Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hawaii pulls out of talks with Temple

If the Owls get to six wins, they would likely be slotted into a sweet bowl.

Hawaii could not resolve a myriad of issues.

The road ahead just got a lot bumpier for Temple's football team on becoming eligible for a bowl for the fourth-straight season.
Hawaii pulled out of talks to give Temple a 12th game today because it could not resolve ticket issues.
It would have been tough enough to get to a bowl game with Hawaii on the schedule and now it appears to be near impossible.
Now the Owls will have to get to a bowl the old-fashioned way: By earning it.
Four games left, two against teams that have been in the top 20 most of the season, one against a Syracuse team with a premier quarterback, Ryan Nassib, and another against an Army team that beat Boston College.
 Not easy. The Owls will have to hold serve against Army, pull a mild upset against Syracuse and an even more shocking one against either Louisville or Cincinnati.
 The road ahead:
Anthony Robey: Lock-down corner
LOUISVILLE _ The game will be played at 11 a.m. Louisville time (12 in Philadelphia) and is the only home game not a sellout the rest of the way. Louisville has a tendency to play "up" or "down" to the level of competition. It was not able to blow out a horrid Southern Mississippi team in the rain (21-17) and it barely got by a bad Florida International team (28-21). Louisville and Temple both struggled to beat South Florida (Cards by 27-25, Owls by 37-28), but Cards handled a Pitt team (45-35) that handled the Owls. If the Temple secondary doesn't start knocking balls down (and maybe even intercepting one or two passes), it won't matter against a quarterback like Teddy Bridgewater. Except for lock-down sophomore corner Anthony Robey, a 4.39-40 speedster, the Owls look lost on the back line of their defense.
ARMY _ Hopefully, Matty Brown will be 100 percent for this game at West Point because he has been Army's worst nightmare the past three years. Two years ago, in a 42-35 win, Brown singlehandedly led the Owls back from a 28-7 deficit with 226 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Also in that game, the Owls did something they have not done the Steve Addazio Era: Score on a trick play, a 48-yard pass off a double-reverse thrown by Joey Jones, by far the best pass thrown by a Temple player in 2010. Last year, Brown had 159 yards rushing against Army in a 42-14 win prompting the Army fan sitting next to me to ask, "Doesn't he graduate this year?" No, I told him it was Bernard Pierce who probably is leaving. "I wish it was Brown instead," the man replied.
Chris Coyer: More effective throwing on 1st down than 3d.

CINCINNATI _ The Bearcats have shown some chinks in their armor but mostly have been outstanding. They were able to beat Delaware State, 23-7, a week after Delaware beat Delaware State, 48-14. They also allowed Fordham to stick around for most of the first half. On the other hand, they beat Pitt, 34-10, and Virginia Tech, 27-24. They also have a sophisticated passing attack, something the  Owls might have if they let Chris Coyer throw on first down instead of third down all the time. The pathway to winning is to ratchet up the passing game and head away from pound and ground. The Owls should follow the blueprint they had against USF: 16 for 20 in the passing game and, not coincidentally, 37 points. The plan to win should be 37-28, not 17-14. Planning to win 17-14 is a good way to lose, 47-17.
SYRACUSE _ If the Owls go into this game with only four wins, a crowd of about 11,000 should be rattling around Lincoln Financial Field putting a sad punctuation mark on the dreariness of the season. If, on the other hand, they go into the game with five wins and a chance to reach a bowl game with six, there should be a big crowd cheering them on and a win will depend on whether the Owls' new 3-4 defensive alignment with an abundance of athletic linebackers will be able to put enough blitzing pressure on Nassib to rattle him into a loss. (That new alignment might be wishful thinking on my part but when you can't cover anybody on the back line and you have six linebackers who can run a 4.6 40, that's the way to go IMHO.)
That's the road ahead. It won't be easy to navigate, but earning greatness or even a BCS bowl never is.

Tomorrow: Throwback Thursday

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

When did Temple stop playing smart?

... Breaking News: Temple's proposed game with Hawaii is 'off the table' ... Hawaii could not resolve ticket issues on its end ...
Note Boston College was beaten badly by Temple, yet beat Navy, 37-0. This was the only time I ever saw Hardin say he was outcoached but Temple had better personnel than Marshall and won, 31-10.

