One of the recurring themes of every Stan Drayton press conference is that the Temple football Owls are a work in progress.
That’s usually what happens when the last owner of the house put a propane tank in the driveway, tossed a match over his head and did his darndest to blow up the whole place down before taking the keys in his pickup truck and driving home to Illinois.
Drayton’s Owls rolled up their sleeves and swept some of the embers out of the driveway in the second half of a 30-0 loss to Duke, laid a nice foundation in a win over Lafayette, and started to put up a few sturdy walls in a 16-14 loss to Rutgers.
What happened on Saturday in a 28-0 win over UMass represented some nice windows and a front door.
Next week, maybe the roof gets put on in Memphis. This is real work, not a pre-fab job, so maybe we as fans are expecting too much, too soon.
What is apparent, though, is that any win in college football is pure Gold and the Owls mined a couple of nuggets on Saturday.
Ask Miami (Fla.), which lost to Middle Tennesee State. The Hurricanes are spending $8 million per year on Mario Cristobal (after eating $14 million of Manny Diaz’ contract) and their return on investment is questionable at best. I imagine those Cane fans are nowhere near as satisfied today as Temple fans are.
Temple ate $6 million on the arsonist’s contract and is paying Drayton $2 million per.
The trend appears that Temple might be getting more ROI than Miami by the end of the season, but we shall see.
There were at least a couple of good signs on Saturday.
One, their really good tight end, David Martin-Robinson, made his first appearance of the season and was a factor in the success of both the run and the passing game.
Two, the defense posted the first Temple shutout since 2016 (three that year). If that weren’t a good-enough sign, Temple won the AAC championship that year.
As work days go, not perfect but more got done on Saturday than on the other three work days. They finally got the turnovers they needed but there remains a lot of work to be done in their own running game. That piece looked a lot better when Quincy Patterson came in at quarterback.
A week from now, the Owls will be facing a Memphis team in revenge mode so maybe that day won’t be as productive as this one.
That won’t stop the Owls from building and, if they hammer fast enough, they could get a presentable front porch done by the end of the week. If they win, they can set up the grill and party on it once the final seconds tick off.