Networking: Understanding the landscape

There is no straighter path to success in college football than a large committed home fanbase.

Some head coaches understand that.

Some do not.

Fortunately, the early signs are that first-year (we can’t call him new anymore) head coach Stan Drayton understands that.

Drayton will be part of a fan tour hitting a number of places in the next few weeks and, at least for those 250,000 Temple alumni within a short driving distance from any of the above events, it will be worth networking with the new Temple head coach.

I’ve always wrote in this space that Temple is playing in too large a stadium even for a short-range alumni of 250,000 people, up to (at times) 40,000 full-time students and 12,500 full-time employees.

Simply, that’s because only about 10 percent of the above groups even are mildly interested in football.

Still, filling more than half of a stadium of 70K has always been a reasonable goal with one caveat.

Winning.

Now, if Temple won consistently like the other big-time schools, maybe 40K is a floor and not a ceiling but that kind of winning has been out of reach for eight of the last 10 years.

So building a fanbase person by person is done through the kind of outreach Drayton is doing over the next month.

It is also the kind of networking the last guy from Indiana/Illinois hated.

I’ve done a number of these outreach things over the last decade. On one day in New York City when I was scheduled by the producers of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” for an interview (I was one of only two people in a group of 200 to pass a 30-question test), I noticed that five blocks down the street that night Temple was doing an alumni outreach at a swanky NYC club that featured Fran Dunphy and Steve Addazio.

I signed up for that.

The Millionaire show soon moved to Las Vegas, eliminating all the New York contestants not able to afford the trip, but the Temple show made the trip to NYC worthwhile.

My two friends from the Hardin Era introduced me to Daz and we got into a pretty good conversation about how pissed Daz was about Bernard Pierce leaving a year early and Daz telling us how he was “thisclose” to kicking Matty Brown off the team.

One of the guys then interrupted.

“Steve, Mike is the guy who writes Temple Football Forever,” he said.

“Mike, please do not write this,” Daz said.

I didn’t but I now assume the statute of limitations has expired. We won’t get into the why part but Daz had a pretty good reason to kick Matty off the team.

Fortunately, Steve didn’t do that because a few months later Brown scored the first two touchdowns in a 14-0 lead over Army that turned into a 63-32 win.

I then walked over to Dunphy and we had a terrific conversation based on the fact that one of his teammates, Lefty Ervin, was my history teacher in high school. Fran then regaled me with stories of his time at LaSalle with Ervin (also a great baseball player) and at Army with Coach K.

No nicer guy who ever coached at Temple than Fran Dunphy and coach John Chaney (who I also knew) was a great guy and a better coach.

Pretty good stuff.

Temple fans might not have an opportunity to get this close to their marquee head coaches any time or anywhere than the next few weeks and it’s well worth the time.

The current landscape is that, with opportunities for the athletes to make serious money playing for the Owls, the alumni who have deep pockets could network with these coaches to brainstorm opportunities in the fourth-largest city in America.

The others with shorter pockets?

Well, a fan base of 40K is built on a lot of things and personal interaction is vital to a loyalty factor.

Winning, of course, is at the top.

It always is.

Monday: The Breakup

Now Drayton starts the hard work

Getty Images

There were plenty of things to like about Stan Drayton’s opening press conference and what he said.

What he did not say was how hard the work he starts this week will be so what happened on Sunday night added some context.

Props to Scott Grayson of Fox29 for the kind of sit-down interview on Sunday night with a new Temple head football coach we used to see the night of the hire.

Channel 6’s Ducis Rodgers did more of a “stand-up” interview at 11:45.

Better late than never.

The Sunday night show on the other two major Philadelphia channels featured a rehashing of the NFL’s decision to postpone the Eagles’ game with Washington.

Yawn.

Temple legends Ed Foley, Matt Rhule, and P.J. Walker.

At least Philadelphia fans were exposed to Temple, which is also a good thing.

What Drayton didn’t say at the press conference, he touched on in the interviews–which was how tough the task will be to clean up the mess left by Rod Carey, without mentioning either the mess or Carey’s name.

“I’m in the process of interviewing coaches; I’m in the process of recruiting players and talking to my own players,” Drayton told Grayson. “Recruiting will be the lifeblood of any program.