Not long ago in the general scheme of history, Temple was known as having a smart football team.
Smart coach.
Smart players.
"I was outcoached by Wayne Hardin again," Joe Paterno said after his second-straight one-point win in a row over the Owls in the 1970s. "We were lucky they didn't connect on that two-point conversion."
"Hardin is outcoaching Joe again," late Allentown Morning Call sports columnist John Kunda said out loud  in the press box after Temple took a 7-6 lead on PSU at halftime in 1979.
Everybody in the press box laughed because they knew it was true.
Something happened along the way to change that perception, certainly in the 1990s, and again maybe in the last couple of weeks.
Also at Pitt, Temple gets two cracks at a score inside the 5. On third down, instead of rolling Clint Granger out on a pass/run option, the Owls run it up the middle behind an inexperienced offensive line and a true freshman running back. That's just beyond stupid.
I get all the Temple TUFF talk and the team generally over the last five years has been as tough as nails.
What's alarming is the number of extremely dumb plays being made out there by both players and coaches. Here are four touchdowns worth of stupidity at Pitt:
1) Ball goes off Temple player's leg on a punt, leading to an early Pittsburgh possession.
2) Temple player catches a kickoff while standing on the sideline. If you are standing on the sideline at the 10, that's usually a pretty good clue the ball is going to go out of bounds.
3) Temple player gets the ball stripped. That probably falls more in the area of toughness than smartness, but it takes some smarts to secure the ball.
4) Also at Pitt, Temple gets two cracks at a score inside the 5. On third down, instead of rolling Clint Granger out on a pass/run option, the Owls run it up the middle behind an inexperienced offensive line and a true freshman running back. That's just beyond stupid. Give Granger two cracks at finding a receiver in the end zone on a rollout.
To me, that's the most egregious stupidity because it came from a coaching staff who should be thinking on the fly better.
Just once, I'd like to see the team play as smart as those Hardin teams did most of the time.
There's still four games to get the team's head in the same place as their heart. If that doesn't happen, there won't be a fifth.

Tomorrow: The Road Ahead

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Past Is Dead...And It's Not Coming Back

It's with a heavy heart and sore head that I write this post for I had an epiphany at the weekend, realised through the fug of a low level migraine, made worse by the spectacle that unfolded before me.

The Football Attic is a nostalgia blog, therefore it would kind of follow logically that we both view olden days football as better than the modern game, but that's not neccessarily true. I can't speak for Chris, but I am a rather optimistic person - I have tickets to watch Coventry play Arlesey Town in the 1st round of the FA Cup on Saturday. This is the first time since 1963 that CCFC will have played in 2 different FA Cup competitions in the same calendar year (I'm ignoring that time in the early 2000s when the whole 3rd round got moved to December as it's an exception and it also ruins my point), but I'm looking forward to it. It could be another Sutton United, we could score a hatful or we could scrape through unconvincingly. Either way, I will be there and start the game with positivity and optimism. That optimism has been stretched to breaking point at the weekend.

A week or so ago, Ian from A United View posted on twitter that he is just not feeling the love for the game anymore, despite Sheffield United doing well. A general dislike of the game as it is was cited. I replied that I understood, but never thought that I would be in the same place just a week later. Furthermore, this excellent piece from @Sofalife on why modern football is rubbish crystallised some thoughts floating around in my head. Similarly to Ian, however, it has nothing to do with my own club. Following Coventry, one gets used to disappointment and failure so the success rate of them has very little effect on my view of football in general.

So what has caused this sudden change of heart?  Well, for a start it's not sudden, it's been coming for a while. Some might say since 1992, but that would be far too simplistic and personally I think it's naive to blame the inception of the EPL for all that's unpleasant about today's game. Yes it's played its part, but other seeds were already sown by then.

The final straw for me was the several controversial issues in yesterdays matches between Chelsea & Man U and Everton & Liverpool. Suarez was not offside and Hernandez was. 2 mistakes that changed the result of the games they occurred in. The key word there is mistake, for that is what they were. Costly mistakes for sure, especially in the Chelsea game where both teams are contenders for the title. But mistakes are what they were. No more, no less. No conspiracy, no cover up, but a mistake. And do you know what the thing about mistakes is? They happen. sorry to disappoint the baying masses, but it doesn't matter how much you pay someone, they will still make mistakes because they are humans and football tends to happen at a very fast pace. I challenge anyone who has moaned about an offside, penalty claim etc etc etc to put themselves in that position and look anyone in the eye and swear they will get every call absolutely spot on. Well you can't expect EVERY call to be correct can you?  No, obviously not, but this is where we are. A ref / linesman makes a mistake and his head is called for. Forget the countless times they do get something right. Now, I'm not naive here, I know that it matters more that the important decisions are correct, but again, this misses the nature of a mistake. No ref intentionally gets calls wrong or decides that they're going to get 95% of calls right, but allow themselves one big call to go astray.

So this is where the technology debate kicks in. My personal feelings on this whole issue are mixed. Replays have been adapted into other sports such as Tennis and Rugby with no real problems, but the arguments go that they are stop start sports unlike the flowing nature of football. Playing Devil's advocate here I'd counter that football is not as flowing as we like to pretend. How many times does time tick by as decisions are disputed etc?  Could that time not be spent consulting a 4th official with video replays? I don't have the answer, but what depresses me is that we have to have this debate every single week. Maybe instead of going down the 'we must achieve perfection!!!' route, why don't we all just grow up and accept that mistakes happen and just move on? Or is that too rational to counter the hysteria that surrounds the game these days?

So that was the straw, but what else has been burdening my metaphorical tolerance camel?

Safe Standing Campaign - woah there, I hear many of you cry...what the hell? Right, let me get this straight right from the off.  I think the Safe Standing campaign is a great thing and back it completely. What makes me sad however is that I can't help thinking it's already too late. I don't mean that no MP would ever back it due to the fear of being the person responsible should another disaster ever occur.  What I mean is I can't help but feel that the powers that run football don't want it and not for safety reasons, but just because they don't want 'that sort of fan' attending their precious, sanitised game anymore.  Football nowadays is all nicely controlled, they know where everyone is, how much they've spent and on what. The last thing they want is a bunch of annonymous people in a general space making noise and generally sounding a bit uncouth and not at all like the good sheeple we all should be.

