It’s an age-old sports edict that often is used when a baseball manager is let go.
“He lost the locker room.”
Losing the locker room has been a general sports term and, in the past, refers to when the manager (or coach) loses the trust and belief of the players.
Rarely, though, has it been meant to be a literal term.
Until now and Temple is Ground Zero.
Temple head football coach Rod Carey has taken it across that threshold by losing his best defensive player last year (Quincy Roche) and one his best players on the other side of the ball (Kenny Yeboah) not to the NFL, but other teams. Losing role players I can understand. Losing starters is inexcusable. Losing what could be your 10 best players in two years should be a Defcon One Alert.
This year, he’s even taken that to another level by losing (at least in my mind) two of his three best offensive players (Anthony Russo and Ray Davis so far). The third, Jadan Blue, is still here but who knows how long that will last. The fourth is Branden Mack.
There are strong rumors that not only will those two follow Russo and Davis out the door in the coming days and weeks and that another high-profile defensive player will join that group.
How did it happen?
The arrival of a coach who completely lacks charisma with players (Carey) and the transfer portal is the perfect storm to take Temple back the dark ages of 1991-2006. Temple football has a Hurricane Katrina-like catastrophe headed for 10th and Diamond and those buildings won’t withstand it.
The remedy is as simple as it is complicated.
If this were baseball, the owner would swallow the bad hire and move onto the next one. Pay the contract off, hire a smart manager who also had the charisma to get along with the players and hit the reset button.
College football is different and that’s where the complicated part comes into play.
Group of Five schools generally give out five-year guaranteed contracts and let them expire before moving onto the next guy.
This time, though, Temple’s case appears different. It’s one thing to lose the locker room figuratively and quite another literally.
This time, a course correction needs to be made before it’s too late. Finding a competent coach who understands the Temple way and Temple players should be job one right now. Building this program to where it appeared on ESPN Gameday and set TV ratings records for a Saturday night game on ABC (along with winning a championship) was too hard to have it torn down now.
The ball is in the the air and headed for Board of Trustees consideration. Let’s hope they understand the urgency to catch it.
Friday: The Transfer Portal and Temple
Monday: Russo’s Legacy at Temple
Friday: What Can Joe Fan Do?
Monday (12/21): Five Plays that Defined the Season
Christmas Day: What’s Under the Tree?