“We’re sitting in a hotbed of talent … there is a pool of talent. There is enough for more than just Temple. Temple has to build that culture right here in that backyard.”

At the press conference, Drayton used the term “chasing greatness.” Geez, since everyone “chases” greatness, I wish he said something more definitive like “we’re going to win championships and bowl games.”

Matt Rhule mentioned that in his presser. Steve Addazio promised “multiple bowls wins” even though he delivered just one.

That’s nit-picking, though, compared to the work ahead.

To me, the first thing should he should do is what Manny Diaz did in his short 18 days–commit to a Temple-centric staff that then included Ed Foley, Adam DiMichele and Fran Brown. Diaz was credited with hiring Gabe Infante. Now Drayton can shore up a lot of recruiting by keeping Infante to lock down the Pennsylvania side of the river and Preston Brown the New Jersey side.

Carey’s biggest mistake was bringing an entire Northern Illinois staff to Temple, and easing out Temple guys like DiMichele, Foley and Fran Brown. He did hire Preston Brown, but it was too little, too late.

It’s a positive that in the Sunday interviews Brown reiterated his desire to bring in “Philadelphia” coaching connections but hopefully, that emphasis is on “Temple Philadelphia” and not “Villanova Philadelphia” or “Penn Philadelphia.”

The first move would be to bring Foley back. Matt Rhule is in trouble and rumors are that he will be fired. Getting the best college special teams coach in the country would be a major coup for Drayton who, if he watched the film over the last two years, knows that Temple’s special teams have been a joke. Foley would also help with local recruiting.

Other than that, you can expect Drayton to build a staff based on his 28 years of contacts at several schools. Let’s hope he keeps his promise about Philadelphia connections and, specifically, knowledge of and appreciation for Temple itself.

Friday: Quick Turnaround

TU coaching search: Checking all the boxes?

Had an interesting text back-and-forth with a longtime observer of Temple football who mentioned Candidate X (we won’t say who his name is) and added confidently, “he checks all the boxes.”

Hmm.

“Where’s the box for prior head coaching experience?”

“Err, all the boxes except that one, I mean.”

“That’s a box, too, and a pretty important one.”

“You mean like Rod Carey?”

“No, Temple needs to find a guy who checks all 10 boxes, not nine of the 10 boxes. Carey checked the head coaching box, but didn’t check the other nine boxes (things like knowledge of the recruiting footprint, Temple personnel, etc.)”

My point was that if you can get a guy who has head coaching experience, knowledge of Temple personnel and recruiting footprint and all the other boxes, why not go for the 10 boxes, not the nine?

If someone like that wasn’t out there and available, that would be one thing but there are a few.

Our post from Dec. 3 … I still have that feeling and I hope to hell I’m wrong.

Hopefully, the Temple administration gets a guy who checks all the boxes and, in my opinion, that eliminates all but a very few top candidates.

Al Golden checks all the boxes. Gabe Infante checks all the boxes and, to a lesser extent, a guy like Chris Partridge (Ole Miss DC) checks all the boxes due to his one year as head coach at Paramaus High. Lesser extent is the key phrase here. In fact, Preston Brown’s two seasons as a regional South Jersey championship head coach catapults him over Partridge in the all-important head coaching box. He already has him beaten in the knowledge of Temple and recruiting department. (Although Partridge does have a rudimentary knowledge of Mid-Atlantic recruiting.) Golden and Infante, like both Fran and Preston Brown, are popular with the players (and the players’ families) and have the added bonus of being winning head coaches.

Golden, Infante, Patridge and Brown pairs the guys who check all of the boxes to just four. Dan Mullen checks the head coaching box, as does Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton, but getting a guy who understands Temple in and out are the top boxes. Mullen and Creighton strike me as Carey 2.0. While all of the other high-profile head coaches have gone to the big power schools, Temple does have a chance to hire one head coach who would be better for Temple than all of them.

Head coaching experience might not be the most important box, but it needs to be on the “all boxes” list. It would be nice to have a coach who locks down special teams, who has an attacking defense (and not a slogan like Mayhem) and a ball-control offense that keeps your own defense off the field.