I also think it won't achieve its ultimate aims of bringing back an atmosphere only those campaigning can remember. Things have gone too far and those days are gone. The new generation attending football now have only ever known the Premier League and Champions League and will never understand the way things were. It's like trying to get the iPod generation to understand the impact of rave culture. To some of us, it's like yesterday, but to those who weren't around it's a world away.

I do hope Safe Standing is given the respect and time it thoroughly deserves, but I also hope that if it comes to pass, it proves my theory drastically wrong and thrives.

What else?  I mentioned earlier that I don't think the EPL is to blame for everything and I stand by that. To me, what has done more damage to football is the Champions League. Did the EPL reduce the importance of the FA & League Cups? A little, but why is the EPL so important? Why is finishing in 4th place regarded as more important than actually winning a trophy?  The answer is the CL. The day they extended the places available was the day football started to die.  So far the all conquering Champions League has claimed the life of the European Cup Winners Cup (Man U's first European trophy since the 60s remember), the Uefa Cup, which used to mean something when it was for the runners up) and is slowly killing off the remaining domestic cup competitions. The FA Cup lost its shine when the ECWC went and now the top 4 places in the league are so coveted, any other competition is jettisoned in favour of that CL entry.

Of course this is all done in the name of my next bugbear...Money.

I'm not going to bang on about Sky TV etc here...that's been done by others in much greater detail and with far better analysis than I could hope to elsewhere. My sole question regarding money is this: Since when did every single club need a buy out from a millionnaire just to survive? Sure, clubs used to get a sugar daddy and achieve things beyond their wildest dreams (looking at you Blackburn, Wigan and Reading), but nowadays, it seems you need a new one every week just to stop the club going out of business.  You know, that's not a healthy place to be. I know clubs have always gone bankrupt (Aldershot & Middlesbrough being 2 prominent cases of yesteryear), but there seems to be a permanent list of clubs that could die at any given moment and the list just gets longer.

This money fixation also seems to have taken the fun out of the game. I asked on twitter the other day about the TV show Fantasy Football and the response was positive, yet also tinged with a sense it was 'of its time', a sentiment I agree with. The EPL was a mere baby when it first broadcast and it still seemed acceptable to laugh at the game and its idiosyncrasies. Someone mentioned it being a forerunner for Soccer AM and in a way that's true, only I can't help but feel the latter is coming from a different place. FF's sense of laddish banter was borne out of genuine laddish banter, whereas one gets the distinct impression Soccer AM's humour has all been focus grouped and is referred to by producers as 'bantz'.

So, having got all this off my chest, what are my ideas to fix the mess, to right the wrongs?  The simple answer is, I don't have any answers and I sadly believe there are none. It may well just be my disenchantment with the game talking, but I think football as we knew and loved it is dead and all the magic sponges in the world are not going to bring it back.

I apologise...well I'll issue a statement through my solicitor later...for such a solemn post and please, prove me wrong...I'd welcome it, for right now, all I can say is:

RIP were great once.


One more thing...Being Liverpool.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Charlie George for Christmas No.1!

It's at this time of year that someone launches a half-cocked campaign to get an utterly redundant song to number 1 in the UK charts for Christmas. Pathetic, futile behaviour and the sort of thing that fools no-one as they attempt to find some sort of spiritual meaning from the festive season.

But that's not going to stop us launching our own campaign - good god, no!  Yes, it all starts here, folks - it's time to put Charlie George at the top of the Christmas charts!

Our vision is to release a '45 (do they still make those?) featuring two songs that take the former lank-haired Arsenal legend as its subject.

On the A-side, 'I Wish I Could Play Like Charlie George', a song that begins with the plaintive ponderings of a small child building slowly to a tumult of ragtime exuberance leaving no-one in any doubt as to the virtues of the great man.

On the B-side, we propose 'The Charlie George Calypso', a Caribbean melody sung by what sounds like half a dozen North London types you saw down the pub on your last visit. Don't be fooled, however. With lyrics like "Have I seen Jesus Christ back on Earth? / No it's Charlie lying flat on the Wembley turf" this is a sure-fire hit backup to our main A-side gambit.

So let's get the message out there, people. Tell the world that Charlie George is the only true message we need this Christmas. Spread the word by getting on Facebook and use the hashtag #charlieatxmas.

And if that doesn't put paid to any plans Simon Cowell's got inside his head, nothing will.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Storm clouds brewing

There's a storm coming our way and it's headed for 10th and Diamond.

