It usually takes a lot for me to get up out of my seat and leave a Temple football game.
On Friday, it took something as little as a water bottle fight.
Oh, the score (41-13) at the time was bad enough, but watching two Temple players laughing and having a water bottle fight was worse. Just as I was shaking my head, two more Temple players were laughing and posing for cameras.
Shaking my head. SMH as they say on the internet.
I got up and left, thinking this was the end of the Temple brand. Was Temple ever down 41-13 during the decade-long run revival of Temple TUFF? Yep. But not with this nonchalant attitude on display for all to see. To be sure, Temple TUFF existed during the Wayne Hardin and Bruce Arians Eras but the brand was revived by Al Golden and pretty much embraced by Steve Addazio, Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins.
I guess Temple was down at least once 41-13 during each of the Golden, Rhule, Daz, and Collins eras but back then the mood on the sideline reflected the numbers on the scoreboard.
Sure, but I never remember laughing and posing and water bottle fights. I remember a lot of yelling and thrown helmets during those few occasions.
Golden, Daz, Rhule, and Collins pretty much had that stuff locked down. If what happened on the sidelines happened during, say, Rhule’s tenure, he would have turned around and gone ballistic. I knew it. You knew it. Everyone knew it. Basically, that’s why it did not happen.
At the time, Rod Carey was busy folding his arms and looking up at the sky. Maybe he was looking for another flyover of jets.
Golden made sure all the players, subs and starters, were literally locked into what was happening on the field by having them interlock their arms, swaying back and forth and cheering for the team while the other Owls were on the field. It was part of the brand.
One last look at Temple TUFF before it goes away forever.
Friday’s incident–forever known in my mind as the water bottle fiasco–was the best illustration of a lack of discipline but it wasn’t the only one. You can’t have one guy called for two offsides and another guy getting an offside on a possible score that would have cut the halftime lead to possibly 17-14.
You can’t be on the short end of scores like 63-21, 45-21 and 55-13 without some level of quitting involved. You can’t quit and then spend the second half laughing on the sidelines.
“They were really hot on the Temple fan facebook page,” one of the members messaged me. “Only people who are not upset are the Temple players.”
“That’s a big part of the problem,” I messaged back.
Not everyone. There are plenty of guys who care but half of them don’t seem to show it and the coaches don’t seem to notice.
The record books will say this was an 8-5 season but was this an 8-5 season equal to last year’s 8-5 season? I think not. Temple TUFF does not lose 63-21 or 55-13.
Last year, that 63-21 loss to UCF at home was a 52-40 loss to a better UCF team on the road a game that was in doubt pretty much until the end. After starting this season 5-1, this team finished 3-4. Last year’s team finished 5-2. You should get better, not worse, as the season progresses. There was no SMU game last year but the UNC equivalent (Duke) involved a staff whose minds were elsewhere.
So, too, apparently are the minds of this staff. The problem is their bodies are still here. They are going to have to revive a brand that we thought was revived. From the looks of the sideline six rows up Friday, it’s going to be a harder job than I thought.
Wednesday: New Year, New Problems
Saturday: Resumption of Twice a Week Posting Schedule