2019: Not All 8-5 Seasons Created Equal

Screenshot 2019-12-29 at 8.23.19 PM

Shot of a fairly crowded Temple (Cherry and White-clad fans) side minutes before kickoff (photo contributed by UNC fan Steve Laskowski)

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.

Down 41-13.

Screenshot 2019-12-29 at 8.31.35 PM

The face of this fan on the Temple side pretty much reflected what all who took the time and effort to make the trip felt.

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.

Screenshot 2019-12-29 at 8.49.07 PM

Not a single regular-season loss in last year’s schedule was by more than a dozen points. There were two this year by a combined 66 points.

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


37 thoughts on “2019: Not All 8-5 Seasons Created Equal

  1. The off season will be telling. Who declares for the draft, who comes back for another season, and will several of the injured players be ready for Spring Practice?

    However, the two biggest questions are, will Carey close out the recruiting year with a few four stars, and will he swap out his OC?

    Temple will be royally screwed if Carey makes zero changes to the scheme on offense. Going three and out in 30 seconds will never be Temple Football.

    Last, the Transfer Portal. Temple needs a 10 sack DE, 1000 yd rusher, and faster DBs.

    I believe Carey is a better coach than Daz or Collins. He is not the disciplinarian like AG or MR.

    Right on with the Dunphy comparison, Carey is a just a good, honest, and decent man who will never out recruit the top teams in the conferences. 8-5 and bowl loss calibrates our expectations for 2020 and beyond.

  2. Not sure how many players Carey will be able to sign at National Signing Day. According to Ryan Wallen over on the OwlsDaily forum (247sports) the Owls are at their scholarship limit for next season, I’m assuming Hand and Hennessy declaring for the draft opens up some room.
    As for injured players status for spring practice good write up on the same site (may need a subscription to access)


    Some of the players listed as being ready for spring practices are:
    DBs Kimere Brown and Linwood Crump, WR Randle Jones and RB Onasis Neely.

    LB Isaiah Grahm-Mobley and OG VInce Picozzi also listed as being ready for the spring but will be more cautious with their workloads.

  3. as far as the portal, we need a big-time running back to replace Jager and provide some depth behind Davis. Need other help, but that would seem to be the No. 1 priority.

  4. After the game I went from embarrassed to disgusted. Is a 6-6 NC team that much better in talent then TU? – they moved the ball at-will on us and our D couldn’t stop them (it wasn’t just our 3-and-out O). Even the Rutgers game is no slam dunk now. I said it before and I’ll say it again, the AAC is just right for Temple – the AAC’s ranked best team lost by 2 TDs. We are not ready to move up to a P5 conference and these loses to P5 teams proves it. Ah hell, same old, same old. 3 blowout loses this year was like regressing back to the 90s, regardless of 8 wins and I have my doubts for another winning season with the attitude of the players and coaches that couldn’t get them to focus.

    • God bless all of those Temple fans who set aside a day to make a trip to Annapolis to cheer on the Owls. I got my tickets from a great fellow Temple fan, who purchased his through Temple but I salute every fan who got down there any way he could. I feel bad for the fans who watched on TV, but far worse for the fans who were there. So I agree with you about the embarrassed to disgusted part. I watched on TV last year and was pretty disgusted. I was there and it was 10x worse. Carey has some “splaining” to do, as Dezi Arnez might say.

  5. One thing that is surprising to me is the number of people on the Facebook fan group who think this was a good season. As if it’s better than the bad old days is what success should be evaluated on. For me, that bar has been raising since 2006 and has gone higher with a conference title and a bowl win by GC.

    I don’t think 8 wins is ok for a team that should have won 10. I don’t think it’s ok for the offense to regress nearly 100 points or the special teams to become a laughingstock or to have three losses giving up at least 45 points or to have two losses by 42 point margins or to have the team quit on the field in multiple games.

    Is Carey up to this task? 13 years of progress are riding on the answer to that question.

  6. Read Don bitterlich’s post under the stuck in neutral post comments. That sums up the day pretty well

  7. I remember a certain someone who wanted to hire Carey because he was a head coach before.

    Lay in the bed you made, Mike!

    • I preferred Carey to Diaz, yes, but my No. 1 choice was Leipold and my No. 2 was Chris Creighton. So Carey is a nice comfortable twin bed next to Diaz (bed of nails). Leipold would have been a master bed with a canopy and Creighton proved against Pitt he would be a big water bed with a window view to the ocean and a chandelier. So there are certainly different levels of beds.