It's pretty damming when Kent State is able to befuddle Rutgers with a sophisticated offensive scheme while Temple is stuck in the Stone Age, offensively. Kent State has no more offensive talent than Temple has

Batten down the hatches, this storm headed our way is going to be a bad one.
Hurricane Sandy?
Heck no.
All those Temple haters waiting to come out of the woodwork to pile on the Owls' program, Steve Addazio, the quarterbacks, the kids and the coaches.
Is some of it warranted?
I've been the first to criticize the offensive scheme and I will continue to do so until it is changed from a run-to-set-up-the-pass approach to a pass-to-set-up-the-run.
To me, nothing would maximize the ability of the Owls' great running backs more than play action on first down, bubble screens, shovel passes to spread the field and open up the run.
This run-first to set up the pass has been a disaster.
I wrote as much after losses (Maryland) and I was just as adamant about it after wins (UConn).
It's pretty damming when Kent State is able to befuddle Rutgers with a sophisticated offensive scheme while Temple is stuck in the Stone Age, offensively. Kent State has no more offensive talent than Temple has and that includes the line.
This is what I wrote after the UConn win and I highlighted it in red:

The way this team currently is constructed, the run can never set up the pass. It's not going to work. It's got to be the other way around.

On defense, I wrote last week that Temple was beaten on so many jump balls in the secondary that they needed to get 6-foot-3 scout team quarterback Kevin Newsome, a three-time All-State safety in Virginia, back there and move another 6-3 player, Vaughn Carraway, from safety to corner in order to best utilize their best athletes.
This from former Temple hoop great Mike Vreeswyk yesterday. I know who is embarrassing here and it ain't Temple football.

That didn't happen and the Owls' secondary got scorched again.
The Owls need playmakers in the secondary and Newsome would be a playmaker. He looks good holding the clipboard on the sideline, but he'd look a lot better getting a pick six and holding the ball over his head in the end zone.
The coaches are big boys.
They can take it.
I will not criticize the kids, though.

The kids are another story.
I believe they are giving their all in some misguided schemes.
Right now, I believe big changes have to be made on defense in order to put the Owls' best athletes on the field.
Newsome and Carraway and Anthony Robey need to be back there. Put your tallest, fastest, highest-jumping athletes on the back line.
Heck, with the D-line so thin due to suspensions and the linebacking corps top-heavy in talent, I would also seriously consider going from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defensive scheme. Play Hershey Walton at nose guard and John Youboty and Sean Daniels at end and rotate in the other guys. That gives you two more athletic and faster guys in there to either rush the QB or make game-changing plays in the secondary.
Kent State beat Rutgers by disguising its defense and forcing turnovers. Mostly because of that, the Flashes got seven turnovers. The RU turnovers were the result of pressure, something TU almost never dials up on defense. Instead of tipped balls becoming interceptions, the TU secondary's best move is tackling a guy 20 yards downfield.
Temple played a vanilla defense against Rutgers and did nothing to force turnovers.
Yeah, it's a gamble now to change the base defense from 5-2 to 3-4 in four practice days but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing next week and expecting a different result.
Really, could they do worse than give up 47 points to a Pitt team that had a hard time scoring 20 on Buffalo?
The other problem with that is you need practice time to do it and the oncoming storm doesn't help. Maybe the Eagles could allow use of NovaCare but that's far from an optimal solution.
The Owls are looking at getting ready for Louisville with mimimal outdoor practice time.
That's a double wammy of a storm and far from a perfect one.

Game Day Wake-Up: Hope and Change

Will today be the day the Owls finally throw play-action on first down or will  it be Groundhog Day again?

It only seems fitting that the Temple football team flew over Punxsutawney on the way to the University of Pittsburgh for today's game with the Panthers.
Every game day this year I feel like Bill Murray's character in the movie Groundhog Day. Murray was a weather man who is reluctantly sent to cover a story about the day. On the "next" day, he wakes to discover it is Groundhog Day again and again. He comes to the realization that he's doomed to spend the rest of eternity in the same place, seeing the same people do the same thing over and over again.
 I'm not at that same point with Steve Addazio's offensive approach, but I've got to admit at least five of the six MORNING AFTER game days I've waken with the idea that I'm going to be stuck in eternity of an antiquated "three Groundhogs and a cloud of dust" offensive approach.
On the other day, Temple went 16 for 20 passing and scored 37 points.
You look at all of these other big-time teams in the SEC and Big 10 and they all integrate a balanced approach of running and passing on first down. At Temple, it's 75.9 percent running on first down and that's never a good thing.
In football, as in life, you need balance.
So today's theme, other than Groundhog Day, is Hope and Change:

Hope: Owls use play-action fakes to Montel Harris on first down to allow quarterback Chris Coyer time to find open receivers running through the secondary.

Change: Temple receivers catch the ball.

Hope: Daz runs Harris when the defense is on its heels, not when there are eight guys in the box.

Change: Move the sticks.

Change: Defensive line finally gets pressure on the opposing quarterback.

Hope: Ball is put up in the air for grabs and Vaughn Carraway and Anthony Robey come up with picks.

Hope: Matty Brown is healthy.

Change: Brown breaks first big return since Villanova.

Maybe today will be a day hope turns into change.

Picks this week: I have not picked in a few weeks because nothing jumps out at me. A few games jump out at me this week and the top one was Boston College being a 1-point favorite against Maryland. I think Maryland wins this game outright, but am staying away from the game due to the injury of QB Perry Hills.
Other picks:
KENT STATE getting 13.5 at Rutgers; NORTH CAROLINA STATE getting 7.5 at North Carolina; PENN STATE getting 1 at home vs. Ohio State; TOLEDO giving 7.5 at Buffalo.
Record for the season straight up: 9-4.
Record for the season ATS: 8-5

Friday, October 26, 2012

Rebadge the badge

You might be surprised to hear this from us, but the world of football nostalgia isn’t as perfect as it might seem. Oh sure, we’ve allowed entire months to pass us by while thumbing through our pile of old Panini albums, but that’s not to say everything in this Elysian netherworld is as cracked up as it ought to be.

