The game has passed Rod Carey by and somewhere, deep down, the Temple University head coach for the next couple of games has to know it.
For the last few weeks, Carey has been on a loop at these post-game press conferences with statements like “our offense didn’t give us a chance to win” or “our defense played well enough to win” or “we’ve got to coach better.”
Deep down, even if he doesn’t say it, Carey knows what really happened. In the offseason, he harped on the “next man up” mantra but, in college football, you run out of next men up who are good enough to replace the previous men.
If he was honest with himself, he’d come to this conclusion:
“I’ve never been a player’s coach and, since the portal came, this is the worst time to be a hard ass.”
“We lost 15 good players in the transfer portal and I just didn’t do a good enough job of replacing them. I guess I just rubbed those guys the wrong way but that’s just my personality.”
That’s the Gosh-honest truth, whether he wants to admit it or not.
While Temple had a mass exodus of players leaving, plenty of other G5 schools had nobody leave. CUSA champion UAB had nobody leave for Power 5 schools. Sun Belt champion Coastal Carolina had nobody leave. AAC champion Cincinnati got more players in the transfer portal than it lost. Do you think Coastal quarterback Grayson McCall could have improved his draft status by transferring to a Power 5 school? Sure. But he was happy where he was and the way he was being used.
Not true for Anthony Russo, a pocket passer who this staff tried to remake into an RPO quarterback. It would be naive to think that players like Vince Picozzi, the team’s best offensive lineman last year, or Arnold Ebiketie, the team’s best pass rusher, felt they were being utilized to the best of their abilities as well. If they were, they might have stayed.
The difference not only was that those teams were championship caliber but had coaches who were popular enough with the players and fostered a culture where everybody–both the good players and the next men up–were all in. At Temple, only the next men up were all in and that was the downfall.
Think about it. There are plenty of photos of Temple players laughing and joking with Matt Rhule, Al Golden and Steve Addazio. I have not seen a single one of a group of Temple players laughing and joking with Carey. At Temple, under Golden, Rhule and Daz (and even Geoff Collins), football was both fun and business.
Under Carey, things are pretty grim and there are fewer grins.
Temple was the hardest-hit G5 school in the transfer portal by far and the reason is as plain as the nose on Rod Carey’s face. It has shown on the field.
In a place like Northern Illinois, there was no transfer portal, Carey could hold things together because those players had no options.
Now things have fallen apart and even Humpty Dumpty can’t put it back together again.
Do you think Temple has the same mass exodus of talent with, a popular players’ coach like Matt Rhule or Al Golden?
That’s a lesson for the administration when they look at the type of personality they want to bring in to replace Carey at the end of the season.
For Carey, though, the days of his style of coaching might be over and, when he talks to himself at night, that’s probably a realization he’s come to as well.