We’ll find out if TU football is fixed soon

Temple’s last loss to USF was this 44-7 black helmet embarrassment two years ago.

That old saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly doesn’t apply to Temple football these days.

Based on one game, Temple football is broke. The evidence certainly was there for all to see in a 31-29 loss to Navy on Saturday night.

For those who don’t have ESPN+ you can watch two guys watching and describing the game by cli
cking on this link

We will find out soon if the season is broken tomorrow, though. There’s no team worse in the AAC than USF and, if the Owls can’t beat the Bulls, there’s serious doubt that they can beat anyone else. That game will be played in front of family and friends (about 500) at Lincoln Financial Field and on TV (ESPN+) with the rest of the Owl fans watching from home.

Consider this: USF is coming off a 44-24 home loss to an ECU team that itself was coming off a 20-point loss to Georgia State. Not Georgia or even Georgia Tech, but Georgia State. Even coming off that loss, ECU was able to post its first win over USF since 2014, the year it was ranked No. 19 nationally (and lost to Temple).

Temple certainly went into the season thinking it was better than both ECU and USF but the Navy performance raised some doubts. The Navy game was the second in a row that the Owls underperformed from the standpoint of national perspective. In the bowl game against North Carolina, they entered as a 6.5-point underdog and lost, 55-13. Against Navy, they were anything from a 3-7-point favorite (depending on the day of the week) and lost, 31-29.

National confidence is still there in the Owls as they entered this one as a 10.5-point favorite but, no matter how much talk there is inside the Edberg Olson Complex about pad level, fans know what they saw with their two eyes:

One, the defense couldn’t stop the run;

Two, they couldn’t make the most obvious of two-point conversion calls in the red zone (a lob to a 6-6 wide receiver against a 5-10 corner).

For those up early Saturday morning, you can hear the excuses by watching 6abc between 9:30-9:50 a.m.

Three, they saw on the film that Navy couldn’t stop a fullback all season but Temple refused to improvise and adjust enough to use one in order to win an important game because, you know, that’s not the way we did things at NIU.

Any one of those adjustments would have probably made Temple 1-0 at this point. Making none of them bordered on coaching malfeasance.

That’s the definition of broken.

Maybe the first part, being overwhelmed physically in the run game, had a lot to do with the second because the scheme to stop that run game was also designed by the same coaching staff that decided on a horrible two-point conversion call.

Whatever, the responsibility for the defeat lies at a well-paid coaching staff that didn’t do its job well enough. Other well-paid coaching staffs, at BYU and Air Force, were able to take similar talent and perform at a higher level against Navy than Temple was.

After the game, that same coaching staff talked more about pad level on the field than the coaching ability off of it.

Right now, as I see it, that’s the broken part. Pad level, schmad level. The braintrust will need to be fixed first. We will find out if they can adjust the head level soon enough.

Late Saturday: Game Analysis

48 thoughts on “We’ll find out if TU football is fixed soon

  1. Pad level had nothing to do with not having d-tackles in the center guard gaps or having your linebackers line up four yard off the ball. If tomorrow’s game is close or a loss, the bad old days are back.

    • As Fizzy said, “of all the poppycock excuses I’ve ever heard after an Owl loss, that takes the cake.” Never heard Wayne Hardin or Bruce Arians or Matt Rhule talk about pad level. If this was the 2016 Navy and not the 2020 Navy, that loss would have been excusable but even in 2016 the Owls beat that great Navy team 34-10. There can be no doubt we are slipping backward and we need to turn it around no later than noon tomorrow.

  2. Unforetunatly, I did not see the Navy game, listened while driving from MD on I-95. I could not understand why we did not run the ball, and attack the Navy weakness. So disappointing. The USF game is already a season defining game for these seniors and more so, our program. It is an awful feeling as a loyal fan for Temple Football and having the feeling I have in my stomach today looking forward to tomorrow. What the heck is the “pad” anyway?

