The Transfer Portal and Temple

“Why you leaving, Anthony?” “Coach, I came here because Rhule promised me a pro-set passing scheme, not an RPO one.”

Nothing has ruined my enjoyment of college football in general and Temple football in particular than the transfer portal.

When the people who rule college football (the Power 5, not the NCAA) got together and imposed this penalty-free system where a player could transfer anywhere he wanted, schools like Temple were hurt the most because the Owls built a respectable program (largely) by identifying top talent ignored by the P5 and coaching them up.

For the better part of the last decade, Temple was the beneficiary of that system.

Something tells me the guy on the left would have been a much-better coach for Russo than Rod Carey turned out to be.

For the better part of the next decade, Temple won’t be. Oh, Temple will still identify the talent and–once a coaching change is made–coach them up, but other schools will benefit from the money Temple spends on coaching and the scholarships Temple gives out.

It’s what I call the Yankee syndrome. Years of listening to New York City sports talk has made me aware of this condition. It usually goes like this. Ryan Howard hits .313 with 58 homers and 138 RBI for the Phillies after the Phillies developed him. Caller to Mike and the Mad Dog in 2006:

“That Ryan Howard for the Phillies looks really good. The Yankees should sign him.”

Mike: “Great idea.”

Mad Dog: “What do you want, Mikey, every good player on every team to sign with the Yankees? How about leaving some of the good players for the other teams? This is getting ridiculous.”

That’s how ridiculous college football has become.

Too many good players are hemorrhaging from G5 schools, specifically Temple, to go to the, err, Yankees. While UCF, Cincinnati and Memphis are able to keep their best players, Temple is not. Guess what? Those are the schools Temple is supposed to compete with and that’s not a good sign. The Owls supposed “replacement” for the AAC Defensive Player of the Year (Quincy Roche), Manny Walker, did virtually nothing this season.

When I was diplomatic and posted on social media that Walker did virtually nothing, I was challenged by a Bruce Arians Era player.

“Mike, he did virtually nothing? He did nothing.”

Yeah, on second thought, you are right.

Now the Owls have signed another, err, replacement for Roche in Will Rodgers III from Washington State. In two years, he had as many sacks as Roche did in a single season for Temple.

Nice pickup but as good as Roche?

Err, no.

That’s where the departure of, in my mind, Temple’s best player on this year’s team, Anthony Russo, comes into play.

I don’t blame Anthony. He did what he had to do. He did what I would have done had I possessed his skill set. He was playing for a head coach who was so stubborn he tried to fit square pegs (RPO offense) into round holes (the unique talents of his players). It’s the same problem Geoff Collins has at Georgia Tech. He’s got triple-option players trying to run a more NFL passing scheme. What both coaches should have done is exactly what Hugh Freeze is doing at Liberty. Design a system around the player, not vice versa. Carey should have used a fullback his first two years and eased into the RPO he next two ones. Collins should have used a triple option his first two years and eased into whatever Dave Patenaude philosophy (if he has one) in his next two. Guaranteed under those circumstances Carey would have been better than 1-6 and Collins better than 3-5 this year.

Head coaches are stubborn and there are no two more stubborn than Collins and Carey.

Not surprising that players are leaving both programs.

To me, the portal was made for guys like Russo and Toddy Centeio. Russo was stuck in a system that didn’t showcase his NFL talent and Toddy left because he was stuck behind Russo.

The collection of players the Owls rolled out to replace an injured Russo proved only one thing: Russo was 10x better than them and that might be a conservative estimate. The only quarterback I see in the transfer portal better than Anthony Russo is McKenzie Milton. Do you think MM would come to Temple to play for Rod Carey? That’s laughable. Much more likely that a Matt Rhule or an Al Golden would be able to sweet talk him into that kind of move.

The bottom line about the transfer portal and Temple is that if you are the Temple head coach and somebody leaves, you are supposed to replace them with as good or a better player than the one who left.

Otherwise, as a head coach, you have not done your job.

On top of the horrible 1-6 bottom line, color me unimpressed with this aspect of the Rod Carey Regime.

He’s got to do much better in the player acquisition area in order to avoid an even worse numbers problem.

Monday: The Russo Legacy

Picks this week: I split two games last week against the spread, taking me from 7-4 to 8-5 against the spread for the season. I was leaning to Pitt laying the seven at poorly coached GT but failed to pull the trigger (kicking myself for that). Games we are pulling the trigger on (for amusement only): Taking North Carolina to cover the 3.5 against Miami and the Rice Owls to cover the 6.5 against former Temple Owl assistant AD Mark Ingram, who is the current UAB athletic director.

Update: Won both as North Carolina not only covered the 3.5 but blew it away in a 62-26 win and Rice covered the 6.5 in a 21-16 loss. Now at 10-5 against the spread for the season.

23 thoughts on “The Transfer Portal and Temple

  1. We are beating our heads up against the wall. Temple bureaucracy and strategic incompetence equals inertia.

    Do we enjoy dynamic trusted leadership from the BOT, University President, AD, or HC? No.

    How about the student body, alumni, state, and/or local community support? No.

    TU misled all the TUFB stakeholders. Broken promises……, stop the madness!

    Double down on BB by hiring someone who can recruit AND coach.

    Lesson learned. You will lose what you have if you don’t make a commitment to keeping it.
    What we had: A real brand – Temple Tuff, Top 25, Conference Championship Games, etc., etc.,

    Strategically challenged BOT, plus the instability and revolving door of University Presidents, ADs, and HCs..,

    The SCOTUS can’t restore or save this program.