Take football badges, for instance. At first sight, nothing could be finer than a vast array of club insignias displayed in collective formality, each using colours and motifs to represent a team you probably don’t support and could care much less for. Yet each one has been crafted and honed by skilled artists and designers to symbolise the hopes, ambitions and dreams of an ever-changing army of players and fans alike.

At least that’s what you’d think. Unfortunately some club badges, historic and long-standing though they might be, are far from perfect and... well there’s no easy way to say this... are in need of an update.

Normally such talk of modernisation is an afront to our very nature, but here at The Football Attic we believe perfection is achievable if you wish hard enough for it. So let’s see if we can identify those club badges that are long overdue a refresh and work out how to make them better.


On the plus side, there aren’t many English football club badges that have a football scarf on them. Come to think of it, there aren’t many that have a halo on them either, but the inclusion of both here somehow add too much quirkyness and informality to the Saints motif. At least there’s some sort of Southampton coat of arms on display, but even then it’s possible to argue that it’s not the most evocative example of local heraldry.

So what can we replace it with?  Well perhaps a saint of some sort... the patron saint of sailors, given that Southampton is one of England’s major sea ports. A picture of St. Brendan, then, framed in a circular ribbon featuring the words ‘Southampton Football Club’ with small anchor motifs dotted in the sky behind our newly-chosen saint. What more could you ask for - it’s got history, reverence, local history and not a single scarf in sight.

Birmingham City

You’ve got to hand it to the St Andrews club - they had international ambitions, but they came to nought. Their current badge, implemented in 1976, features a ribbon and a globe atop an old-fashioned football the like of which one associates with Bobby Charlton and 6-3 defeats to the Hungarians. Original, distinctive, but starting to look a bit tired now. Let’s see what we can change it for...

How about a football featuring a stylised swirly-whirly pattern in blue designed to look vaguely like Spaghetti Junction, the famous motorway interchange resident in England’s second city since the mid-1960’s? Below it in a suitably serifed font could be the name of the club and either side of the ball could be ‘18’ and ‘75’ to show the year in which the club was formed. A modern logo-style badge, admittedly, but one that would see it through another decade or two before the inevitable next redesign.

Norwich City

English club badges featuring birds of one sort or another come ten-a-penny, but not many feature a sweet domestic caged bird constantly fearing its inevitable destiny in the jaws of the humble family cat. Yet that very creature, bright yellow upon a green shield and perched on a ball, has survived well since its inception as part of Norwich’s club badge in 1972. The canary. that is - not the cat.

The problem is, it’s a bit boring, frankly. Canaries by their very nature have little to offer beyond tweeting incessantly until someone tells them to shut up. (Any comparison with Stephen Fry, incidentally, is entirely inappropriate.) Far better, perhaps to have the magnificent spire of Norwich Cathedral on display within a similar shield, flanked on either side by lions (given that there’s one on the Norwich coat of arms). The finishing touch?  The name of the club written in full below it in a modern, bold, sans-serif font. Piece of cake.

Blackburn Rovers

Ah, that trusty old red rose. How very redolent of natural beauty, how very English, how very... badly drawn. Time to get rid of it, methinks. I mean how you can you have a team known far and wide for wearing white and blue halved shirts and not have that incorporated into the badge, for heaven’s sake?

Here’s how you do it. First, you take a circle, slightly stretched top to bottom to make it an oval of sorts. Across the bottom, you have some black wavy lines to depict the ‘burn’ bit of ‘Blackburn’ (it means ‘river’, you know). Above it, the oval is split in two vertically so that the left half is white, the other is blue. In the white half, you have a picture of a mill to reflect Blackburn’s heritage as a wool-weaving town, and on the other you have a sheep - the provide of the wool. As ever, the name can go below somewhere, preferably in a font such as Times New Roman. Heritage, colours and relative imagery, all present and correct.

So there you have it - my own masterclass in how to freshen up those tired old club badges. Nothing could be simpler, and if you wish to prove that by suggesting redesigns of other club badges, drop us a line to admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com or leave us a comment on this post. We look forward to hearing from you.

Great Tracksuits of Our Time: No.3

Leeds United (1974):

Seen here in the Wembley tunnel just before the ill-fated 1974 Charity Shield match, Leeds United's Billy Bremner and David Harvey shift nervously from one foot to another in their resplendent white tracksuit tops. They needn't have been so nervous for Leeds United were in the vanguard of football fashion in 1974. Thanks to Don Revie (who had just left his managerial post to become England team boss), the Elland Road club could now rely upon a full range of kit supplied by Admiral, and that included these lovely white tracksuit tops with yellow collars and waist bands.

And what's that, we hear you cry - 'isn't that lettering a bit bold and an afront to my personal attitude on the way commercialism is influencing the modern game of football'?  Well yes, and that's kind of the point really. A new age of football was dawning and Admiral were taking it by the scruff of the neck with their eye-catching designs and modern approach.

