A pretty intelligent guy who often visits the Edberg Olson Complex and has a finger on the pulse of Temple football used a word that surprised me about the general vibe around the place.
Not last night, not last week, but way back in February.
“I’ve never seen the place so dead,” he said. “There’s a malaise around the program right now with all of the players leaving and a lot of those staying unhappy. Very few of the kids like the guy (Rod Carey). He’s no Matt. He’s not even Geoff (Collins). Practices use to be fun. Hell, lifting in the offseason used to be fun. There’s no fun anymore.”
Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word malaise: “a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify.”
Uh-oh, I thought.
That’s one of the reasons why I went out on a limb Feb. 11 in this space and predicted a 2-10 season. I was wrong by a game. It’s going to be 3-9.
Football is a game. It should be fun. At Temple, it’s not.
That much became abundantly clear when the Owls got pushed around on Saturday night by a 1-5 USF team that hadn’t won a conference game in two years.
This coaching staff had 15 days to prepare for that 1-5 team and came out with a game plan so puzzling that just about every Temple fan got scabs from scratching their heads. After a cornerback got ran down by a tight end on a muffed field goal, I thought, “no problem. We’re going to put Tavon Ruley in there and he’s going to need no more than one or two plays to get a 7-0 lead.”
The much lighter Edward Saydee was in and stuffed on first and then they held on second down and the Owls threw an interception on the next play.
The Owls didn’t adjust to a four-man front until the fourth quarter to stop the run and, by that time, it was far too late. The adjustment should have been in the first, not fourth, quarter.
You can tell a lot about a team by its body language.
The Owls seemed listless and there was nobody in the defensive huddle to fire up the troops.
Even when the Owls scored a touchdown, they were lifeless. There was almost no celebration. It was almost like a relief.
I was tempted to go to twitter and constantly hit refresh with search items Sunday like “Rod Carey” and “Temple football” hoping for an announcement of a press conference at Sullivan Hall to fire the head coach. I didn’t bother because I know how Temple leadership makes major decisions.
History shows it’s deliberately and often too late to solve the problem. Just like the school’s football coach, they wait until the fourth quarter to solve a problem that should have been taken care of in the first.
There’s another word for that.
Friday: UCF Preview