If you would have told me on the first day of 2020 that there would be a pandemic and all of us would be wearing masks until well into 2021, I would have said, “Yeah, right, get the bleep outta here.”
After the happenings of the last 10 months or so, I’d believe anything going forward.
So, by contrast, what happened to Temple football over October and November is small potatoes. Who would have thought in 12 short months the Owls would go from a respectable 8-5 team that had their championship destiny pretty much in their own hands as late as the final road game of the year at Cincinnati (a 15-13 loss) to a team that was lucky to finish 1-6. How did Temple go from a team that beat Maryland, Memphis and Georgia Tech to a team that will likely be a double-digit underdog in the opener at Rutgers? (Mind you, the Maryland team Temple beat in 2019 destroyed Rutgers, 48-7, three weeks after the Temple game.)
On a believability scale, I’d rate it a little below pandemic, asteroid and nukes but not much.
New Year, New Hopes?
I guess but that rash of signings of big-time Power 5 portal players between Dec. 14 and Jan. 1 that was needed has not materialized and who knows if it ever will? Right now, as we sit here in a New Year, I’m projecting two wins–Wagner and Akron–with the current talent on the roster. Give me high-profile P5 portal starters at defensive end (2), defensive tackle (2), linebackers (2), offensive tackle (1) and a big-time running back (1) and I might increase that to six wins.
It’s hard to remember the last time I’ve had lower expectations for a Temple football season. Maybe the last Bobby Wallace 0-11 one, but I still thought they would win two that year.
You can only control what you can control. It’s asking a lot of the current staff now to sign eight “sure” starters but that is the adult minimum offseason requirement before starting a late spring practice in April. It is the minimal talent level needed for Temple to have even a chance of winning. Simply, it’s what is required of a CEO who is making $2 million a year. It’s not much of a stretch to say that urgency is required of this particular task and, if nothing is accomplished in, say, four weeks, you can pretty much assume this staff is sitting on their collective asses and doing nothing of substance.
This post was supposed to be about the five plays that defined the season but, upon research, there were much more. The Navy opener was one of the most poorly coached Temple games I’ve ever seen, from a failure to stop a simple fullback dive (something Air Force and BYU had no trouble doing) to the only trick play of the season being a wide receiver pass to a tight end.
If that wide receiver had thrown that pass to another wide receiver (Jadan Blue, for instance) instead of a tight end, the Navy defensive back would not have been able to catch up to him like he did with the tight end. A really poorly designed play. That was the difference between a touchdown and a missed field goal and the Owls lost that game by two points. That game was so important because it could have jump-started the momentum process and led to a decent season. More importantly, the Owls had between Dec. 28, 2019 and October 10 of this year to get ready for a triple option team and showed no interest in doing so.
You can talk about COVID all you want but the Temple football hierarchy did a poor job game-planning and play-calling and that had nothing to do with COVID.
Since they can control that area, that must improve or their career demise will be a lot more predictable than any pandemic, asteroid or nuclear disaster.
Monday: Making the E-O a fun place to be
Friday: What Joe Temple Fan Can Do