And if you're still feeling aggrieved, may we also advise you don't check out the names of the players on their backs either. It's probably for the best.

Now would be a good time to dust off the spread

"Wilbur, tell coach Addazio the best blueprint to beat Pitt is the spread offense."

The only architect I ever knew was Wilbur Post, who spent his working days in the barn talking to a horse named Mr. Ed while making blueprints.
Mr. Ed even talked back.
They say Frank Lloyd Wright was the greatest architect of all time, but he died a year before Mr. Ed came on the air as a CBS Television smash hit.
So Wilbur Post was the only architect I ever knew.
Youngstown State drew up the blueprint for beating Pitt.

Blueprints come to mind this year because Temple head football coach Steve Addazio had a nice blueprint to beat Maryland and tossed it in the trash and a nice blueprint to beat Penn State and tossed it in the trash and now he has a nice blueprint to beat Pitt tomorrow.
 I hope he doesn't throw that in the trash, too.
Youngstown State beat Pitt, 31-17, at Heinz Field using the spread offense that Addazio talked about Temple using all summer.
 "We now have the quarterbacks we need to run the kind of offense we wanted to run last year," Addazio said before the season. "I'm talking about explosive plays downfield in the passing game."
Nice words, but have you seen any signs of Temple using the spread this year?
 I didn't think so.
 Now would be a good time to dust that off.
"This wasn't a last-second stunner. The Penguins never trailed, baffling Pitt with a spread offense that kept the Panthers off balance during a soggy night at Heinz Field . Youngstown State converted 11 of 16 third downs and held the ball for more than 35 minutes."
_ USA Today, 9/1/12
 From the Sept. 1 USA Today: "This wasn't a last-second stunner. The Penguins never trailed, baffling Pitt with a spread offense that kept the Panthers off balance during a soggy night at Heinz Field . Youngstown State converted 11 of 16 third downs and held the ball for more than 35 minutes."
Temple lost to Maryland in my mind largely because the Owls did not follow the blueprint William and Mary coach Jimmye Laycock drew up to battle Maryland to a 7-6 game. Laycock noted that Maryland was playing a true freshman quarterback, Perry Hills, out of necessity. He figured that if the freshman was blitzed enough so he wouldn't have time to throw, good things would happen for the Tribe. So Laycock blitzed the heck out of Hills (14 times), got three sacks and three picks.
Blitzed Hills just twice, getting to him once, but allowed Hills the time to throw all kinds of jump balls to talented Maryland receivers.
Ohio coach Frank Solich drew up a nice blueprint to beat Penn State and all but hand-delivered it to 10th and Diamond. A lot of quick one-drop slants to move the sticks and keep the Big 10 pass rush away. It befuddled Penn State all day in a 24-13 win.
 Ran up the middle all day and lost by the same score.
Now Youngstown State has delivered the blueprint, maybe even UPS special delivery, to beat Pitt and it is by utilizing a spread offense. I'm told Temple has that offense somewhere in its repertoire.
Let's hope they open the mail at the E-O.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Throwback Thursday: TU beats No. 4-ranked Pitt

... Breaking News: Hawaii players are posting on their Facebook pages this morning that the game with Temple is a "done deal" and they will probably be playing the Owls on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 ... a day that will live in infamy (maybe) ... ...
Program covers have come a long way since this Sept. 25, 1976 Temple vs. Pitt game.

Temple plays Pitt a week after a loss to Rutgers its head coach called "an embarrassment."
October, 2012?
September, 1984.
The difference then was that Pitt at the time was three weeks removed from a No. 4 preseason ranking in the country.
Temple beat Pitt, 13-12, on a field goal by a kicker named Jim Cooper.
Temple will have a kicker named Jim Cooper next year, but more on that later.
The win in 1984 gave Temple a 2-1 record on the way to a winning season under 32-year-old head coach Bruce Arians.
Story in the Allentown Morning Call the week after Temple beat Pitt.

"We were embarrassed at Rutgers, didn't play to our ability at all," Arians said. "We oughta be 3-0 and we know it."
The Owls played the No. 10-toughest schedule in  the country then and its wins over East Carolina (17-0) and Pitt were sandwiched around a one-point loss to Rutgers.
Bruce Arians made a habit out of beating nationally-ranked Pitt teams.

Pitt was coming off an 8-3-1 year and maybe that influenced its inflated preseason ranking in Sports Illustrated. The Temple loss was one of four straight for Pitt (BYU, Oklahoma, Temple, West Virginia) and the Panthers never met their expectations.
At the time, it was the first win for Temple over Pitt in 39 years but Arians made sure it would not be the last.
The next week, Temple was to play Florida State and Arians fully expected to win that game, too.
"Florida State is a great opponent and it is a game we can win," Arians said. "There's no doubt about it. We can take the field anytime, anywhere and we have a chance to win."
Temple's last win over Pitt came 14 years ago.

