Redshirt senior Rob Ritrovato has worked his way up the ladder at Temple, beginning as a walk-on linebacker and earning a scholarship last season at his current position, running back.

Besides being a punishing runner and arguably the Owls' top blocking back, he is also among the top special-teams performers. Here are a few questions with the 5-foot-11, 240-pound graduate of West Chester East.

Question: During the preseason, you received a single-digit number that Temple awards for toughness and dedication to the program. How did that feel?

Ritrovato: It was a great feeling and something you work for when you come to a place like this that puts such an emphasis on toughness and doing the right thing on and off the field on a daily basis. It was one of the best days at Temple and means a lot to me personally.

Off to an 0-2 start, how is the mood of the team?

RR: We are focused on going 1-0 this week and have had two games we know we let slip away, but those are in the past and we can't worry about that. We are only worried about going 1-0 right now.

Temple LB Todd Jones (40) pursues RB Rob Ritrovato during a training-camp practice.
Marc Narducci
Temple LB Todd Jones (40) pursues RB Rob Ritrovato during a training-camp practice.

You play with reckless abandon on special teams. What is your mindset?

RR: It is something I always tried to do. I played on kickoff and kickoff return as a true freshman as a walk-on, and what came off the tape was my effort. That is the reason I played; I gave great effort. I wasn't one of the fastest guys especially as a freshman, but I came in, ran down, and executed my job. It is something I still do today.

You have one of the great nicknames, Nitro. Who gave you that nickname and how did it come about?

RR: That was my linebackers coach, Coach [Mike] Siravo, when I first got here. When I came here, especially as a walk-on, I knew I had to stand out somehow. So I had this outrageously long hair, and Coach Siravo said, "You look like Nitro from American Gladiators." So it was kind of a funny thing that the nickname stuck.

What has been your greatest memory as a member of the Temple football team?

RR: It's tough. There have been a lot of good ones. Just being part of that [2016 American Athletic Conference] championship team a couple of years ago, getting on scholarship, getting single digit, those are the three top things for sure. But every day, all the time with these guys, whether it has been my time as a freshman until now. Hanging out with guys like Tyler Matakevich, Matt Ioannidis, just great guys all over the place who are doing great things in the NFL and the working world, and it has been a great experience being here with a bunch of great guys.