That comes with experience calling the plays and being a CEO of a successful program. College experience is preferred, but if you’ve proven you can be the CEO of a championship program at a lower level, that’s better than a running backs coach who has not.

Why do I get the feeling that Temple will hire someone who checks some of the boxes and not all?

That’s because the names I’ve been hearing, like Texas connections Elijah Robinson (A&M line coach) and Stan Drayton (Texas RB coach) keep popping up.

If the search committee serves as a guardrail in place so that another crony hire doesn’t blow up in Temple’s face (like Pat Kraft and Rod Carey and Bill Bradshaw and Fran Dunphy), it will have served its purpose.

Hopefully, they’ve got a list that doesn’t miss any boxes and they check them all off.

Monday: The Announcement

Carey’s failure should be a warning for Temple

“Why don’t the guys like me, Anthony?” “Well, coach, you are pretty aloof, you don’t care about special teams and I’m not a running quarterback and you are trying to get me killed in this RPO. Other than that, they like you just fine.”

Somewhere, a few hundred miles apart, a couple of men are scratching their heads and asking a single question over and over again.

“What went wrong?”

One guy, Pat Kraft, lives in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Rod Carey’s tenure at Temple would make a great 30-for-30 someday.

The other, Rod Carey, was last seen packing boxes onto a pickup truck in Haddonfield, N.J.

The answer to the question should dictate how Temple hires its next head coach and it’s a pretty simple one: The game as currently constituted has passed coaches like Carey by and he probably will have trouble getting another one simply because of his personality.

When Kraft hired fellow Indiana University alum, Carey, it looked good on paper because Carey had a 52-30 record as a head coach on the FBS level with presumably lesser talent than Temple.

Geoff Collins holding an impromptu outdoor practice in the snow 2/17/17, making football fun 365 days at Temple. Owls need to find someone who gets along with the players like Collins did with the gameday coaching ability of a Wayne Hardin or a Gabe Infante.

Then the transfer portal stepped in and ruined it for all old-school coaches like Carey.

The transfer portal, which really hit the Temple program at the end of the 2019 season, robbed Temple of the AAC defensive player of the year, Quincy Roche, and that opened up the floodgates for everyone else to leave the program.

Carey was an old school “my-way-or-the-highway” guy who was quoted back then as saying “if you enter the portal, you are off the team.”

He wasn’t known as the type of guy who got close to his players or whose players were comfortable confiding in him so they viewed that pronouncement as a threat and took him up on it.

In that way, he was different than his predecessor, Geoff Collins, who was close to his players and they to him. Collins has failed at Georgia Tech because he has been exposed as a subpar recruiter who took from Temple a mostly FCS-level staff but there can be no doubt that the Temple players responded better to his “type” than Carey’s. Say what you will about Collins but he cared about special teams and special teams were a three-year problem at Temple after he left.

I’d really doubt we’d have the mass bleeding in the transfer portal if Collins remained here and that’s half the battle.

The coaching on the field is the other half.

Carey also tried to force feed his NIU run-pass-option system onto players Matt Rhule mostly recruited to play another system. Had Carey tailored his schemes to the talent of his players and not the other way around, the Owls could have avoided the 63-21, 45-21 and 55-13 losses they suffered in Carey’s first season.

That was a huge red flag to the fans and the players saw it, too.

What does that mean for the next hire?

Temple has to pick someone with the personality of Collins, the gameday coaching ability of Wayne Hardin and the flexibility of someone like Rhule, who proved that he was open to change after his second season. (It was then he dumped Marcus Satterfield and the spread and went to a more NFL type offense with Glenn Thomas.)

Hard to do, but not impossible.

There is that guy out there and plenty of other G5 schools have him in Luke Fickell, Jamey Cantwell and Hugh Freeze, who possess all of those qualities. It’s naive to think that only those three and a few others have the complete package.

Finding him is difficult and, if it takes much more time than the hasty search conducted by Kraft after being burned by Manny Diaz, it will be worth the wait.

Friday: Guardrails in Place

Ultimately, firing Carey was a business decision

Hat tip to our friends at Fire Rod Carey for this graphic.

In the end, Temple’s firing of Rod Carey was a business decision.

Do you let the contract run its course and pay the money owed to Carey or do you cut the losses and move forward?

