Somewhere, Rod Carey’s got to be talking to himself

It’s impossible to find a single photo of Rod Carey laughing and joking with Temple players like Matt Rhule does here.

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.

Even Steve Addazio was popular with Temple players.

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.

Friday: Temple-Tulsa


22 thoughts on “Somewhere, Rod Carey’s got to be talking to himself

  1. Hey Mike, I hope this note finds you doing well. And, I very much enjoy your ditty’s, weekly. I typically don’t waste my time writing to Administrators, Athletics Directors and the like but I am compelled to share with you my communications with Wingard and Johnson. My initial letter was heartfelt and welcoming. Briefly, introducing myself to them. Light hearted, kindred in kind but obviously sincerely hoping to here back from them. At one point, I did hear from Katie Colbridge-Ganzelli. Her response was typical and ironic, she asked me for my cell number which was contained in my letter long with my email ID and my home address. I wasn’t hiding behind my keyboard. I followed up with a second letter because I am “TEMPLE TOUGH”…to no avail.That said, here’s what I know. Carey has destroyed the culture more importantly our “brand”. He’s like a snake eating his tail. A slow painful death. He doesn’t connect and he hasn’t earned the respect of the fans, parents or student athlete’s. Nor do I think he tries. For 3 years, I have watched him put our student athlete’s in the worse possible position. He doesn’t know their abilities and he really doesn’t know how to adjust weather it’s a “game plan” or an approach to the process. The kids under previous coaches understood the process, coaches were approachable and they genuinely cared about the kids after they left the Livingroom. And, the kids were tight that a fist! They trusted and respect the game, the effort and each other. Basic blocking and tackling of a cohesive team.The  quin·tes·sen·tial  deterioration is obvious to the average Temple fan. But, the math and science is the under current that puts our program on the ropes. We only field 19 sports,  to most conferences that’s an issue. Consider the geographical ebbs and valleys with leaving the AAC and deleveraging the 4th largest TV market and the math doesn’t work.  And, the deterioration of the basketball program and we have the ingredients/chemistry of a synergistic outcome. Since graduation I have more than donated back my scholarship. When the dropped baseball my pen ran out of ink. I continue to support the student athlete’s, the effort and will continue to do so…the current atmosphere was created by them. They juggle school work, practice, weight & film room, meetings and maybe have time to do some personal laundry. I don’t believe for a New York minute that we possess the 3 elements to develop, build and maintain an athletic program. Sorry to be negative but I have followed Temple sports since 1969. And, they treated Coach Wilson like an old pair of shoes. They have a long history of not diving into the deep-end. I forgot to mention, I had my first letter hand delivered to Johnson because the University failed to have his email set up on his first day of work. But, when Jayden went to the portal he was remove from the rooster immediately. We’re paying this guy 167k per game, 33,400 per  hour and roughly 400k per loss. I could go on but I wanted you to hear directly from me and my efforts to connect with this administration. I listened to Johnson’s inaugural words and his 90 day plan but Rome is on fire. Watching the game last week, I was stunned and sicken by the attendance and play. I also canceled my flight (for Barb & I) car rental and hotel reservations for the Navy game. I enjoy seeing my brotha’s in K-Lot. The loyalty that exists in that group is a mirror image of trust and respect for each other. They share a common love and respect for the game, the effort and the commitment to the process. Thanks for listening and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am flying in this weekend to hook up with a few of my teammates from the 77 team. Tony Roni’s out in Upper Darby then back to my roommates home so our wives can here us tell stories. Never gets old… 

    Best Regards,

    Michael DiGiacomo | 216.402.7034

  2. Just saw that VT and Fuente have mutually agreed to part ways. With what looks like so many FBS opening don’t think TU can wait until the end of the season to move on from Carey. Michael DiGiacomo’s post here seems to capture the situation all too well. I am starting to think the money isn’t there to let Carey go, no matter how bad, with 3 years left on the contract to be bought out. Having a nightmare that we could see him for another year or 2!!! as the HC

  3. I thought Carey’s contract was for 5 years not 6 – people keep saying he has 3 more years left, unless last year didn’t count?
    Altho it’s way too late I thought I detected Carey “trying” to cozy up to the players during the game, had his arm around one for a long time on the sideline for example. Of course I only saw what was shown on TV. Someone posted a suggestion recently that Temple should fire Carey and tell him he’ll only get a portion of the money that’s coming to him. Good idea but a contract is binding and that’s why I keep saying it was a ridiculous contract offer to begin with. But it would be groundbreaking and maybe precedent setting to essentially let these coaches know “you may have a contract but you need to do a decent job none-the-less, or else.” Try it anyway – Temple has a law school after all.

    • Since the 6 million buy out number keeps getting brought up thought that was for the remaining contract after this season? I was at the game and for the most part Carey was generally standing off by himself around the 30 yard line, probably a good 10-15 yards away from the majority of the players. Times when he cozied up to specific players was more the exception than the norm

  4. Mike you should’ve put yourself on your “break the story” poll! You’re the man with the contacts and the inside scoop on TUFB- give yourself some credit

    • Trying to keep this as objective a poll as possible plus I think that with the immediate impact of Twitter that’s probably the platform where all the firings are first heard about. I first heard about Justin Fuente, though, on my YouTube recommendations when I got up this morning so I probably should have included that in the poll. I heard about Daz leaving on KYW first (which broke the story probably because Harry Donahue was on air at the time and he’s well-connected with the big boys at Temple by being the voice of the Owls). Also heard about Rhule leaving 11:45 a.m. on KYW as well. KYW has almost ignored sports since, though, unless you include puff pieces with Widener and West Chester athletes.

