In a vacuum, what happened on the recruiting part of the 2021 Class first signing day would have to be listed as one of the best signing days in Temple football history.
Maybe the best.
Unfortunately, these days, the vacuum works both ways because what you are sucking in the door has to be weighed out for what is going out the other end of that Hoover wind tunnel. That was never part of the equation in the Golden Rhule Era.
In that sense, what in other years would be viewed as an unmitigated success is extremely mitigated by the departures of tackles Dan Archibong (NFL draft), Ifeanyi Meijeh and Vince Picozzi, linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley (other FBS teams) and starting quarterback Anthony Russo (Michigan State), among others.
These are mostly guys I’ve met, interacted with and liked very much at post-game tailgates in the past. They are good young men, character guys, not malcontents. More than that, though, from a pure bottom-line perspective, Temple is losing proven players who were developed over years in the system for (largely) unproven FBS level players–many of whom have some development left to do. For guys the character of Dan, Ifeanyi, Vince and IGM to leave indicates something smells inside the halls of Edberg-Olson and a vacuum cleaner isn’t going to remove the stench.
That’s going to affect the only bottom line I care about in 2021: Winning.
To me, Temple has to have a major rebound year for the school’s administration to even think about keeping Rod Carey after a 1-6 year with, say, 5-2 talent. Temple has come too far and the road has been too hard and bumpy to be satisfied with 6-6 seasons going forward. Two double-digit win seasons were followed by another winning season and two eight-win seasons before this year’s disaster. Blame COVID if you want but a standard had been set for this program and 2020 fell way below it, COVID or not.
The Owls got immediate starting help in edge rusher Will Rodgers and the quarterback from Georgia, D’Wan Mathis, but where are the immediate upgrades from Picozzi, IGM and the two interior defensive tackles? Hell, where are the guys who can replace those skill sets, let alone upgrades. I didn’t see them. Unless they magically arrive by February, the Owls will have trouble getting to .500 next season.
You can talk about how “happy I am” with the signing day and “I’m through the roof” but I, as a Temple fan, won’t be happy or through any roof until that 1-6 gets turned around to 8-4 or better and, sorry, nothing I saw on this signing day indicates those days are coming back fast enough.
Talk is cheap. Proving it is expensive. Now comes time for Rod Carey to put his money where his mouth is.
Picks This Weekend: 8-5 against the spread on the season and going with all underdogs to stay above water for the season. San Jose State getting 6.5 in the Mountain West championship against Boise State, Tulsa getting 14.5 for the AAC title at Cincy, and UAB (with hopefully future Temple AD Mark Ingram) getting the 5.5 in the CUSA title game at Marshall. (Would have had Louisiana Lafayette getting 3.5 in revenge match with Coastal for the Sun Belt title, but that game was canceled due to COVID in the CC program. Probably the first championship cancellation of all time. Very sad.)
Update: Went 3-0 against the spread with both SJS and UAB winning outright and Tulsa easily covering the 14.5 in a 27-24 loss. Now at 11-5 against the spread this season.