Temple chose to move forward. For that, every single Temple Owl owes a debt of gratitude to athletic director Arthur Johnson and President Jason Wingard today.

Al Golden in an interview Aug. 15, 2021

(Not to mention those two owe Carey a $6 million debt.)

The bottom line Johnson and Wingard faced after Saturday was that do you play the next three years in an empty 70,000-seat stadium, watch an entire roster walk out the door and lose with Carey or generate enthusiasm, stop the roster bleeding and win with the next guy?

Johnson and Wingard correctly chose the latter option.

There will be plenty of good candidates and one great candidate to replace Carey and the question today is if the great candidate isn’t interested, plenty of people better than Rod Carey will.

The best Temple running back of the Carey Error checks in with his choice for the job.

Looking at the business end of it, hiring Al Golden is a no-brainer.

One, he already proved he could do the job at the exact same place with even heavier lifting than will be required now.

Two, he would bring instant credibility with the fans and sell gobs of season tickets. (Don’t know what gobs are but if you accept Temple’s number of approximately 10,000 season tickets sold for 2021, he could easily double that with a name recognition factor.)

In the firing Rod Carey movie, the role of Arthur Johnson will be played by Denzel Washington.

Three, he comes with a binder full of recruiting contacts up and down the East Coast and would be welcome by all high school coaches into any building he wants to visit in Pennsylvania or New Jersey. (Carey was disliked by most Pa. and Jersey high school coaches.)

Four, he would bring an NFL pedigree with him having coached in the NFL since his departure from Miami. Every Temple player at least has dreams of playing in the NFL and he can show them what they need to do to get there.

Five, he probably has a burning desire to get the bad taste of Miami out of his mouth and Temple would provide him with the opportunity to do it. (And, really, how bad was a 33-25 record at Miami despite crippling sanctions?)

In a business where winning comes first and the bottom line comes next, there’s no one who fulfills those requirements for Temple more than Al Golden.

If the front end of today’s decision was based on business, the back end should be as well.

Friday: The other candidates

Temple football: The waiting is the hardest part

Temple AD Arthur Johnson with my friends Joe Greenwood (left) and Sheldon Morris (right), two great players from the Bruce Arians’ Era who probably gave him an earful.

After Saturday night, The Unholy Trinity of Temple football head coaches had the exact same season in 2021.

3-9.

In an era where 80 of the 130 FBS teams playing football make a bowl game, Steve Addazio, Geoff Collins and Rod Carey all finished in the bottom 50 and, really, in the bottom 10.

That’s not the only thing they had in common.

Daz benefitted from the talent Al Golden recruited to go 8-4 (he really should have been 11-1) in 2011 and both Collins and Carey benefitted from the talent Matt Rhule recruited.

All three turned out to be frauds but, until now, Temple never had the unpleasant task of firing any one of them. Boston College took Daz off Temple’s hands by hiring him after a 4-7 season based on his 2011 season with Al Golden’s recruits. Georgia Tech was fooled by Collins’ success with Rhule’s recruits. Carey’s only good season came with Rhule’s recruits. Temple has been lucky, really.

Every single other school fires coaches.

Now it’s Temple’s turn.

Dr. Jason Wingard needs to act not tomorrow but right now to get Temple its next great football coach.

Do they answer the call or cower in the corner?

Over the next 24 hours or so, we will find out if Temple is serious about excellence in football (or as a university as a whole) or just gives it lip service.

What was most shocking to me after Navy’s 38-14 win over Temple on Saturday was the fact that Carey was even allowed to be talking about the future.

Arthur Johnson, Temple’s new AD, should have put his arm around Carey before he walked to the podium and said, “Hey, Rod, we’re going to pay you but please don’t talk about the future. You won’t be here after Monday or Tuesday. Just talk about the game.”

Instead, Carey talked about a “plan in place” to improve for next season.

Hey, Rod, you had your chance for that plan and it was last season, not this one.

Everybody and his kid brother at the end of last season picked Temple for last place for 2021. In order to avoid that fate, this staff had as it charge improving the roster to the point that it would compete for six wins, not half that much.

In order to do that, Temple had to get players to replace the 15 good ones who left last season.

