powerful,
but they’re both good.”
Still, this isn’t quite the way Addazio envisioned the offense
working as he took his first head coaching job.
”What we always wanted to be was a power run team with a spread
option component and, of course, a spread vertical pass game that
we’re trying to head to,” he said. ”We’re not here yet. The
passing game part of it is not there yet. Part of it is that is
because we’ve been able to dominate in the run game. Sometimes you
get out ahead of people. I’m going to put the power run game in,
kill the clock and get off the field.”
Wyoming’s passing attack, however, is fully matured, even if
it’s powered by a freshman quarterback in Brett Smith.
”But as the quarterback, whether you’re a freshman or senior,
the team looks to you in adversity and if you’re down, the team is
going to be down so I really make it a point to not get super
frustrated and have that rub off on the team,” he said. ”I want
to stay super positive and lead the team.”
Smith has done a good job of that so far this season, but he
knows he faces a tremendous challenge against the country’s
third-best scoring defense.
”What I’ve seen is they’re extremely fast. They move really
well side to side so we have to move north to south as opposed to
east and west,” he said. ”Also, for me, they do a really good job
of disguising their coverages so they’ll look like they’ll be in
something then at the stop they’ll run into something different,
which can confuse a lot of teams.”
Likewise, Pierce knows he won’t have an easy time of it against
the Cowboys defense.
”They do like to do a lot of twists so I’m going to have to
make sure that I stay on my marks and make sure I run downhill
because they are a fast team,” he said. ”So sideline to sideline
might not work too well.”