Here’s the list of good things we can see the Owls do for the first time under Rod Carey tomorrow:
For the first time in my memory of Temple football and that’s, err, 40-plus years, we have gone through an entire spring and summer practice without anyone wearing Cherry or White getting hit.
That’s only a little exaggeration because although there have been some sleds hit and some people blocked, there hasn’t been a single tackle to the ground under Carey so far in any practice or scrimmage.
It was all done in the hope of limiting injuries, but it is a gamble nonetheless. In his first season at Temple, Bruce Arians had plenty of hitting before his first game–a 17-6 win over Syracuse at Franklin Field–but none the week before a 35-0 loss to Pitt.
“Dumb mistake by a rookie head coach,” Arians said.
After that game, the Owls had their most physical practice of the season and Arians never let the pedal off the hitting medal in his five years on the job.
Different strokes for different folks and college football’s rules for practicing have changed significantly since the 80s but we will see hitting Saturday (3 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field, ESPN+). At stake is the old shoe, which must be pretty smelly because it’s been in McGonigle Hall and Edberg-Olson Hall for over 50 years.
But back what happened after Arians had his own epiphany on hitting in practices.
The Owls went on to beat Pitt three of the next four seasons under Arians and have two winning seasons against what was then rated as a top-10 national schedule.
The Owls will learn pretty much nothing from the exercise as they enter the game as a 40-point favorite and I fully expect them to challenge the team’s 82 points scored in an 82-28 win over Bucknell in 1966. Last year, Bucknell lost to both Penn (34-17) and Villanova (49-7) and a professionally coached Temple team should exceed those numbers by a lot.
This is a professionally coached Temple team but they won’t get to 82, probably because Carey will probably do something creative like take three knees on the 1 a few times in the fourth quarter if the Lincoln Financial Field scoreboard is about to break.
In a game that probably should have never been scheduled, Temple 65, Bucknell 14.
At least the hitting should knock some rust off before Maryland.
We won’t find that out for sure until Sept. 14.
Sunday: Game Analysis
Wednesday: Most Impressive Rookies