Monday, April 26, 2010

Required summer fiction: Owls' depth chart

Just a hunch, but this guy will be Villanova's biggest nightmare on Sept. 3.

Not quite up there with the Harry Potter Series, but the best work of fiction this spring has been penned by Al Golden.
Or at least part fiction.
It's called the 2010 Temple Football Depth Chart.
For something to while the time away in the "reading room" I like it.
There's some humor in it and I like comedy.
There's a strong purpose to it, mostly to light a fire under some of the more talented Owls.
That's all OK because this is a rough draft and not the finished version.
It's not this depth chart that needs to be taken seriously, it's the one released in the pre-game notes on the day of the Villanova game that matters.
I have a feeling, except for positions like quarterback, running back and kicker, there will be a lot of tweaking to it before the Mayor's Cup game.
QB - Chester Stewart, Chris Coyer or Mike Gerardi
WR1 - Michael Campbell OR Hammond OR Deon Miller
WR 2 - Joey Jones OR Rod Streater followed by Haldeman
TE - Charlton OR Brown, then Alex Jackson, Cody Booth
RB - Bernard Pierce, Ahkeem Smith, Matt Brown
K - Brandon McManus

DE - Adrian Robinson, Blueford
DE - Kadeem Custis, Johnson
DT - Big Mo Wilkinson, Paulhill
NT - Joseph, Jeff Whittingham OR Levi Brown
OLB - Tavir Whitehead, Quenten White OR Blaze Caponegro
MLB - Peanut Johnson, Marcus Green OR Johnson
OLB - Amara Kamara OR Jordan
CB - Marquise Liverpool OR Johnson, Nixon
CB - Jones, Griffin
FS - Jaquain Jarrett, Parker, Parker, Gildea
SS - Kevin Kroboth, Vaughn Carraway
P - Jeff Wathne or Cerrette

I think Evan Rodriguez, someone not even listed on the four-deep version, wins the TE job by Villanova. Gosh, I hope so because the ceiling of this guy's talent is about as high as the Volcanic Ash cloud from Iceland. He looked pretty good to me in the Cherry and White game.
I think the staff is intrigued enough by the 6-6 size on one side that Miller gives and he grabs that WR1 job.
If Charlton starts and plays significant minutes at tight end against Villanova (say, half the game), I will be stunned out of my mind.
Who knows what happens at quarterback, but I think Golden got it right. Chester Stewart has been here for awhile and it was his job to win in the spring and he might have just done enough to win it.
He certainly did enough to get Charlton moved to tight end.
I like Amara Kamara at linebacker and I like the size and athleticsm that Custis brings to the other end spot. That should help Adrian Robinson a lot.
Imagine being Chris Whitney on opening day, if you will:
A nasty 6-foot-4, 265-pound Custis coming at you from one end and a speedy equally nasty Adrian Robinson coming at you from the other end and people like Big Mo, Jeff Whittingham and Levi Brown helping to collapse the pocket from the middle.
Call that novel War and (Whitney) Piece.
And that would come under the category of non-fiction.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thoughts from Cherry and White Day 2010

Some questions answered, some answers questioned and otherwise random thoughts from Cherry and White Day 2010:
I think this Mike Gerardi kid bears watching. If he doesn't have the "it factor", he's damn close to having it.
1) It's hard to make a decision about quarterback _ I liked all three quarterbacks, but no one really stood out on this day. Chester Stewart aired it out on the last play of the first half, but it didn't come close to a receiver. I like the fact that CS competed. I also like the fact that Chester Stewart had no interceptions all last season. I liked Mike Gerardi's poise. I thought that Chris Coyer had too many passes dropped. Slightest, if any, edge to Stewart on this one day. Great to see Vaughn Charlton out there competing at tight end and showing the a positive attitude and leadership he always displays. Gerardi looks like he's been there before. He looks like he expects to start. Everybody tells me he has no shot at playing, but it's always those guys you have to keep an eye on. The same people who poo-poo Mike Gerardi said Matt Brown wasn't going to do didly and he got 155 on Ohio on the MAC East title game. I think this Mike Gerardi kid bears watching. If he doesn't have the "it factor", he's damn close to having it. That's all I'm going to say on the subject. None of the three QBs did enough, but I'd have to rate Stewart's deep ball the best and Gerardi's poise the best based on this one day. Coyer probably blows them away in the elusiveness category, but everytime someone touched him, that was ruled a sack and that's just not fair to a guy who can duck out of danger and make positive yardage.
2) Event really is too big for the Edberg-Olsen Complex _ It's saying something when the best seats in the house are in the high-rise apartment complex across the street. It's got to be moved to Ambler next year. Bring the field up to standards. They have a nice horticulture program up there anyway. Put those students to work. I didn't go up on the deck because some day that thing is going to collapse below the weight of too many people and I don't want to be there when it does. Another reason to move it to Ambler.
3) Thank God Bernard Pierce didn't get hurt _ It says something that all three quarterbacks were wearing the orange ("don't hit me") jersey, yet it was open season on next year's Heisman Trophy winner (hopefully). I say take the orange jerseys off the quarterbacks next year, too.
4) Vaughn Carraway can catch after all _ The most heralded pass receiving recruit in a number of years finally found the field and the ball with a real nice interception. Hopefully, that's a portent of things to come.
5) Liked the contributions of big DT Levi Brown,   DE Adrian Robinson, WR Rod Streater, WR Delano Green, Pierce (of course) and the pride of Wall Township (N.J.) High, Blaze Caponegro (two interceptions on tipped balls), among so many. Brandon McManus, the best kicker in the MAC, nailed about a 51-yarder, which was a good sign particularly in a 24mph crosswind. Didn't like that there were so many tipped balls, but that can be worked on in the coming days.
Overriding thought was that I can't wait until Sept. 3.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spinning Charlton's move to tight end

