Monday, August 31, 2009

A look at the enemy: Villanova

Villanova is ranked No. 2 in the country.

Thursday night should be spectacular.

By Mike Gibson
I'm going to make a confession that'll probably get me beat up in the parking lot by my fellow Temple fans a couple of hours before Thursday night's game will Villanova.
I like Villanova football.
Villanova basketball, not so much (because of Rollie Massimino).
Villanova football, I like.
I always have.
When I was deciding to pick a team, I was 8 years old and lived in Southwest Philadelphia. My dearly departed father (Nov. 5), a Villanova grad who worked seven days a week, gave me two tokens to take the 13 trolley to watch Penn play.
Today, an 8-year-old kid riding the trolley alone would be big news on Regis and Kelly.
Back then, it happened all the time.
I later talked him into giving me tokens for the Red Arrow line to watch Villanova play and, somewhat after that, more tokens for more buses to get up to Mt. Airy to watch Temple play.

Temple's No. 1 priority should be getting to the quarterback.
I loved watching those teams. Don Clune and Billy Creeden were my favorite Penn players. Darryl Woodring and Mike Siani were my favorite Villanova players. I liked Joe Mesko and Skip Singletary at Temple.
I finally told my dad that Temple was the only school thinking big-time football of the three and I was going to support Temple's efforts to bring big-time football to Philadelphia and I was becoming a Temple fan because of coach Wayne Hardin.
But I always liked Penn and rooted for Villanova as well.
I'd still rather watch Penn and Villanova if Temple's not playing than Georgia or Florida or Texas. Those areas have never meant anything to me.
I probably will root for Villanova again, after 10 p.m. or so on Thursday night in the parking lot at the when I'm drinking a few victory Diet Pepsi's (I don't drink and drive).
I will hate it between 7-10, though, and wish I was Adrian Robinson of all Owls that night.
Or maybe Muhammad "Big Mo" Wilkerson or nose tackle Andre Neblett or even Elisha Joseph at the other end. Big Mo is 6-5, 301, Elisha is 6-3, 275. Andre is 6-2, 230.
I'm settling on Robinson, though. In order to win, Temple's No. 1 priority should be getting to the quarterback.
Robinson is the "rush" defensive end, the MVP of the Big 33 game two years ago. The sophomore is mean as hell and runs a 4.46 40-yard dash. He'll be coming at Villanova quarterback Chris Whitney from the blind side. I expect him to cause a lot of havoc when Whitney goes back to pass. I expect Big Mo and Andre and Elisha to help him collapse the pocket.
I won't actually BE Adrian Robinson (good for Temple, because I'm 5-6, 180 and run an 8.7) but I will BE the guy yelling "BALL!!! .... BALL!!! ..." from the stands the moment AR pops Whitney in the back and the ball comes free.
When the pocket collapses as it should on a regular basis, I expect Amara Kamara, John Haley, Alex Joesph and Elijah Joseph to join in the party and pick up loose balls, pick off tipped balls and take them back the other way.
That's something DBs Anthony Ferla, Dominique Harris, Jaiquain Jarrett and Marquise Liverpool have to be thinking about, too _ jumping routes and picking off balls.
A good coach always puts himself in the shoes of the other coach.
If I were Andy Talley, how would I attack Temple?
Probably not on straight runs against a team that big and strong with that kind of run support. Probably not with deep passes because I couldn't protect my quarterback long enough for those routes to develop.
If I were Talley, I'd go to a lot of quick outs and see if I can dink and dunk my way down the field, shorten the game and hang around for three quarters.
I think that's just what he'll do, him being crafty and all.
I like Talley and I like Villanova football.
I just don't like them for three hours Thursday night, not against that defense and with only one option to attack it.
Temple, 34-13.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Updated depth chart for Villanova game

I'm struck by how many Owl players got "most impressive in camp" as judged by their fellow Owls.

2009 updated Temple Football Depth Chart for Villanova game

Please support these great players and outstanding young men representing our university by going to the games and cheering your head off. Click on the game logo for tickets.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When it comes to TU football, Don Tollefson is one of the few (only) media 'good guys'

Temple's permanent locker room at Lincoln Financial Field

Photo by Dave Gerson

By Mike Gibson
Can't talk about 2009 Temple Football Fan Fest without first talking about the 2008 version of Temple Football Fan Fest.
Last year's TFFF came on Aug. 20. I remember that date because I did a doubleheader.
Fan Fest late afternoon, followed by Phillies game at night.
First, though, I heard Don Tollefson on my radio.

Don Tollefson and Jim Gardner back in the day.
I know his wife is an Archbishop Ryan and Temple grad, like myself, so I picked up my cell phone, called 950 ESPN and told the producer I wanted to talk Phillies.
(That's the only way a Temple football call gets on sports radio in this town, fool the producers, but I digress.)
I did talk Phillies.
Kind of.
"Don, I'm headed down to the Phillies, but first I'm going to stop off at Temple Football Fan Fest," I said.
"Wow," Tolley said. "Al Golden is doing a great job with those Owls."
"Yeah, I'm a Temple grad and an Archbishop Ryan grad," I said.
"Double wow," Tolley said. "You have like no degrees of separation with my beautiful wife."
That's the only way a Temple football call gets on sports radio in this town, fool the producers

Tolley and I then went on to talk for 10 minutes about Temple football and how they were going to spank Army in the opener.
The university couldn't have paid enough money for that positive airtime.
Oh yeah.
I never got around to my Phillies point.
Didn't matter.
What Fan Fest really is, or is designed to be, is to get Temple some positive press and mention in media that it normally gets neglected by, places like Comcast and sports talk radio.
If it alerted thousands of people to the game and energized the fan base, it was a success.
The biggest news coming out of this year's Fan Fest was that Vaughn Charlton was named the starter at quarterback, but I had that on this website last week.
Didn't make this year's Fan Fest because of an inner ear infection, but 3,000 of my fellow Owl fans did and they got to see the beautiful facility the Owls have.
No other college football team in America plays in a better stadium.
Now it's high time for Owl fans to fill that stadium and make it a real house of horrors for opposing teams.
Starting in about one week.