    • After the game, Carey blamed the loss on “our pad level being too high.” Honestly, that’s the first I’ve ever heard that excuse (and make no mistake, it’s an excuse, not a reason) floated after the loss. Still, Vegas has Temple as a 10.5-point favorite. In order to get any confidence at all to beat Memphis next week, got to win this game convincingly. Crazy. We mentioned for weeks here in this space that Navy no matter what it does cannot stop a fullback and the Temple coaches, despite having 10 months to prepare, didn’t even bother to put that little wrinkle in there. We wrote weeks before the game (in our Sept. 20 post) that the Temple coaches in the 2016 Navy game slid the linebackers, tackles and nose guard to close the A gaps and take the fullback out of the game entirely. What did THESE Temple coaches do? Play both linebackers 4 yards off the ball. By the time we make the tackles, the Navy fullback has 7 yards every time. Just sloppy preparation all around. Our kids deserve better.

      • Thanks Mike. For the life of me, I really do not understand why Coach Carey and staff do not identify the oppositions weaknesses and game plan to exploit them, as well as throw in some wrinkles, those types of imaginative plays or formations that throw off the opposing defense. Being a guy without any football background before my first game placekicking at Temple, Coach Hardin always prepared for every advantage, and always packaged a few “special” plays designed for the opposition. You and all your followers on this blog know that all to well. I remember the Garden State Bowl and the Penn State game with Casey Murphy on 3rd downs, as the most apparent examples. Heck, even playing soccer under Coach Bahr my first 3 years, we prepared special “set” plays off of free kicks and corner kicks to exploit a weakness of the opposing team. These comments you reiterated and John Belli’s points make a passionate fan as myself, feel we are ill-prepared, and no “bag of tricks”…..heck , we don’t even have a bag. BTW, what is a “Pad”? I get that it is a feckless excuse, but a Pad? huh???

      • Shoulder pads. As far as our one trick play, even that was poorly designed. Why have Mack (a former Abington quarterback) throw the trick pass to the tight end, who is less likely to beat the corner to the goal line than speedy wide receivers Randle Jones or Jadan Blue? If Mack completes that to a wide receiver, it’s a touchdown and not a tackle inside the 10. Gotta wonder if any thought goes into a) game plan or b) actual plays at all.

      • One of the reasons Georgia Tech won last Friday after being down 21-7 was a trick play. Even Geoff recognizes the importance of such plays. I hope we don’t have to spend another decade or more saying, woulda, coulda, shoulda. I’m too old to stomach that especially if failure primarily rests with the coaches and their lack of ability, their stubbornness, their failure to recognize the obvious, or their lack of imagination.

  3. I meant to share this article earlier in the week, but I forgot. The Athletic webpage continues to crank out articles worthy of the price of subscription. I wish they might have highlighted a little more of Henry’s career here at TU, but nevertheless this is an outstanding profile.


    if this link does not work due to it being a paid site, contact Mike and I will be willing to share my passcode.

  4. The premise in life… adjust, adapt, improvise! I said it since day 1… Carey will run our program into the ground. “If the premise is true, then the conclusion must be true” but we (Carey) don’t put our “Temple Tough” fella’s in a position to highlight their strengths. The definition of insane applies here.

  5. Not a trick play but there’s probably only one person commenting on this thread who could make this kick with the wind at his back:

  6. and this was me watching our defensive coaches failing to adjust to the Navy fullback between 6-9 p.m. last Saturday night:

    • Paraphrasing Allen Iverson, ” Shoulder pads? We’re talking about shoulder pads? Unbelievable. By the way they don’t need a fullback. Use that tight end as a h-back like Geoff did against Maryland, a game won with the help of a trick play and blocking by the h-back.

      • Watching Tulane vs. No. 18 SMU now. Even if Tulane doesn’t win this game, this is a brilliant final drive … taking all the time off the clock to make sure SMU gets none on the back end. Tulane’s coaches are using their noggins for more than a hat rack. Wish I could have said the same for Temple’s coaches last week.

      • Tulane was too conservative before the field goal. The runs were pitiful.

  7. chances of any college football team winning on a 57-yard field goal are close to zero.Both Tulane and SMU tried to do it. No Don Bitterlichs around today.

    • Trying to figure out who the home win in 1979 over a ranked team was and it was LSU. That same year, Tulane LOST TO West Virginia 27-17. Temple won at West Virginia, 38-16, that same season. Temple was damn close (16 points) to 12-0 and a national title.

