Temple football coach Rod Carey admits it isn’t ideal, but he said having a bye after the first game of the season has its benefits for his team.
Maybe so, but if given truth serum, Carey would definitely want to say bye-bye to this week’s bye.
His team opened Saturday with a 56-12 win over Bucknell in a game that didn’t test the Owls very much, although compared to their next opponent, Maryland, Temple’s opener looked like a barn-burner. That’s because Maryland, which visits Temple on Sept. 14, opened with a 79-0 pasting of Howard to begin the Michael Locksley era.
The big difference is that Maryland has an actual test this week when it hosts Syracuse. The Orange are two-point underdogs.
Blowout wins, especially in openers, can leave the winners with a false sense of security and the losers with plenty of bruised body parts and egos. At least Maryland will get to test itself against a quality Football Bowl Subdivision team before facing Temple. The Owls will have to rely on going against one another in practice to simulate the competition they will face from Maryland.
In looking at things the way Carey has, the major benefit of the bye is allowing players who were nicked up from training camp, specifically tight end Kenny Yeboah, who missed the opener, to heal. Carey said on Monday during the American Athletic Conference teleconference that he is confident that Yeboah will be ready for Maryland.
Even though Owls quarterbacks Anthony Russo and Todd Centeio threw for a combined 507 yards against Bucknell, just 12 of those yards went to tight ends.
Another benefit is that the Temple coaches can hit the recruiting trail. Carey talked about how excited he and the staff will be to watch high school players in action on Friday night. As a new staff, it is important that the Owls are visible, especially among the local schools.
The Owls also have a bye after an Oct. 26 home game against two-time defending American Athletic Conference champion Central Florida. (Talk about good scheduling: Teams that play the Knights usually need a week off.) After that bye, Temple will visit South Florida for a Thursday night game on Nov. 7, not forcing Temple to play a Thursday game on short rest.
Russo, who missed two weeks of preseason camp with a calf injury and didn’t return until Aug. 26, says the time off this week will give him a chance to get sharper.
After looking at the film, Carey said what all coaches say -- that the Owls have so much to work on. We imagine Locksley has been saying the same thing, something like, “Hey, guys, we won by 79, but we didn’t have things together on that one illegal-procedure penalty.”