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Monday, August 26, 2013

Learning New Math at #Temple University

There is a new form of math being taught at Temple University.

99=9 …. 15=5 …. 87=4.

You don't understand? I'll explain.

Levi Brown was the first to change his jersey number; he went from 99 to 9. Today, Jalen Fitzpatrick (15 to 5) andRyan Alderman (87 to 4) joined him. They were not doing it to hide from the coaches, not to confuse scouts attending practice, and not to avoid the media. They were assigned these new jersey numbers because they are thought of by their coaches as some of the toughest players on the team.

Upon returning to Temple University as the head coach this season, Matt Rhule asked his seniors what they would like to see for the football team. Among the suggestions was a return to the numbers 1-9 designation that was instituted by former head coach Al Golden.

"It's a rite of passage for those guys," said Temple head coach Matt Rhule. "It's something that they've earned. The coaches will pick about four or five players and we will let the players vote on the last three. We have a lot of deserving players."

Senior wide receiver Ryan Alderman, a Downington, PA, native, is the quintessential story of a guy who puts in the hard work and constantly overachieves. In 2010, the 5-9, 175-pounder was a walk-on and played in all 36 games through the first three years of his college career. He already earned his degree in finance this past Spring. He's the kind of leader that everyone on the team can admire.

When asked about changing from his familiar number 87 Alderman replied, "It's really what it means more than the number. It's an honor; I was extremely humbled by it. When I was a freshman [and] sophomore, we had this tradition. Those guys were guys I really looked up to and wanted to be like. The fact that I am in their position now really means a lot. I just want to make my teammate really proud with it and help lead us to some wins this year. "

For Jalen Fitzpartick, the change to jersey number 5 marks a return for him. After wearing the number for two seasons, the junior wide receiver had to wear number 15 this Spring before earning the number 5 back during training camp. The Harrisburg, PA, product is one of the most exciting and talented players on the Owls' roster. Last season he averaged 12.1-yards per catch on 30 catches. This season in a pro-style offense, he is expected to make even more big plays. He also serves as a dynamic return man.

"I was a little bit surprised," said Fitzpatrick. "It means a lot knowing that I am [thought of as] one of the toughest nine on the team. It's a great honor to be wearing it. I just came out here and worked hard every day. When I stood in front of the team I just told them it was a great honor and I was going to represent one of the numbers well."

One player that cannot be recognized in the same fashion is sophomore center Kyle Friend. In both college and pro football, offensive linemen must wear numbers between 50-79. Said Rhule, "One thing I will say is that Kyle Friend– it's a shame that he can't wear a single digit because he would be number one. He is as tough as a guy as I've ever been around. But our players recognize that the O-linen can't [wear single digits]."

SOURCE - Temple Athletics  

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