It got six.

The math never added up.

If Temple, a team that produces more NFL talent than anybody else in the G5, couldn’t use that as a selling point to compile an FBS-worthy transfer portal roster from just the P5 talent in it, the Owls certainly could have put together an FCS all-star team that would have given them a chance to compete.

What did we see instead?

Relying on the backups of a 1-6 season to make this one better.

Losses of 52-3, 49-7, 34-14, 37-8, 44-10, and 38-14 ensued and that adds up to a national embarrassment for a great university, its alumni, students and fans.

That’s the kind of math you get when you replace 15 good players with six lesser players.

Carey, with his five-year contract, probably thought he could have been lazy with recruiting in this offseason.

Temple’s administration must act and swiftly and swiftly means now, not a week from now or a month from now.

Until they do, they are proving to everyone they are not serious about sports. The wait should not have been this long and it better not be any longer or they will be playing before no more than 100 or 200 fans in 2022 in a 70,000-seat stadium.

A noon press conference on Monday should not be just recommended it should be mandatory.

After this dumpster fire of a season, waiting should not be the hardest part but, failing a swift post-game firing of Rod Carey, it is.

Tuesday: A firing press conference or a big announcement

Our long national nightmare is almost over

Even though Mathis announced he was coming back, do expect Rod Carey to be a prick and not play him.

The college football schedule has Navy at Temple listed right there at noon is and it is available on any television set whose owner wants to pay for it (ESPNU) Saturday.

Just one game.

“It will be a cold day in hell before Temple fires a head football coach” is what we’ve heard for years. Well, losing 42-7 to a subpar Navy team at home is hell and it will be cold enough that even Lazygote remembers the gloves on the way out the door.

Just the seventh of seven nightmares that a rapidly dwindling Temple fanbase will be forced to watch, either on TV or in person.

A program that averaged eight wins a year for the decade prior to Rod Carey’s arrival has slipped into oblivion for the last two. It was a program that played with a swag and a well-earned reputation for “TEMPLE TUFF.”

No more.

Fortunately, it will be over soon and picking the right guy to restore the tradition will be of paramount importance.

It ain’t Carey and the Temple administration has finally come to that expensive conclusion.

There are clues everywhere and a big one came earlier this week when Dwan Mathis returned to the team after announcing he was transferring.

The complete Saturday college football television schedule

My guess is that there was some type of phone call involved in this decision.

Scenario One:

“Hello, is this Dwan Mathis’ dorm room?”

“Yeah, I’m Dwan.”

“I can’t promise you anything except that we will play hard and be a team you can be proud of.” Two promises made, two promises broken.

“Good. Dwan, I’m Arthur Johnson, the new athletic director at Temple.”

“Yes, Mr. Johnson, I’ve heard of you.”

“Thanks. I just wanted to call you and tell you to not go anywhere. We’re going to have a great coach pretty soon and you are going to love playing for him.”

“Who?”

“Can’t say, but it won’t be Carey.”

“I’m back.”

“Thanks, man, I will talk to you later.”

“Thanks for calling, Mr. Johnson.”

Scenario No. 2:

Dad: “Dwan, this is dad.”

Dwan: “Hi, dad.”

Dad: “Son, did you know you can’t transfer to another FBS school without sitting out a year?”

Dwan: “Huh?”
Dad: “It’s there in the fine print. It’s either FCS for you next year or sit out a full year.”

Dwan: “How do I play FBS football next year?”

Dad: “Stay at Temple.”

Dwan: “I’m back.”

Temple needs a winning coach who the Owls will love the way Liberty loves Hugh Freeze.

Temple fans have to hope Scenario No. 1 is closest to the truth because, in my mind (and I’ve lived through both), the last six games have been the most embarrassing to watch as a Temple fan ever.

Yes, that includes The Jerry Berndt Error, The Ron Dickerson Error and The Bobby Wallace Error because then unlike now you saw teams trying and beating Big 10 teams (Berndt), and future ACC teams Pitt (Dickerson) and Virginia Tech (Wallace).

Another clue is that Johnson will have an “informal” meeting with the parents at K36 Saturday morning. Having been graciously invited to many parents’ tailgates over the last three years and listening to them, I’m guessing nobody is going to be defending this coach. In fact, if I’ve learned anything, it’s why the kids are leaving.

