Temple coach Geoff Collins is getting used to the ritual. After a difficult loss, it never fails that he praises his players for their effort and how hard they play.

After Saturday's devastating 28-24 loss to visiting Connecticut in an American Athletic Conference game, Collins added praise for his team for not pointing fingers.

Everybody seemingly wants to take the blame for this downer of a season that hit a low point on Saturday.

Why was this the low point and not blowout losses to Notre Dame and South Florida?

Because, UConn (2-4, 1-3) was in the basement of the AAC East entering the game.

The Huskies had lost 41-38 to East Carolina, a team Temple handled the previous week during a 34-10 win in Greenville, North Carolina.

What Collins has to be concerned about is that his team is making the same mistakes week after week.

Those mistakes include getting off to rough starts, both in the first half and the beginning of the third quarter. Once again Temple trailed at halftime, 14-7, against UConn and also for the third straight game, allowed the opponent a touchdown on its first third quarter possession.

The Owls have had a steady streak of dropped passes and the receiving corps was supposed to be one of the strengths of the team.

The penchant for excessive penalties continued in the worst way when the Owls were flagged 12 times for 117 yards, both season highs.

Collins had high praise for the attitude of junior safety Delvon Randall, who by all accounts made an impassioned speed to his teammates after the game.

"He told the whole team to look at yourself before start worrying about anybody else," Collins said. "That is huge for young kids to step up at the end of a game, a tough game, a hard-fought game, having the presence of mind to make sure he is the leader and making sure guys are looking at themselves and fix what they can fix instead of looking at other players and worrying about what is wrong."

Again, that is admirable, but when a coach has to praise his team for its attitude rather than its play on the field, it isn't a great sign.

Randall was probably the best person to deliver the message. He has played as well as anybody on the defense and maybe the entire team.

Enough aren't following his lead of making big plays on a weekly basis.

Collins took the blame for the penalties and said they would be corrected.

"We focus every single day on penalties," he said.

If that is the case, maybe the Owls should change how they go about focusing, because it's not working. Last year Temple averaged 43.14 yards per game in penalties. This season the average is 70.14.

As suggested many times, Temple shouldn't be compared to last year's 10-4 team that won the AAC championship, because there is no comparison.

That was more of a veteran team, but plenty of this year's players earned valuable experience in a winning atmosphere last year.

Collins keeps referring to his team as "young" but the Owls had 10 players who are either seniors or redshirt seniors in the starting lineup against UConn. Plus, Temple has now played seven games. The Owls are 3-4 and 1-3 in the AAC. Any young players who have seen action have certainly had enough time to get their collective feet wet.

Yes, the Owls have had some injuries, but every team goes through that.

What hasn't happened is that enough veterans have not stepped up with their play on the field.  And the Owls keep making the same mistakes over and over. Until that is remedied, the first-year coach will likely be looking for things other than his team's play on the field to praise them about.