    • You said it right there Steve there was a guy here that said they hit a homerun when they hired this guy I don’t wanna mention his name

      • There’s another guy here also that seems this coach is really good and he was given him a B for coaching I was given him an f but I won’t mention his name either this guy would’ve never got a head-coaching job anywhere except Temple he’s going to make a lot of money for four years and that’s it

  8. Here is what the greatest kicker in Temple history (greater than Brandan McManus, IMHO just for what he did at Temple) had to say in the comments on the other post thread. I think Don meant to post this here so I’m reposting it now: All the following words are from Don Bitterlich.
    Mike, The trip to Annapolis and stay was top notch. A great town, nice people and we did not need to endure the airport. However, myself, like you, saw the awful display on our sidelines in the 3rd and 4th quarter trailing 41-13. The “ass play” is what our Coach would have called it. Goofing with water bottles on the bench. Mike, you left and there were a few “dancing the Macarena” during a commercial time out. Thankfully, THAT was not broadcast to a National Television audience. We talk about the Temple Brand built with Al Golden, the Temple Tuff brand. The attitude of some of these players, likely bench players needs to get fixed. These few do not realize the blessing they have to compete in Division I athletics, in a really good program, in a big city, then on National Television. These few bad seeds, do not care. They are getting whipped on the field, and “ass play” on the sidelines in front to thousands of Temple fans that spent their Christmas holiday and money to enjoy “their” play in a Nationally televised game against a Power 5 school. Ugh. Just typing this makes me sick. On the football side of things, we were not prepared. UNC has a nice team, but they were prepared for Temple, they knew our liabilities, and strengths. That opening drive by UNC in the quarter, seeing our defense pushed around with a run attack sealed my thought for hope for a comeback. I hoped the opening drive of the second half would help Temple set a new tone and attitude. UNC had a game plan that extinguished our strength, and they clearly took ownership of the game. The pick 6 followed, and it grew worse. Then, the next drive leads to a 4th and 4, and the coaching staff was in total confusion on the situation. That lead to our runner being swarmed in the back field! Ugh. Coach Carey must make changes and adapt to the talents of his players. Foremost, the attitude of Temple Tuff, and dignity and discipline must be restored to the football program. In retrospect, we are fortunate to had “dodged a bullet” missing our on the Miami coach, but I hope Carey can shape his skills {and his staff} to this team.

  9. What scares me more than anything is Coach Carey’s post game comments. Did nobody see Narducci’s article where Carey desperately tried to paint a nice picture out of this season?

    I’m afraid that he really thinks it was a good year.

  10. Double down or drop it. The status quo, stuck in neutral, is not sustainable. The Linc lease is an albatross, it guarantees TUFB red ink.

    We just witnessed Carey’s ceiling. Does anyone really believe he is the guy to bring back College Game Day?

    Super disappointed in the BOT. Like it or not, TUFB is the front porch for the University. Are they happy with this face? They should all resign if they can’t figure out how to negotiate a fair Linc lease, or build a stadium on campus. BOT, do your job or quit.

    Memphis lost Fuente and hired Norvell. UCF replaced Frost, Cincy hired Fickell.., those schools made all the right decisions to sustain successful programs.

    And who hired Carey? Let’s hope Indiana hires Kraft.

    • Hiring Carey was an act of desperation. The administration was getting worried that unless a coach was hired quickly, recruiting would be a total disaster. That being said, the doom and gloom expressed about Carey’s coaching is two years too soon. Judge him after his third season.

      I also am bemused by the claim that this season was mediocre. How quickly it’s forgotten that not too long ago a record of 5-7 (there would have been no bowl game) would have been loudly cheered. It is a mistake to think that the team can consistently play .750 ball because, after all, it’s Temple and there are too many things stacked against the university, including a lack of money, a media that reports on TU football because they feel they have to, an inability to get better recruits, and for the most part an ambivalent public, alumni, and student body. Sure, I would love to see a pro type offense but that offense is no longer in vogue at any level including high school. True fullbacks are an endangered species,

      Although Carey could have changed the offense, he is correct that he does not have a QB who can run his offense. In almost every bowl game I’ve watched, the winner had a true dual threat QB. If it weren’t for the qb’s running ability, Clemson’s season would be over and Louisville would not have won yesterday for example. The only winning bowl I saw was Iowa and they’ve been doing it for over a decade. Also TU’s top two qbs lack what the other has. Centeio can run but has yet to show that he can consistently complete passes greater than twenty yards and Russo cannot or will not run the ball leaving TU without an important part the RPO offense. Sure Carey could have installed a pro type offense but that would not have won the games TU lost except for maybe Buffalo given how badly the defense was scorched in the losses. Hope everyone has a wonderful New Year.