This week, Temple renews its long-standing "rivalry" with Pitt. It's just a one-year deal since Pitt moves to the ACC next year, but when the teams meet on Saturday it will bring back fond memories of Cooper and Arians for a lot of Temple fans. Arians beat Pitt three out of his five years as Temple's head coach.
Later, he became well-known (and sometimes vilified) in that town as the offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Still, Arians is mostly fondly remembered in Philadelphia by Temple people as an energetic young coach who did the best he could with the tools he was given.
Beating Pitt in a year it was ranked No. 4 in the preseason AP poll certainly helped foster a positive impression of Arians, who is still helping Temple football today.
Arians figuratively begat then kicker Cooper who literally begat another Cooper by the same name, Jim Cooper, Jr.
Next year, Cooper Jr. will take over the kicking duties for Steve Addazio.
If he beats Pitt, 13-12, like his dad did, it will have to be in a bowl game.
I'm sure dad and son would sign for that now but first both, being long-time Owl fans like the rest of us, just want to win the next one.

Tomorrow: Fast Forward Friday

Corinthian ProStars, 1995

The Football Attic today welcomes Simon Craft from Virile Games to the guest-writing roster as he takes us back to a time when footballers were frequently big-headed. Wait a minute - wasn't this supposed to be a blog site about football nostalgia?

I was born too late for Subbuteo. As a child of the Nineties, raised on an instant-thrill diet of American cartoons and Um Bongo, I was reluctant to undertake such chores as ironing the pitch and learning the rules, so my set was doomed to remain under the bed, unloved.

What my generation needed was something a little less dowdy, a little more attention-grabbing. Something individually sculpted with a name-engraved base. Something, in other words, a lot like Corinthians Headliners.

Instantly recognisable due to their oversized craniums, these figurines were first released in late 1995. With Euro 96 approaching and patriotism briefly in vogue, the initial range was comprised of sixteen England players. I set about building a team.

Though the figures were available in packs of four or twelve, these were priced too highly to interest a football-sceptic mother, and were in any case absent from the local newsagents. My only avenue for acquiring them, therefore, was in the form of the ‘secret sachets’, which contained a single figure wrapped in a foil bag so as to conceal his identity until after purchase.

The unveiling procedure that my eight-year-old self undertook once out of the shop contained not excitement, but dread: what if it’s another Warren Barton? Of course, the playground presented an opportunity to exchange doubles, but the pickings were on the whole slim. I’d retrieved the goalposts and balls from my discarded Subbuteo set to act as props for my Headliners’ games, but the low numbers meant that for some time the scene resembled a casual game of headers-and-volleys rather than the exhilarating matches I had envisioned.

Thankfully, on the eve of Euro 96 a further twenty-four England players were immortalised in big-head form, and by the time the tournament kicked off I had managed to assemble a starting eleven. Its spine was recognisable, and strong: Seaman in goal, Adams at the back, Ince calling the shots in midfield and Shearer (clad, unlike his team-mates, in the grey away strip) leading the line.

Elsewhere, I had been forced to improvise. This meant starting berths for some lesser-known fringe players: Adams was joined in a three-man defence (back when they were fashionable the first time round) by Steve Howey and John Scales, while Barton and John Salako ran the channels. It also meant that some were forced to learn new roles: unaware of Barry Venison’s playing past, I was fooled by his flowing locks into believing him a flamboyant Batistuta-type striker, so he was press-ganged into partnering Shearer up front. The most striking tactical innovation, though, was undoubtedly Tim Flowers’ deployment as a holding midfielder – a role he adapted to surprisingly well.

Against a backdrop of ‘Three Lions’ and dentist’s chair celebrations, then, my rabble toiled against imaginary international foes, attempting to succeed where their real-life counterparts would ultimately fail, and emerge victorious from a major competition. The likes of Bulgaria, Turkey and Denmark were crushed without remorse in group-stage triumphs with improbable scorelines: 9-1 wins, accompanied by Nick Barmby hat-tricks, were not unheard of.

Yet somehow my team would always fall short at the final hurdle. Dropped into difficult scenarios – 2-0 down to France with ten minutes remaining, perhaps – these men would choke, blazing a stoppage-time penalty over the bar or heading wide from an inch-perfect Salako delivery. There was nothing holding them back except my own imagination; indeed, the opponents were physically absent apart from a goalkeeper (chosen from a rotating cast of my few non-England figures, none of whom were in fact keepers). But there was some unseen hand operating to ensure that their dreams of glory remained unfulfilled.

It was as though, even prior to the semi-final defeat at the hands of Germany, I had already internalised the law: England never win anything.

In the years that followed, the figurines – later known as ProStars – grew to span dozens of sets and thousands of players. Meanwhile, I quickly outgrew them as I abandoned imaginary play: by France 98, my mind was occupied instead by accumulating all twenty-three of the Sainsbury’s official England squad medal collection. There’ll always be a brief period of my childhood, though, which can be encapsulated best by a single image: a plastic Barry Venison with a gargantuan head, rising to meet a cross, and missing by millimetres.

Our thanks go out to Simon Craft for his fine recollection of Corinthian ProStars, and as ever we urge anyone else with a desire to write for us to get in touch. Email admin [at] thefootballattic [dot] com with all the details, and we could soon be publishing your article!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The case for the defense

On the touchdown passes in the end zone, you can see Owls around the ball but nobody makes a play on it.