Johnson will get a similar earful.

These last six weeks under Rod Carey have been a complete collapse after guys like Al Golden and Matt Rhule supposedly restored a solid foundation. We could see it coming from a mile away (at least a few months) when we posted that the Owls would not be favored in any game not named Wagner or Akron.

It’s not going to get any better under this head coach.

Unfortunately, all of the smoke signals say that even though Mathis is back, Carey will be playing his midwestern boy Justin Lynch.

Good because that will be the final nail in the coffin of Rod Carey. Nothing against Lynch, who I think will be a capable quarterback in a couple of years, but it’s more indicative of Carey’s relationship or lack of same with Mathis (and most other Temple players) than anything else. He’d rather lose than play a more talented player if he feels that Temple player screwed him in some way.

Really, the only hope Temple ever had to beat Navy (slim and none) was for Mathis to duplicate his three-touchdown, 300-yard game against Memphis–the last time that Temple looked like a legitimate FBS team.

Shockingly, the Middies are “only” 12.5-point favorites.

We think this game has 42-7 written all over it.

Temple will do what Temple always does–come out in a three-man defensive front–and Navy will do what Navy always does–use the fullback to gouge the center of the field, setting up the quarterback and the pitch man for big gains.

Look for Navy to get about 40 minutes of possession to Temple’s 20 and for Carey to be shown the exit sometime Sunday or Monday.

For Temple fans, that means they get their team back on Tuesday after Carey nuked it on the way out the door.

It’s not perfect, but it’s waking up from a nightmare some thought might never end.

Picks this week: PENN STATE -1.5 at Michigan State, ARMY +4 at Liberty, and PURDUE -15 at Indiana.

Update: The strategy of picking only three games worked to break our 2-2 rut of the prior three weeks. RU let us down against Penn State but Louisiana-Lafayette not only covered at Liberty but won outright and Minnesota covered the meager 6.5 at Indiana to go 2-1 bringing our seasonal record to a more than respectable 26-21-1.

Sunday: Game Analysis

5 Potential Candidates for Temple HC job

Preston Brown could be the one who puts Temple football on the national map.
Al Golden

Another Monday goes past, another opportunity for a Rod Carey firing press conference goes by with a swing and a miss from the Temple administration.

It looks like Temple fans are stuck with this guy for another week.

Meanwhile, a lucky 13 other universities have already fired their head coach with an eye on the all-important Dec. 15 early (and really only these days) signing date.

Hopefully, new athletic director Arthur Johnson and new Temple President Dr. Jason Wingard are making their early Christmas lists for head coaches and checking them twice. Or they could be twiddling their thumbs which would be a disaster on the order of what we’ve seen on the field the last five weeks.

A number of names have surfaced in social media circles, some appealing, some not. We’re going to eliminate all of those names who don’t have head coaching experience anywhere and come up with the five most appealing names so far.

5. Tom Herman, offensive analyst Chicago Bears

Plusses: Knows the AAC, knows current Temple AD Arthur Johnson, beat Temple in the 2015 AAC title game so at least is aware the school exists.

Minus: Very little knowledge of Temple’s recruiting footprint and doesn’t fit the profile of past successful Temple coaches.

Rating: Probably a lot better than Carey (who isn’t?), but his ceiling at Temple is right around 6-6.

Verdict: Hard pass

Gabe Infante

4. Dan Mullen, ex-Florida head coach.

Plusses: From the Philadelphia area, knows the Temple recruiting footprint, a great gameday coach in all but this season.

Minus: Probably won’t have the energy needed to be a Temple head coach so his ceiling is probably around 7-5.

Verdict: At least worth a look.

3. Preston Brown, current director of Player Personnel, Temple football

Pluses: Has been a championship head coach, knows not only the Temple football recruiting footprint but every current Temple recruiting target. Would be able to stop the transfer portal bleeding that Temple has experienced under Carey. Record as a head coach 41-23. Rebuilt Woodrow Wilson High from an 0-12 season to two-straight South Jersey Group 3 titles.

