While the jury is still out on Rod Carey’s tenure at Temple (although the deliberation room is hostile), they’ve reached a verdict about SMU’s Sonny Dykes in Dallas.
Innocent of any charges he cannot coach after mixed reviews at a brief stint of head coach at California of the PAC-12.
Carey, on the other hand, is not facing a friendly jury after turning an eight-win Temple team into a likely 1-7 squad this season.
When Temple wanted to rebuild its program, it went with an up-and-coming coordinator, Al Golden, who was a top recruiter at Boston College, Penn State and Virginia. When it wanted stability after Steve Addazio, it went with a Golden disciple in Matt Rhule. It went somewhat back to the prior model with Geoff Collins, the difference being his recruiting chops were in the South. With Carey, the Owls went for a G5 head coach.
SMU did it differently, grabbing a Power 5 head coach who had some success at a higher level than the AAC and what Dykes has done at SMU is certainly more impressive than what Carey has done here.
The two coaching styles compare and contrast this Saturday (noon, ESPN+) at Lincoln Financial Field before a “capacity” crowd of 7,500 fans. (Capacity in that the City of Philadelphia will only allow that many Temple fans to enter the stadium due to COVID protocols.)
Dykes has a 21-12 record at SMU (including 6-1 this season and ranked No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches poll) and that includes getting his feet wet with a 5-7 opening season. Dykes has done it a little differently from Carey, turning last year into a 10-2 record season by grabbing 15 starters, mostly high-level Power 5 recruits, out of the transfer portal.
Dykes did it by offering guys an immediate chance to play and no one benefited from that more than starting quarterback Shane Buechele. While at Texas, he led the Longhorns to a win over Iowa State but lost his job to current starter Sam Ehlinger and transferred to SMU.
Dykes is a players’ coach who is able to keep his star players happy.
Contrast this to the gruff style of Carey, who is hemorrhaging good players at a level Temple fans have never seen. Last year, the Owls lost quarterback Toddy Centeio in the portal to Colorado State, as well as AAC Defensive Player of the Year Quincy Roche (Miami) and tight end Kenny Yeboah (Ole Miss). No one knows where Ray Davis is headed but losing a player who gained over 900 yards from scrimmage as the Owls’ best running back is a continuation of the bleeding.
Compare that to the places Carey was able to attract players from: Wake Forest (Manny Walker), NIU (C.J. Perez) and Dayton (Michael Niese.)
Usually, opposing coaches gush over Temple prior to the game but not this time. When asked about Temple, this is the only thing he had to say about the Owls: “We just have to worry about ourselves more than we have to worry about Temple.”
No one can blame him because he has a happy group of players and evidence points to that we cannot same the same about Carey’s Temple group right now.
The jury has reached a favorable verdict about Dykes and, while the foreman hasn’t announced anything yet, it’s hard to find anyone giving Carey a thumbs up right now.
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