      • John, I look forward to your comments given you are able to “keep it real”. As you say let’s see where we are in 3 years, as seems to be a common sentiment here, the kind of season we had this year may be Carey’s ceiling or close to it. Now to KJs point about “doubling down” maybe that is the time the admin makes that decision. So worst case TUFB is a consistent 6-8 win team for the next 3 years. Is that great, of course not but would things have been any better with 2 years of Diaz and then who knows after that or Fran Brown hired this year as head coach. I don’t think so. I know I’m in a minority with this but I think part of the issues for Carey was some of the “holdovers” who were here when Diaz bailed. Sure it was good of the university to honor the contracts but especially with Brown’s tenure I just think how it ended up was inevitable. I’m just speculating but I get the feeling there was some type of “deal” between him and Diaz that just wasn’t going to happen once Manny stayed in Miami. As for Foley, as I’ve stated in previous posts I think his impact on ST was overrated.
        Also agree with you regarding the offense, I liked the power running style of the past but as you said basically nobody runs that style anymore. I recall one recent comment I heard with new NFL head coaching searches and how teams are looking for some college experience because the spread style is the new norm. Our problem is between Russo and Centeio nether one seems a good fit. I want to judge Carey once this roster has a majority of his players.

      • Pick your poison, Russo can’t run and Centeio can’t throw. Punt, or recruit a QB who can do both? BTW, Duncan is not the answer.

        Mack Brown is among a handful of P5 coaches advocating for a G5 Championship Game. Probably more $$ than the status quo.

  11. The latest hit – Quincy Roche to the transfer portal. AAC Defensive player of the year. Single digit player.

    Even if you can’t see the fire, you sure can smell the smoke.

    • This is the new norm …players becoming all Americans at Temple and leaving for high p5 programs. G5 might as well break off and have its own national title game

      • Or demand that the P-5 schools pay them research and development fees. Frankly, it’s not a crazy idea because they’re treating G-5 schools as a minor league. This is not what the portal was meant to do. It was for kids who were blocked from playing by better players, not starters. Personally, I think the portal was devised to finally do in the G-5. That along with the increase from 8 to 9 conference games some P-5 conferences have implemented and the call by some coaches to institute a rule prohibiting playing G-5 schools, it is only a matter of time before the G-5 becomes as relevant as NCAA Division I FCS schools.

        And unless Roche gains about forty pounds and gets stronger P-5 tackles will destroy him just like the NC tackle did last Friday. I honestly can’t understand leaving your friends and teammates for the possibility of greener pastures especially because TU has had no problem getting its players drafted by the NFL. Ask Tommie Stevens the former PSU qb who was supposed to be the putative starter this past season how it worked out for him.

      • You are correct in your comment about the G5 having its own national title game. I was thinking about that as I have been watching these bowl games. If G5 schools are going to lose players to the P5 we might as well have a four team playoff for the G5. Looking the big picture it is looking like AAC teams that have a chance of competing with the P5 will continue to lose players to the P5.

    • Kind of agree with John regarding what the transfer portal is becoming. While losing players like Roche and Yeboah hurt, considering they were both starters, UCF has 8 players in the portal, Cincinnati and Houston have 5, just the way things are anymore. I don’t get Roche in the portal other than when he consulted with NFL types he was told stay in college for another year and either put on some weight and play against P5 offensive lineman every week or maybe go to a 3-4 defense. If his UNC performance was any indication, unless he does one of those things he is going to be a run over in a P5 defense. Other than the off sides on the blocked kick I didn’t here his number called at all on Friday.

      • Wake up everyone. 2020 is the first year Temple has LOST STARTERS in the transfer portal.

        We GAINED STARTERS in the previous two years.

        Why the sudden reversal of fortune?

      • Definitely not a happy new year for Temple fans

      • Did any of you guys ever think maybe they’re leaving because of the coach I know there were a few guys here so I thought this was a good hire I’m one of them it said no way this guy can’t coach nobody would ever took this guy as a head coach he’s going to melt the Temple job until they fire him after five years come on

  12. Navy upholds honor of AAC with a big win over K State, who beat Oklahoma. Glad Perry is graduating.

  13. Carey is too insecure to hire Al Golden. Carey is the Freddy Kitchens of NCAA football. You hired a guy that was 0-6 in Bowl games (now 0-7), how did you think that would turn out? Bowl games are indicative of a coaches acumen as you have 30 days to prepare, Temple obviously was ill prepared and that’s on Carey. You are now screwed with this guy for at least another year. Sad.

    • Very well put CE can’t add any more to that statement just that it’s very true

      • What position would you bring Golden (0-3 in Bowl games by the way) in for, he was a DC before taking the HC job at Temple. I assume he could handle the offense and probably do a better job than Uremovich, plus a big upgrade in recruiting. I think Knowles was one of the better guys Carey brought over from NIU, so don’t see where a change at DC is one of the places to look at first.

      • Special teams coach

    • What position would you bring Golden (0-3 in Bowl games by the way) in for, he was a DC before taking the HC job at Temple. I assume he could handle the offense and probably do a better job than Uremovich, plus a big upgrade in recruiting. I think Knowles was one of the better guys Carey brought over from NIU, so don’t see where a change at DC is one of the places to look at first.

      • I could see him as ST coach. Biggest plus would be having AG also be the overall recruiting coordinator.

        By the way sorry for the double post previously, had a typo in my email on the first one so wasn’t sure it would post

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