In any other year, Rod Carey would be on the hot seat at Temple University after a 1-3 start.
As we’ve all found out since about mid-March, this is not just any other year.
In the year of Covid, probably two or three years of it, really, no one is getting fired at any university because the revenue streams coming in are so unpredictable. The Owls are allowed almost no fans this year and next year is up in the air as well.
The university is in the hole for $10 million of a five-year contract to Carey and there is no Lew Katz around willing to eat it.
How did Temple go. in just two short weeks, from the No. 1 team in conference wins (since championship play began in 2015) to a likely 1-7 season?
In a word, Pride. In other, stubbornness.
As King Solomon, a pretty wise guy himself, said: “Pride Goeth Before the Fall.”
In Carey’s case, he had a nice “square peg” offense at Northern Illinois in the RPO and players suited enough for him there to post a 52-30 record as a FBS head coach. When he came to Temple, he found himself with “round hole” players who were more suited to a pro-set offense, and a quarterback who could never sell a defense on a RPO but is damn good at flinging it down the field after the run is established off play action.
Those of us who thought Carey might have been a good hire did so thinking a good coach adjusts his schemes to his available personnel and not try to force an ill-fitting system onto some great players from another system.
I did not see that coming. I thought a professional head coach would be able to improvise and adjust. Carey has not been.
What we learned in Temple’s 38-3 loss to Tulane–a loss that broke an 86-year (five games since the 1934 Sugar Bowl loss) winning streak–was that Anthony Russo is only about 10x a better quarterback than his two backups and that might be a conservative estimate.
Get well soon, Anthony.
Even more than that, though, is that Temple should have been 3-0 coming into the game had the Owls approached the red zone with some simple shit like throwing the fade to Branden Mack on first down instead of dicking around with runs on the first two downs. You’ve got a 6-6 wide receiver and a quarterback more than capable of throwing a fade like this and you piss away two wins by throwing a dump pass short of the goal (Navy) and running straight up the gut followed by a quarterback draw (Memphis)?
If Temple is paying Carey $2 million a year for that, the administration should demand its money back for those two losses alone.
Temple needed a running back and a pass rusher in the offseason but passed up on chances to get running back Ricky Slade from Penn State (who went to Old Dominion) and defensive end Scott Patchan (Miami, who went to Colorado State). Both were arguably better than any player they had here at both positions. Those are administrative errors, but Carey’s coaching errors cost the Owls two precious wins prior to the Tulane fiasco.
Due to missing 13 players (covid) and Russo (shoulder) it is hard to blame Carey for the loss to Tulane but, in the history of college football, rotating quarterbacks has resulted in about zero wins in 1 million games.. That’s why, if Russo is injured, you’ve got about three days to settle on one guy and not use a game as an audition.
This ain’t Hamilton where you audition guys to play the role of Aaron Burr during the play itself.
The Owls have tried two methods of hiring head coaches, one bringing in up-and-coming assistants, and one bringing in a proven FBS winning head coach. They haven’t tried the Greg Schiano Method (hiring a guy who proved he could do the same exact job at a high level), but Al Golden is available. Maybe even a better option is grabbing a local head coaching legend like Gabe Infante, who has been proven to be a great gameday coach.
So far, the prior two methods have been problematic. If Temple goes back to the old way, do you trust Fran Dunphy to identify the next Matt Rhule?
I don’t. Fran is more likely to bring a guy like Bob Diaco than he is a Jeff Hadley.
One led to a revolving door that ended finally after an 18-day turnaround. Another brought in a guy who wanted to do it his way when he was delivered a blueprint for winning at Temple long before he got here.
He ignored it and now we’re stuck with him for three more years. Saturday was ugly, but it’s about to becoming uglier and, unless one of us hits the lottery and are willing to buy him out, we can’t do a damn thing about it.
Brace for impact. To paraphrase King Solomon (and Barry McGuire), we’re on the eve of destruction.