How bad is it?
Even when Anthony Russo gets back to fix the offense, and sadly that’s not this week, the unspoken truth about Temple football is that the defense cannot be fixed.
It’s this bad:
Temple’s defense gave up 37 points to South Florida, a team that scored only 27 on The Citadel, 13 against Tulsa and 24 against East Carolina.
Temple’s defense gave up 38 points to a Tulane team that could score only 27 on South Alabama and 24 on Navy. South Alabama? That noted power which lost to UAB, 42-10?
Temple’s defense gave up 31 points to a Navy team that could only score three against BYU and 7 against Air Force.
And very little of the above had to do with COVID, because much of the evidence had been there before head coach Rod Carey could pull that excuse.
What did Quincy Roche know and when did he know it?
It would be nice if the AAC Defensive Player of the Year had stayed at Temple to bolster a virtually non-existent pass rush, but he did not and Temple did not get an adequate replacement for him. Did Roche have a problem with Rod Carey? Or Jeff Knowles? Or Walter Stewart?
Carey went into the season shrugging off the personnel departures like Roche, quarterback Toddy Centeio and tight end Kenny Yeboah, saying “we want to go with the guys who want to be here.”
Think about that point and extrapolate it for a second. If the entire starting offense and defense wanted to leave but the scout teams on both sides of the ball want to stay, do you really want to go with the guys who want to be here?
Why do only the good guys want to leave?
Do you think the Owls would have done better than three points if Toddy was still here?
The evidence is that the offense is an AAC high-quality one when Russo is in the game, scoring 29 against both Navy and Memphis and 32 (one was a defensive score) against USF. That’s on the high end of opponents against those teams.
Three points with two backup quarterbacks against a poor defense like Tulane is inexcusable, but it matters little if the defense cannot keep people off the scoreboard and nothing we’ve seen thus far provides any evidence that will change.
That’s the unspoken truth about this season.
Until maybe now.
Friday: SMU preview