Minus: None

Verdict: A potential home run hire who might do for Temple football what John Chaney did for Temple basketball. Ceiling: Double-digit winning seasons.

2. Gabe Infante, current running backs coach, Temple football

Plusses: A 91-23 record as head coach at St. Joseph’s Prep after a successful stint as a head coach in New Jersey, knows both sides of the river, has won four large school PIAA state championships in Pennsylvania, two-time National High School Coach of Year, players love him. Ceiling: Multiple AAC titles.

Minus: None.

Verdict: If the next guy says no, he’s your guy.

  1. Al Golden, linebackers coach, Cincinnati Bengals

Plusses: Knows Edberg-Olson Hall inside and out, loved by all the support staff and alumni and fans, has the “secret sauce” to win at Temple, would create instant excitement and credibility with the fan base that no other candidate would. He’s already in the school’s Hall of Fame and probably would have the kind of successful second stint at Temple head coach that Bill Snyder did at Kansas State. Would include Infante and Brown on the new staff and one could be named head coach in waiting.

Minus: Might not have the same burning desire to rebuild Temple the second time and is probably not as good a game day coach as the above four. Ceiling is 8-9 wins a year, but his floor is 6 wins and, since the floor has collapsed the last two years, Temple might want to shore that up before looking at ceiling repairs.

Verdict: Like Bill Bradshaw wrote on that yellow legal pad in 2005, “this is our guy.” Temple would have to woo him like a five-star recruit and hopefully Johnson has that salesman trait in him.

Friday: Season Mercifully Comes to an end

Sunday: Game Analysis

Rod Carey’s Final Countdown

If the Diamond Marching band wants a prolonged standing ovation, it will put a photo of Rod Carey where the “M” above is here during their halftime performance on Saturday. (Don’t worry, he won’t see it.)

There are plenty of things Temple, a school with 26,217 full-time undergrads, does better than Tulsa, a school with 3,171 undergrads.

The scripted plays this crack coaching staff work on all week to start the game have certainly had an impact.

Football, unfortunately, is not one of them as was documented in the Owls’ 44-10 loss on Saturday.

In that area, Tulsa joins a growing club that includes Rutgers, BC, USF, UCF, Cincy, ECU, and Houston.

One of the areas Temple has Tulsa beat, though, is the band because, from the 11:37 mark until the end of the game, the only song in the Tulsa band’s playbook was “The Final Countdown” by the band Europe.

The playlist of the Diamond Marching Band is much more diverse.

How appropriate, though.

For anyone who watched this latest abomination, there couldn’t have been a more fitting song. For the fans who remained around in the fourth quarter to watch and followed by performing some errands after the game was over (raising my hand here), they couldn’t get that damn 1986 song out of their heads.

Rod Carey has entered his final countdown as Temple University’s head football coach and the only thing we don’t know is how long that countdown will be.

If the Diamond Marching Band wants to go viral it will blow up this photo and put it in a symbolic trash can on Saturday all the while playing “The Final Countdown” by Europe.

It could be a day, two days, three days, a week or a couple of months.

Rest assured that he’s gone, though, because a school that invested $17 million ($7 million to build with a $10 million addition in 2010) in a football facility cannot stomach that investment being thrown away by the one incompetent coaching staff the school has hired since the building opened. A school that before this current season signed a 10-year extension at $1 million per year to remain at Lincoln Financial Field can’t afford for that stadium to be empty next year or the year after like it will be on Saturday.

So whatever the school has to spend to get rid of this guy it will and it should.

Thanks for the follow, Mr. Johnson. Now please do something.

The only debate is how soon and we certainly are on the side of not soon enough because we’ve already lost enough good players to the transfer portal and Temple cannot afford to lose one more player.

In fact, Temple needs a charismatic guy right now who can attract players from the portal, rather than repel them like the current guy we have now.

Simple math should dictate the school with 26,217 undergrads deserves a better football team than the one with 3,171. It’s past time for the administration to crunch the numbers and come to the same conclusion.

Tuesday: Hopefully coverage of Monday’s press conference firing Rod Carey

Temple-Tulsa: Can the Owls make history?

On the surface, the Temple at Tulsa football game is just another game between two losing teams playing out the string in disappointing seasons.

