What Temple coach Geoff Collins is saying

Coach Geoff Collins assembles the team during warm-ups at a practice.

What Temple coach Geoff Collins said Tuesday at his news conference:

On how  Derrek Thomas is doing after not playing last week:

“Cornerback Derrek Thomas traveled with the team on Saturday but didn’t play due to injury. Three months ago in a similar situation, I don’t know if he would be this far along his rehab. It is something that clicked inside of him that he is really getting closer, closer and closer. Just his maturity level, how important it is, how important his teammates are to him.”

On why cornerback Kareem Ali from Timber Creek High hasn’t seen action this year:

“He is banged up. He is great kid. He wants to be out there; we want him to be out there. He has been banged up for a while and is out there trying to get rehabbed. It is really killing him because he loves the team, loves his teammates.”


On running back Ryquell Armstead, who was limited to four carries on Saturday, and where is he in terms of managing pain.

“He is working and fighting every day. He lives in the training room and always has. He is a kid that just religiously takes care of his body. Playing running back at this level, you are going to get hit a lot. So, he is just trying to make sure that he is taking care of his body and putting him in a position to play because he wants to play. He is one of the most competitive kids I have ever been around. So he wants to be out there with his teammates. But we have plans in place, different things that we do, different things that we have been working with different guys, just in case Rock isn’t able to go. But we are hoping and pulling for him to be ready for Saturday.”

On tight end Jake Robinson, who saw extensive action Saturday:

“We had another tight end, Chris Myarick [who didn’t play], got banged up in pregame warm-ups. You guys see we get after it in pregame warm-ups. Jake came in and played at a high level for us, which was good to see.”

On sophomore receiver Isaiah Wright earning the No. 1 jersey this week for his production, toughness and dedication:

“Even though he is highly productive, makes a lot of plays for us — everybody recognizes him for the special plays he makes all year — but it is his work ethic, what he does every day in practice. We wear a catapult [monitoring] system, which measures the kids’ effort, the distance traveled, their workload, their top speed, the number of times they hit their top speed every single day in practice. Since preseason camp, he has been one of the top three in every single category on a daily basis, so the kid who is going to wear No. 1 for us this week is Isaiah Wright.”

On the challenges in defending a UConn offense averaging 28.4 points per game:

“I say it is a very difficult offense. They go tempo. It is a ton of formations to the sideline. It is a ton of funky formations to get you out leverage and they do kinds of motions and shifts to mess with your eyes, so you have to be really clean with all of our fits and all of our keys.”

On fullback Nick Sharga: “He is one of the best fullbacks in college football. He is actually one of the best kickoff coverage guys in college football. This is a stat I don’t know if a lot of people know about: He is one of the top 10 tacklers in college football on kickoff coverage. So he is special. What he does for us on punt team, the things we do, we are getting him more involved. He is a special player.”