Recruiting: All That Matters is Winning

What Bobby Wallace used to call “the fill-em” (or the film).

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.

Freddy Booth-Lloyd has expressed concerns felt by many current Temple fans.

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.

FBL=good man, fortunately did not major in English at Temple.

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.

FBL said one of his goals was to come back as a Temperor. If Temple had all 105 scholarship players with that kind of loyalty, it would win a chip every year.

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.

13 thoughts on “Recruiting: All That Matters is Winning

  1. What makes the players transferring think that they’ll “feel” their new coaches? That’s the dumbest reason I ever heard for transferring. Most everyone who played for Coach Hardin did not “feel” him. Years later when Coach Hardin began regularly coming to our tailgate many of us felt that it was some kind of con because of how friendly he was.

    If the guys transferring haven’t yet realized that college football is a business and that if you aren’t producing up to your potential, your coach won’t be “feeling” you, they need to grow up. Since when is a coach supposed to be your best friend. How immature are they? Also, if they think that their new coaches are only showing interest in them only because they are interested in recruiting them, they better wake up before they get into the real world.

    • Last sentence should be: if they don’t recognize that their new coaches are only showing interest in them only because they are interested in recruiting them, they better wake up before they get into the real world.

  2. John, you’re outta touch with coaching, leading, developing talent & men. Today, a D1 athlete’s schedule has to balance school, practice, eating, studying, classes, film, weight room and social media. Ergo, so do the coaches. It also is an opportunity for greater inter-acting and touch base with the athlete. I think they call it bonding. So, for you to think it’s a business, 70 of these guy’s are headed to the workforce and I’m not talking about the NFL. Through all these touch bases, bonds are formed, disciplines are set that will carry the student off the field and into the real world. Intangibles… So, if you really think there isn’t a problem in the locker room you might want to get tested for CTE. I am over the moon about Anthony landing at Michigan State. Great kid, great family but after 3 years of down-playing his talents (that term sound familiar), and running the RPO, why would he leave at this point. He has an incredible core of receivers and 2021 is RECEIVER UBIVERSITY! Wake, up, the “safe harbor” ain’t safe and for Freddy to break code and talk more is on the way. The question I have why has Carey not put our kids in the best position to shine, develop their skills and just maybe prepare them for the next level. I could sight examples and players but I won’t. They kept their head down and made it to the NFL inspite of Carey. Denying there is a cultural misfit is called ENSABLING! Go Owls.

  3. My comment went those players who are transferring because they don’t feel the coach. And back in the day players had the same time constraints as today. Practices were longer and there were more of them. There were three a days in camp and 20 hitting practices in the spring unlike today. Also, how many people don’t feel their boss. I’ll stick with my opinion that starters who leave because they don’t feel the coach are simply immature. It’s one thing for Russo or Yeboah to transfer because their talents didn’t fit the offense and another for a lineman to because playing O and D line is pretty similar wherever you play

    • I talked about this several times with guys like Mark Bresani and Joe Klecko (the year Joe used to tailgate). They both said the guys didn’t like Hardin when they were playing but all of them respected him as a coach and grew to love the guy years later. I won’t be around in 40 years when Russo, Picozzi, IGM, Archy and Ray Davis are chugging back a few in Lot K of the new Al Golden Stadium but I doubt that all of them will have the same level of respect for Carey that many of the Hardin guys still have for “WayneO” today. I could be wrong. Talk to the CB West guys. No one was more, err, verbally abusive than Mike Pettine Sr. Pettine is universally loved by all of his ex-players now because he squeezed the most out of their 5-10, 150-pound bodies. Do you think Carey has squeezed out the most of the 2020 Temple team? I do not. I have serious doubts about future Temple teams under his charge.

  4. what counts? the facts and the record, everything else is opinion and talk. Carey has bad facts and a bad record.

    • He gets a covid pass this season. He had a good record last year and one several games as an underdog. Also, he is a very good recruiter. I only wish he’d adopt a pro st offense.

    • Carey picked up two 4-star sophomore dual threat QBs and lost one 3-star pro-style QB. So he’s heading in the right direction. I’m surprised and slightly encouraged.

      • Don’t give too many kudos to Carey in this space any more but give the guy credit for this. A 4* QB entered the portal and his staff never said “he won’t come here” but iniatied the contact and closed the deal. That’s damn impressive. Now let’s go out and get the Buffalo running back, Justin Fields, South Carolina DL Jordan Burch (is he related to Swift?), etc. etc. As Triumph The Insult Comic Dog might say, “I kid, I kid.”

      • Agreed. A blind pig can still find a truffle, but it takes great recruiting to find the 10th and Diamond in the Rough.

  5. John head is fine, but I’d check out his AstroTurf knees. The portal has changed the game, and Temple needs to dominate. Moneyball meets Ebay. The coaching staff must program a trusty “process” to google and click on the next LB.com, OL.net, and DT.org, and twitter them into temple.edu.

  6. I really hope the Owls can turn it around next year. Maybe Carey has finally got the guys in and experienced enough to run his system. But losing so many talented players to the portal is concerning.

    Cincinnati getting screwed by the CFP committee has me bummed a little though. Will an AAC team ever be able to do enough to get real consideration? I feel like that is another factor that puts a ceiling on what Temple can do in terms of retaining elite upperclassmen

    • Temple is not playing under the same “fairer” system it played in as recently as 2016. Starting to ruin my enthusiasm for the sport. Wish college football as 1/10th as “fair” as college basketball is.

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