Anyone who had Sam Wilson’s Economics 101 Class knows the law of diminishing returns all too well.
Now Rod Carey might be starting to understand it.
Temple spoiled a 130-or-so round trip to Rutgers for most of the 100 to 200 Owl fans who made the trip not necessarily by losing the game by the ignominious score a 61-14 but by what Carey has done since he arrived on campus.
Ignore one-third of the game of football.
Diminishing returns, also called law of diminishing returns or principle of diminishing marginal productivity, is an economic law stating that if one input in the production of a commodity is increased while all other inputs are held fixed, a point will eventually be reached at which additions of the input yield progressively smaller, or diminishing, increases in output.
The commodity that was increased in this case was the perception that Temple had somehow improved from a 1-6 season by a) being able to practice more) and b) a team bonding preseason in the Bronx.
That perception was shattered on Saturday because at best the Owls’ other inputs remain fixed or were significantly decreased.
We wrote in this space many times in the offseason that the Owls lost too many good players and did not bring enough in to offset the losses. These were not malcontents who left the program. They were good, mostly local, kids stuck in an ill-fitting system and valuable starting players who never “felt” a connection with a largely midwestern staff.
My biggest fear was that the Owls would be only favored in two games–Akron and Wagner–and probably finish 2-10.
That’s looking more and more like the case now and beating Akron turned from a given to an if over the last 24 hours. Two and 10 five years removed from a 10-2 regular season would be a disaster.
If so, the university has to put the big boy pants on and do what every other university has done–eat the contract of the head coach and find a better fit.
Because this is Temple, and we all know the history of Temple all too well, that’s probably not happening. When was the last time the university fired a high-profile coach of one of its two major sports with money still on the table? That happens everywhere else.
Temple never eats contracts.
Temple would rather lose than pay two contracts even though the administration would be better off following another Sam Wilson economic maxim: Spend money to make money. (I was a journalism major but that class was a damn good elective. I got an A. Carey would have probably gotten an F.)
So what happens?
We are left with a head football coach who completely ignores one-third of the game of football.
Last year we were promised special teams would get better.
They got worse.
Al Golden said special teams are just as important as offense and defense and he had terrific punt and kickoff returners who flipped the field. On the other side of special teams, he blocked punts and field goals. That tradition continued under Matt Rhule and Geoff Collins. The one constant under all of those guys was that the special teams keys were given to Ed Foley and none of the previous head coaches had to worry about that car crashing.
This year the coaching staff said they had fixed those problems.
Don’t tell us, show us. What they’ve shown us in three years is abundantly clear.
This team doesn’t even try to return punts or kickoffs, or block kicks.
What did we see on Saturday?
A punt returner who routinely allowed the ball to bounce far behind him without advancing it and a kickoff returner who failed to secure the ball. That led to two early touchdowns by Rutgers and the rout was on after that. (Hell, we could mention this team’s penchant for kicking the ball straight to dynamite returners but we’re too depressed to do that.)
Carey said he got rid of the best special team’s coach in the country, Ed Foley, because he wanted “an extra coach on the field on defense.” How is that coach working out after the Owls allowed 62 and 55 against UCF and UNC two years ago, 47 points to SMU and 41 points to Memphis last year and 61 against Rutgers today?
Err, probably not as planned.
The loss of Foley for an “extra defensive coach on the field” is about as good a definition of diminishing returns as we’ve ever seen.
Monday: Meanwhile ….