  8. SMU is going to win this. Got a kicker transfer from Texas. We need to get a kicker transfer from Penn State.

  9. Love the elbow bumps at the end of the game. Sign of the times. Very sad, but sign of the times. Sad that the city of Philadelphia doesn’t trust us to tailgate with elbow bumps and masks. We’re big boys. We can handle it.

    • Houston may have just taken control of their game with a late first half score. Tonight’s conference games show that TU better get better or they’re going to place lower than number 8 in conference rankings.

      • Agree. Tulane hanging with SMU gave me hope then I saw Houston hang with a BYU team that beat Navy 55-3 and am further disgusted with the Temple coaching staff. We should have beaten Navy (maybe not by 55–3) but somewhere in the range of 31-14 if we just got a professional coaching effort. What we got was zero preparation despite having six more weeks than BYU did to scheme for Navy.

  10. Carey is a bonehead. He has a transfer dual-threat qb on the bench in re-al Mitchell. Doesn’t use him, but wants to put a square peg in a round hole making russo run when he’s a pocket passer. Won’t set russo up for success.
    He has a system in his head and he’ll force the players to fit the system, doesn’t care what talent he has.

  11. Carey has neutered the owls. No aggression, no desire, no toughness.
    He has to go.

  12. Bobby Wallace is back. What a waste. He completely mismanaged the last minute of the 1st half and then got the field goal blocked.

    • After 2 USF timeouts to ice the kicker, we have the punter holding. Russo was always the holder in the past and the element of a fake was always there. They lined up with no wide receivers and were telegraphing to USF that they didn’t even need to account for the fake. This guy Driesen is a TERRIBLE special teams coach but this is all on Carey because he let Foley go to get another defensive coach on the field. How is that extra defensive coach helping today?

  13. We’re down “only” 21-17 but I have never been this close at halftime and so pessimistic about the second half in my post-Al Golden life of watching TU football. Might as well be 41-17 and this is a horrible football team we are facing. What does that make us now? Temple 2005?

  14. He’s still at Tavistock in Haddonfield talking shit at the pool….

  15. Kick off coverage team is only half to blame for returns. When your kicker can’t get hang time and reaches only the 10-15 yard line those covering the kick don’t have enough time to get down the field. If no one on the roster can reach the end zone get your rear end over to the soccer field like Hardin did in the early seventies when he snagged TU Hall of Famer Don Bitterlich.

  16. Oh well…I am praying for these guys but I suspect they may not win a game all season. It is very possible. There are good plays being made here and there but looking at it objectively they just do not have enough weapons.

  17. The word special in TU’s special teams has the same meaning it does when referring to the Special Olympics.

  18. Dilly Dilly, aren’t you supposed to be in the end zone?

  19. Did Carey buy a home?

  20. Pat Kraft is 0-3 with picking TU coaches. Glad he’s gone.

    • John, another loser, Pat the rat… one foot in the office and both eye’s on the job search… I HATE TURNCOATS!

  21. Game got better as I ventured into many Milk Stouts, lol

  22. Carey wasted time at end of the 1st half and now is playing hurry up. Ball is being snapped with 10-20 seconds on play clock. He screws up even simple things like this. Owls are stealing a win they don’t deserve.

  23. Between the installation of my new master closet, Milk Stouts and a great hot sausage sandmich… the g kids deserve better…

  24. Defense that hasn’t stopped anyone and what could be a very good offense, but a Quarterback who loves to throw interceptions = not a promising season!

  25. Prayers work sometimes. Luckily the USF coach called a limiting play on the two point conversion. We will take the win but there is much more work to do.

  26. UCF kicker missed a field goal with seconds left to win and one of his teammates went after him on the sidelines and had to be pulled away. Unbelievable.

  27. What was the reason why Harry D and BooBoo were not calling the game today? Does anyone know?

  28. TU’s reputation for being a good TV draw must be waning because ESPN has canceled the Tursday night game with SMU and moved it to next Saturday at noon on ESPN+. UGH. Still don’ know who the starting QB is tomorrow.

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