  2. Heading to the Patriot or NEC under current regime and its’ lack of direction.

  3. Blazeman, the Patriot or Colonial leagues would be a fit if you weren’t paying this dolt $2 million a year which still baffles me beyond belief. Carey was making 500k at NIU, Temple drops $2 million on him. That is laughable. The issue you are going to have now is this program may drop so far that dropping to 1-AA at the end of the Carey era may begin to look like a potential solution. You keep football, lower capital expenditures, play in a competitive environment against the likes of Nova, Delaware, Lehigh, Richmond etc. It would be a disappointment but the way the future is looking for TU football it is a better solution than ending football entirely (which is not out of the question down the road). C E SPEED

    • If TU administrators decide not to support D-1 football any more, the program more likely than not will be cut. Students don’t come now and won’t support the team at all if it’s in a lower division. Also, the Owls will have nowhere to play because the LInc would no longer be an option. Playing at the new field will not occur without major renovations that must include more seating, two locker rooms, and facilities to tend to the couple thousand people who attend. What purpose would it serve? Nova barely gets 3000 to their football games.

      Looking at various games today, it is clear that the portal is here to stay and it seems that kids are leaving P-1 programs as frequently as G-5 programs.

  4. NC making Miami look like TU did in the bowl game against NC. As poor a coach many people think Carey is, Dias is worse because he has a roster filled with elite players. Cannot imagine how much worse TU would be now since he would have a had a team of mostly two and low three star players to work with.

  5. I did not watch much of the game, in fact, none at all really, but saw that North Carolina smoked the Hurricanes.

    Think Roche really upgraded his draft profile with the transfer? I know the scouts are there to see him regardless of the outcomes, but there is danger in jumping schools isn’t there??

  6. Find it interesting that no one is lamenting the fact that Mobley has entered the portal. LOL. And as far as IGM is concerned, he’s hurt too much and playing P-5 opponents week in week out if he signs with one won’t help that situation.

  7. Err, also watched Army-Navy. The fact that Temple gave up 31 points to a team Army shut out is still one of the many indictments of the Carey staff.He’s an absolute disgrace to this great university. Got to get Jeff Monken in here to school the staff on how to stop the Navy triple option.

    • No rhyme or reason to this season. TU lost to Navy primarily because of covid effects and limits on practice. It was Navy’s 3rd game and TUs first. Proof that the season is upside down is that Navy beat Tulane who killed Army.

      • Carey losing Russo, IGM and Davis is going to make next season worse. Have not seen one (1) single guy he’s acquired since better than any of the guys who left.

  8. “Got to get Jeff Monken in here to school the staff on how to stop the Navy triple option.”

    Think they’d listen to him?

    • Any good staff would. Rhule was full of stories about how he would invite other coaches in (air force’s legend former coach Fisher debarry was one) not to talk to the team but the coaches. Carey appears way too stubborn to do this. He needs to go. He’s not temple.

  9. This season was a Covid disaster, but it makes for good memories for the practice squad and walk-on guys. These men will achieve success as businessmen, doctors, scientists and support future program success.

    I’m certain Carey pursuing his strategic plan to rebuild the offense, defense, special teams, program culture, and swag. I expect another championship his final year and offers from the Bears, Packers, and Colts.

    Man this IPA is tasty and strong too.

  10. I have said from day one that the transfer portal is a bad idea for the reasons you have stated, particularly for teams like Temple! I keep thinking about 2015 (beat Penn State after 70 plus years of trying, almost beat Notre Dame with College Game Day in town. Both of those games in front of packed houses)! We were riding high back then, a well-respected program! There was talk of being invited to join the ACC (a pipe dream of course). But the enthusiasm for Temple football was sky high! So it is so very frustrating to realize how we have now sunk to just about rock bottom in five short years! And you can’t blame it all on COVID! This damn virus has affected everyone! I always try to maintain a positive attitude with respect to Owl football, but with all of the bad stuff in play, it is becoming more and more more difficult to continue to do so! Better days ahead? I sure hope so!

  11. Since TU won’t make a move to do what’s necessary to save the program from declining (we’re stuck with Carey for the next 3 years) and given the portal debacle which only helps the “rich get richer” the future doesn’t look very bright. If he can’t do something in the decent range next year I certainly hope the TU brain trust doesn’t foolishly extend his contract for “stability” (just because he’d be willing to stay) and we end up with another Bobby Wallace situation. PLEASE don’t do that!

    • Stability is good only if you are winning. Change is required when losing. I don’t think Temple is stupid enough to extend him now. If he goes 8-4 next year, they probably will but looking at that schedule I don’t see them beating anyone but Wagner and Akron with this current roster.

      • If by chance he does go 8-4 next year they still shouldn’t jump at an extension. Let him prove some continuity and see if he repeats a good season the year after that. Why be in such a hurry to extend contracts? Or would they be afraid he’d jump ship which any coach could do from a G5 program if offered. What I meant by stability was that TU might think keeping someone for more than 2 years (or 2-3 months, lol) is more important than winning – isn’t that’s the TU way?

      • That would be 8-5, 1-6, 8-4 (hmm, another bowl loss?). If another school wants to pay Temple $10 million to lure Carey away, where do I sign? If Golden doesn’t want the job, give it to Gabe or Fran (Brown, not Dunphy). 🙂

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