Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tim Riordan is now a Buffalo fan

You might not be able to see it, but Tim Riordan is third from the left, first row, seated next to punter Sean Landetta.
I got an email the other day from a Tim Riordan and that got me thinking about Temple's Tim Riordan, who was one of my favorite Temple quarterbacks.
Tim was Wayne Hardin's last quarterback at Temple and Bruce Arians' first, so he spanned a couple of eras in back-to-back seasons.
Under Hardin, Riordan called an audible in the Carrier Dome that beat Syracuse, 23-18, in 1982. Down, 18-16, in the fourth quarter, Tim looked over to the Owls' sideline, gave a hand signal, patted his side, nodded to Hardin and Hardin calmly nodded yes. He then changed the play at the line of scrimmage and threw a fly pattern to tight end Scott Andrien that went for 44 yards and a TD. No histrionics, no confused looks to the sideline, no wasted timeouts, just a simple point and a simple nod. That was Temple football under Hardin. Supremely organized and efficient and constantly outsmarting the opposition.
That year, Riordan was the No. 7 passer in all of NCAA football. He still holds the Temple completion percentage record (63.9 percent) for one season.
In 1983, Riordan made just enough great plays to beat Syracuse, 17-6, in Arians' debut at Franklin Field.
"I'm not kidding myself. With Riordan in the game, maybe it's different."_Joe Paterno, after 1983 game against Temple
He went down with an injury early in the Owls' loss to Penn State, ironically enough by the same 23-18 score he beat Syracuse by, and Joe Paterno grudgingly admitted afterward that the outcome probably would have been different had Riordan not gotten hurt.
Riordan was a third-round choice of the Arizona Cardinals and eventually played quarterback for the Philadelphia Stars of the old USFL.
Now Tim Riordan is in Buffalo, a big-time University of Buffalo football fan running a blog called Bull Run, the guy who sent me an email. He's not OUR Tim Riordan, though, and not related to the former Temple quarterback. (Hey, if the REAL Tim Riordan wants to send me an email and tell me what he's up to, it's templefootballforever@gmail.com.)
Tim knows all things Buffalo football, so I tossed a few questions at him regarding Saturday's noon MAC East conference showdown.
While this Tim Riordan will be in the stands on the Buffalo side, what this Temple team needs most is OUR Tim Riordan. I wish Vaughn Charlton could throw the short to intermediate throws like Temple's Tim Riordan once could.
Vaughn does throw a better deep ball than Riordan, but what good does that do if you are only going to throw one deep ball a game?
No histrionics, no confused looks to the sideline, no wasted timeouts, just a simple point and a simple nod. That was Temple football under Hardin. Supremely organized and efficient and constantly outsmarting the opposition.

Instead, we're getting the other Tim Riordan in the stands for Saturday's game.
Welcome, Tim, and here are my questions and his responses:
1) What is the difference between the running styles of Mario Henry and Brandon Themilus vs. James Starks. Temple fans are very familiar with Starks, not so much the other guys.

Over the past two seasons Thermilus (83 yards) and Henry (165 yards) have done far more damage to Temple than Starks (46 yards).

Thermilus is a horse, he will punish the defensive front seven every time he touches the ball but on the odd run when he breaks into the open he is not fast enough to take it to the house. Thremilus also lacks the burst needed to get around the corner on better defenses.

Mario Henry has impressive speed, he can hit the corner but he lacks the power of Thermilus. He is not going to break too many fundamentally sound tackles.

Both backs have had trouble holding onto the ball this season.

I've always though of James Starks as the best parts of Henry and Thermilus. He had explosive speed yet was powerful enough to take it through the center of the line. Most of all he was good as a receiver out of the backfield.

2) How would you compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of Maynard and Willy?

Maynard has a much stronger arm, a lightning fast release, and is far more mobile in the pocket. Maynard is, physically, the better quarterback in just about every way. He can make some of the tight trows that would have been difficult for Drew.

Drew had better leadership skills on the field and I think he had the immeasurable ability to be the quarterback you needed in a pinch but much of that is owed to his three years under Turner Gill, Maynard may eventually get there as well.

Maynard lacks the touch to put the ball in just the right place, that was a luxury UB enjoyed last season. Maynard also has shown some questionable pocket presence, nothing sinful, just what you would expect from a first year starter.

3) How would you compare UTEP to Central Florida and which team did you think was better and why?

I would have to say UTEP played the better game, They were a holding call away from beating us and they did it without 4 turnovers and as many short fields in the second half.

4) Who are the playmakers (names and numbers) on defense for UB?

Our defensive backfield is talented, experienced, and hard hitting. #30 Mike Newton is, in my opinion, the best player on defense. Davonte Shannon, #7, is the other big name in the secondary. Both, I think, Are good enough to be drafted.

Justin Winters, #34, is having a good year at linebacker but other than that our defensive front seven is having a pretty weak season. UB has yet to put real pressure on a quarterback, or shut down a running game.