  5. Mike G hits the proverbial nail on the head. Carey doesn’t connect with people. Certainly not student athletes. I’m not implying he is a bad person, just that his personal skills are not adequate to coach at the FBS level. Sure you need to be able to make adjustments, scheme and game plan effectively but you also need to get 18-23 year old students to come to practice, study hall, meetings and games with emotion and energy, not flying around and playing emotionally and taking penalties, but controlled aggressiveness. It starts at practice, the dining hall, study hall and carries over to games. It was obvious when players were laughing on the bench during a shellacking from UNC that this program was headed in the wrong direction.
    Student athletes that don’t have a connection with the coach (in this case Carey) are like employees that can’t stand their boss. Ineffective. You want an FBS HC job, bring some vigor, moxie, personality and be genuine. You could absolutely 100% tell that Carey did not have that in year 1. Admit mistakes. Be human and say “you know what, I screwed the pooch with Ed Foley, my bad”. Have some self deprecation in your conversations with players and alumni. Sports I know are a business, but it also doesn’t hurt to enjoy going to practice, enjoy walking to the dining hall after practice together, enjoying a flight or lifting session. This team seems to be utterly devoid of having any fun. I feel for the student athletes as 4 years go quick and that’s it for most of them. I’m happy Mike G can hook up with his buddies and rehash old stories, I’m just sorry this team 30 years from now will look back and say “you remember that guy that was coaching us, how the hell did he get that job”.


    • Only went to one game: BC. Nice to get together with friends but I came away thinking if we have Russo he makes those connections with Jones and blue that were open all day. I saw enough. Carey has ruined my Saturdays. I’ll be back when he’s gone.

    • I think you just wrote the job description for when TU posts the position on the job boards.

    • My goodness this hits home for me like a punch in the gut. I have seen this type of manipulation and lived it. These coaches have control over these young men because they can say and label anything they like without the student athlete being able to defend themselves. This really has me pissed and although I haven’t heard both sides I know what they can do. Quite frankly, with the amount of players leaving I am leaning toward believing their side.

    • Seems like when a coach has met up with his level of incompetence and knows he is stuck in a situation where he has failed and doesn’t know how to change to improve, some will take it out on the athletes. Long time ago I was in the stands at a game when Bobby Wallace was floundering badly and some players parents were talking, actually complaining, about how he put the kids through some hellashis workouts – abusive sounding stuff, certainly stuff they had never encountered before under other coaches. Most athletes don’t mind working hard, listening to what they need to do and pushing themselves – and the satisfaction that goes with it – especially if you’re winning. Having fun inwardly and with your team mates should be part of the experience. But abusiveness, especially if you’re losing most of the time, is another thing entirely.
      BTW, So, which is it? This is Carey’s 3rd year. Does he have 2 or 3 years left on a 5 or 6 year contract?

  6. Mike, This is a great analysis, and agree with my teammate Brian Krulikowski, this should be the job description. I also sadly agree with him that this this entire Carey Scenario feels like a gut punch. We lived the Jerry Berndt years, which were not pretty, manipulative coaches, driven by their egos that attempted to cover up their own insecurities as men. It ruined the game for me. Vicariously it was revised through Al Golden and I was able to get behind Temple Football again along with the help of this blog. Whether or not anyone admits it or wants to acknowledge it, coaches like this create an environment that cause real emotional trauma. The university owes it to these young men and representatives of the school to act swiftly and kick Rod Carey to the curb. So much damage is already done, but it does not have to continue.

    Please dig more into the story unfolding over Twitter with these kids! Thank you for your contributions to Temple Football through your writing. The pen is truly mightier than the sword.

  7. Financial issues are one thing, but if this is a scenario where the environment and coach is flat out punishing kids and not providing the positive experience that college athletics should be about, screw the money and get this guy out of the building yesterday. I’m w/ Joe Wentzell. Losing and not enjoying the program is one thing (that we know is present), anything negative impacting the student athletes beyond that and Wingard, Johnson and the BoT needs to act. We know this coach can’t connect, seems like his staff follows suit. Either way those that get hurt the most–TU student athletes. End this regime Mr President.

  8. Players are abandoning this program faster than we can keep track. This guy has to go now.

  9. Just saw on OwlsDaily another player left the team, senior DT Kevin Robertson. This is beyond ridiculous at this point. The Tulsa game needs to be the last for this HC. Would things be any worse for the Navy game if Infante and Preston Brown and any other non NIU members of the staff were the only coaches on the sidelines!!!

  10. And now Mathis is gone.

    What could they possibly be waiting for? Another week and they might not have any scholarship players to field a roster.

    • TU doesn’t get it. TUFB died when the BoT failed to secure a site for an OCS.

      They gave John Street a token position on the BoT. Why? Cronyism stupid politics.

      Instead, why not populate the BoT with TU activists?

      ESPN 30 for 30 where are you?

  11. Temple needs to find a way to buy Carey out in incremental, small payments, even if it goes on for a long time – at least they could afford it that way and get rid of this guy NOW. And NEVER offer another deal like that again. But, knowing how TU screws things up, they probably put it in his contract that he will get his 2 mil every year. Geesh, I hate how this whole deal was fumbled away – literally and figuratively. And now the basketball situation is looking like a disaster too!

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