Upon closer inspection, though, history is at stake because it will probably provide the first answer to this question ever:

Can a dumpster fire win a college football game?

A comparison between Russo 2020 and Mathis 2021
Despite playing four more games, Mathis had three fewer TD passes than Russo.

Because, based not only on the developments of this week but of the last two seasons, that’s just what Temple football has become under Rod Carey.

It has nothing to do with the wonderful kids still committed to playing for Temple nor the current administration or the fans.

It has everything to do with the CEO on the football side, Rod Carey, who has chosen to protect his NIU carpetbagging coaching cabal over advancing the program he is handsomely paid to protect.

Let’s review what has happened.

One of the top five quarterbacks in Temple history in terms of winning percentage chose to leave the program to be a backup at a Big 10 school rather than continue to play for coach Carey. A backup quarterback at an SEC school picked Temple but had his fill of Carey in less than one season and has chosen to sit out next year (2022) rather than play for Carey.

A running back from Florida who was expected to be a starter, Iverson Clement, provided evidence of coaching abuse from the current Temple strength coach. He also published text messages proving Carey lied about Iverson “leaving” the team and proved Clement’s claim that he was “kicked off” the team.

If Carey lied about that, and he did, what else has Carey lied about?

My guess is plenty.

I wish Lew Katz, the chairman of the BOT’s athletic committee, and George Moore, the school’s ex-chief university counsel, were still alive because they would probably be able to find cause to fire Carey right now. Those two men loved Temple and would have not allowed Carey to get even this far.

The team’s best running back from 2019, Ra’Mahn Davis, backed up Clement and said the same thing happened to him. The father of the team’s best linebacker from last year, Isaiah Graham-Mobley, said his son loved Temple and would have remained there had it not been for Carey. So we have the team’s two best quarterbacks from the last two years leaving, the best linebacker leaving, the best wide receiver (Jadan Blue) leaving, the best offensive lineman (Vince Picozzi) leaving, the best pass rushers of the past two years (Quincy Roche and Arnold Ebekitie) leaving, the team’s two best corners (Christian Braswell and Linwood Crump) leaving, among many, many others who, if there, no doubt would have helped the Owls pummel Tulsa.

Now it’s essentially a game with the 2019 and 2020 Temple backups being asked to beat the 2021 Tulsa starters thanks to the fact that Carey has the personality of a wet washrag in addition to being an enabler of a horrible culture.

That, plus the fact that this coaching staff has shown zero ingenuity in three years, no desire to block or return punts, no halfback passes, no double reverses, no shovel passes, etc., etc., etc. that might mix up an otherwise drab game plan.

Dumpster fire indeed.

Ironically, the person who should have left a long time ago, Carey, boarded a plane for Tulsa today and will be on the sidelines ostensibly trying to lead the Owls to a victory on Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN+).

Former TU running back Mike Mitchell echos everything I’ve heard from the 20 or so TU players on the team I have talked to so far.

Ostensibly means apparently or purportedly but not actually.

That’s the best word to describe Carey’s presence on the sidelines tomorrow.

Check that, as Harry Donahue might say.

There’s one better word.

Pyromaniac.

Picks this week: Stuck in neutral (2-2) for three straight weeks so only used the few games that stuck out like a sore thumb. Jumped on RU getting 18 at Penn State (I have a feeling that game is going to be 10 or less), MINNESOTA giving 6.5 at Indiana, and LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE getting 5.5 at Liberty. (If I was really ambitious, would also pick Memphis getting the 9.5 at Houston, UAB getting 5.5 at UTSA and SDSU laying the 10.5 at UNLV but not as confident in those as the first three.)

Update: The strategy of picking only three games worked to break our 2-2 rut of the prior three weeks. RU let us down against Penn State but Louisiana-Lafayette not only covered at Liberty but won outright and Minnesota covered the meager 6.5 at Indiana to go 2-1 bringing our seasonal record to a more than respectable 26-21-1.

Saturday’s complete college football TV schedule

Update: Won last week on ODU and Rutgers and lost on Troy and UCF bringing our season ATS record to 24-20-1. The Troy and UCF losses cost us $2,678.97 (really, 10 bucks).

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: Hopefully coverage of the press conference to fire Rod Carey