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.