A year ago in this space after a brutal 34-14 loss to USF, we vented.
We wrote an open letter to Temple University President Jason Wingard asking to fire Rod Carey.
Don’t know if this blog was the reason Temple did something Temple never does–eat $6 million of a $10 million contract–but losing to USF was the final straw. The Bulls ran all over Temple and it was painfully obvious Temple never hit the weight room in the offseason. On top of that, Carey’s strength coach turned out to be an alleged serial abuser of athletes and former player Iverson Clement’s video documenting the abuse made its way to athletic director Arthur Johnson’s office.
Don’t know where the money came from but that post got at least 30 eyeballs in oil-rich Kuwait so maybe we had something to do with the buyout. (I’ve checked our figures and that’s 15 more people from Kuwait on a given day who usually view this site. Maybe there’s a closet Temple football fan in the Kingdom. If so, God bless you, sir.)
Temple then hired Stan Drayton and the one thing Drayton has gotten right is the weight room. He hired two of the top strength guys away from Ohio State and, if anything, the Temple numbers in the weight room have doubled what they were under Carey.
Plus, the kids love the strength coaches.
On Saturday, it showed.
Temple was the team that pushed USF around and those numbers, finally, were reflected on the scoreboard in a 54-28 win over the Bulls at Lincoln Financial Field.
This was the Temple team we thought we’d see from the jump this year, a team capable of a 6-6 season on the way to an AAC championship run next year.
Better late than never.
Incredibly, USF entered the 2021 game as a 3.5-point favorite and won by 20. It also entered this game a 3.5-point favorite and lost by 26.
That’s a huge one-year turnaround and it’s the difference between Drayton and Carey.
There are a couple of ways to look at this game that can be put either in the half-full or have-empty category.
One, USF is so bad that this game can be viewed as an outlier. That’s the half-empty way to look at it.
Two, that Temple is improving so rapidly we can now expect a couple of more wins before the season ends. Maybe more. That’s the half-full way of looking at it.
Put us in the half-full category.
One, as bad as USF has been, Saturday was the first time it was blown out in a league game by at least 26 points. This has been a representative team against Cincinnati (a 28-24 loss), the storied Florida Gators (a 31-28 loss), 19th-ranked Tulane (a 45-31 loss) and Houston (a 42-27 loss).
Two, the Owls might have finally found their offense.
For two years, we’ve been scratching our heads wondering what two coaching staffs saw in Edward Saydee but we were told by those who watched the practices that Saydee has been by far the best practice running back for two separate staffs.
Finally, practice translated to a game in a 268-yard performance.
That took the rush off E.J. Warner and he shined with a couple of touchdown passes. Warner is a very good quarterback when he doesn’t have a hand in his face. Maybe Saydee’s emergence means he won’t for the rest of the season. We can only hope.
Three, the defense–save for one game–has been good all year and, even though the Owls gave up 28 points, that side of the ball can be counted on the rest of the way.
If now the offense joins the party, there is not a team remaining on the schedule Temple can’t beat. That could not have been envisioned even a couple of days ago.
Monday: The Reaction