"Everybody was blown away by his vertical stretch, by how soft his hands were, and how well he ran with the ball after the catch."
_ Al Golden
Today's operative word is spin.
It's a form of propoganda making a move or position more sellable.
There have been a few famous "spin doctors" in the arts and media over the years.
My favorite was a guy named Mike Flaherty, played by Michael J. Fox, in the sitcom Spin City. Flaherty, the deputy Mayor, specialized in getting the mayor out of trouble by spinning an issue that otherwise wasn't flattering.
I could only think of one word when I heard the quotes coming from Al Golden's lips about Vaughn Chartlon's move to tight end on Wednesday.
"Everybody was blown away," Golden told "Everybody was blown away by his vertical stretch, by how soft his hands were, and how well he ran with the ball after the catch. So of all the things that you guys ask me every day, it's probably the biggest news, probably since I've been here."
Yeah, right.
Charlton has played no other position than quarterback since Pee-Wee ball, yet Golden gives a glowing report on the potential of Charlton as a pass-catching and route-running Division IA tight end.
Basically, Golden is telling us _ exaggerating just a little for effect, here _ that we might have had a John Mackey or a Pete Retzlaff right here under our noses for four years without realizing it.
If that's not spin, I don't know what is.
I'm not buying it.
Listen, I'm on board with the decision, whether it was Golden's or Charlton's. Vaughn is a great kid and a terrific team leader.
A lot of people I've talked to say it doesn't make sense because they've been grooming him to be quarterback for five years and he deserves a chance.
I've seen enough to know that they could groom him for five more years and he'll never be half the quarterback Adam DiMichele was or Henry Burris was or Brian Broomell was.
Temple needs a playmaking quarterback who can make good throws (often) under pressure. I don't think Charlton ever responded to pressure quite the way, say, DiMichele did. I don't think Charlton ever put enough points on the scoreboard.

I'm betting that the immensely talented Evan Rodriguez is better equipped to put up those kind of numbers, if properly used

Temple's program has reached the point where it needs to go from one Adam DiMichele to another Adam DiMIchele. There should never have been a disastrous drop in talent at that position, particularly when you have a recruiter as accomplished as Golden.
What happened, I think, is that both Chester Stewart and Chris Coyer (and possibly even Mike Gerardi) have passed Charlton on the depth chart.
The move to tight end was pure spin, a way to lessen the impact of the fall to the bottom of the depth chart.
If Chartlon catches 60 passes for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns next season and blocks like Mike Ditka, I will admit I'm wrong.
I'm betting that the immensely talented Evan Rodriguez is better equipped to put up those kind of numbers, if properly used. Rodriguez's backups are more likely to be named Matt Balasavage, Cody Booth and Alex Jackson than Vaughn Charlton.
And that's no spin.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Has Cherry and White Day outgrown the E-O?

That's me behind the railing trying to get a peak last year.

Watched a little bit of the North Carolina football spring day on ESPN last weekend.
I was interested in a quarterback that they kept bringing up as being a future star, Bryn Renner.
Virginia High school football fans will remember Renner being involved in quite a few battles with rival Oakton High and its star quarterback, Chris Coyer.
Experts put both quarterbacks pretty much on the same level and Coyer earned player of the year honors.
I'm sure any questions that North Carolina fans had about Renner's arm or leadership skills were answered in the spring game. He had a productive day.
I'm wondering what questions will be answered about the Owls on Saturday in the 2 p.m. scrimmage at Chodoff Field.
Some I'm interested in, no particular order:
1) When will Coyer get to show his running skills?
I hope they allow the quarterbacks to get hit (I doubt it) because Coyer's ability to make plays in the open field with his legs will separate him from the other three quarterbacks, in my humble opinion. All four quarterbacks can throw the ball. Owls need to be multi-dimensional at that position. The Catch-22 here is that you end up starting the same guy who started last year if all the Cherry and White game becomes is a glorified passing drill.

2) Has the Cherry and White Game gotten too big for the E-O?

My vote is yes because I arrived some two hours before last year's game and could not find a spot in Lot 10. I had to park four blocks away at the Baptist Temple. If the game can't be moved to Lincoln Financial Field, I vote for Ambler.
Or Northeast High.

3) Will we see an improved pass rush?

Not unless they take the orange jerseys off the quarterbacks (see No. 1).

4) How much action will Heisman Trophy candidate Bernard Pierce get?

My hunch is plenty, but not 40 carries. I'd say between 10-20 for C&W, shooting for 20-25 quality ones per game during the season.

5) Where is the best place to buy Temple gear?

Err, Cherry and White. You can't buy good Temple stuff in any store not on campus, yet I get hundreds of comments from people throughout the year about "where'd you get that cool Temple (sweatshirt, T-Shirt, hat, etc.)?" I'd always say, truthfully, Cherry and White day. No other day compares when it comes to that stuff. Bring cash.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

We'll never top last year's April Fool's joke

So here it is, an instant classic, based on the convergence of a report in New York Newsday concurrent with April Fool's Day.
We picked it up and ran with it and, surprisingly, a number of people fell for it despite seeing the day of the post.
That's the best kind of April Fool's Joke anyway.