Temple's defense experienced the worst kind of replay on Saturday, three similar touchdown passes within a seven-minute stretch of the fourth quarter.
For all intents and purposes, the game was over right there, a 21-10 Rutgers' lead on the way to a 35-10 win.
After giving up two touchdown passes in the first quarter at Uconn, the replays are maddening familiar.
Progress, at least in this case, was the coverage.
If you look at the coverage, Owls are there. On one touchdown, it was a linebacker (Nate D. Smith) and a corner (usual lock-down left corner Anthony Robey, beaten for the first time all season for six). On another, two Owls miss tackles in the open field against Juwan Jamison, one of the best halfbacks in the conference. On another, three Owls are around the ball.
Against UConn, over the middle, nobody was.
Kevin Newsome: Too good an athlete to keep off the field.
Temple defensive coordinator Chuck Heater made the adjustments he needed to make at halftime to close off the middle and the rest of the field. There's nobody better than Heater making halftime adjustments.
Problem on Saturday was there was no halftime to make adjustments and no offense to make a comeback with.
There would have been an offense if the Owls had thrown on play-action passes on first down in the opening half (see Sunday post below), but 21-10 is too large a deficit for Temple to recover from when facing the No. 15 team in the BCS standings. Throwing is a whole different story when you HAVE to throw the ball. Temple should have mixed it up in the first half, when it didn't have to throw.
This is about the defense, though.
To me, the solution is simple: Get athletes in there who can make plays and knock the ball down and maybe even intercept it.
They don't even have to be recruited. They are already here.
Vaughn Carraway, the starting free safety who was suspended for the Rutgers' game because of a questionable hit (the hit looked OK to me) at UConn, will be back for Pitt.
He's one of the athletes. I think Carraway makes the tackle on Jamison.
I'd love to see them move Carraway to one corner and move Kevin Newsome, a three-time first-team all-state safety in Virginia, from scout team quarterback to roaming the middle of the field. It's not like the Owls don't have Big East talent back there. Carraway, Newsome, Tavon Young, Robey and Abdul Smith are Big East talents. Heck, Newsome (PSU recruit) and Carraway (Michigan recruit) are Big 10 talents. It's not like the Owls have to play MAC defensive backs against BE wideouts. It's not like the brain trust at the E-O hasn't thought about it. Newsome said as much after the Maryland game: "Coach Addazio asked me if I would play either wide receiver or safety and I said I would do anything to help the team."
The "or safety" comment was the most intriguing to me.
What happened since? I'm told Addazio was not comfortable with only having one spread offense quarterback in reserve should starter Chris Coyer go down. When you are constantly getting beaten on jump balls in the secondary, that's not a good enough reason for me. Heck, it's not like if Newsome moves over to defense he won't be available to play quarterback in a pinch.
Can you imagine how much different it would be on the back-line defense with two 6-foot-3 guys with 4.5 speed  and near 40-inch vertical jumps (Carraway and Newsome) back there to make plays?
We might be talking about three field goals and not three touchdowns.
Even with the Owls' anemic offensive game plan, we're also talking about a 10-9 lead going into the final quarter.
And maybe, just maybe, a 3-0 Big East record.
Is it too late to change secondary personnel?
Maybe,  but I think it's worth a shot even at this late juncture.
Otherwise, get used to more jump balls in the end zone landing in the wrong hands.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The square-peg round-hole offense

Steve Addazio's post-game press conference.

On the way into the stadium yesterday, I mentioned to a few of Wayne Hardin's ex-players that this was a game that Wayne would have loved to have formulated a plan for because of the over pursing nature of Rutgers' defense and its stout defensive front.

My worst fears about the offensive game plan were realized

In his day, there was no better offensive mind than Hardin. That wasn't me saying it. It was guys like Tom Landry, Joe Marciano (see quote at bottom of this story) and Joe Paterno.
"Wayne would pull out all the stops," I said. "He would throw on first down, throw little waggles and slants to move the sticks on first down, then hand off when the defense was on their heels. Then he might throw in a double-reverse and maybe even a pass off it. All that stuff used to work when coach Hardin called it."
New York Post picks Temple to beat RU in Friday paper.
Unfortunately, the game wasn't played in the Friday paper.

 I also expressed my concern that Steve Addazio would do just the opposite.
Too often, Addazio has tried to fit a square peg into a round hole. When you try to move bigger, faster, more experienced, defensive fronts with an inexperienced OL, you might as well be pounding your head against a brick wall.
All you get is a headache.
Why do I have the feeling that if this was 1940 and Steve Addazio was a Field Marshal in the German Army, he would have attacked the Maginot Line head-on instead of adroitly going around it like Rommel did? Rommel was going for the championship of Europe that year while Daz was only going for first place in the Big East in 2012, but the analogy stands the test of time.
Yes, Temple has to run the ball to be successful but it must convince the defense it can throw the ball first to make the run work.
The best chance to do that would be play fakes on FIRST down, not third when the defense is pinning their ears back on the quarterback.
"One of Steve's great strengths is his stubbornness," I said. "One of his great weaknesses is his stubbornness."
A look at the play chart suggests my worst fears were realized.

Temple had 10 first-down play calls in the first half and seven were Montel Harris running plays, two were Chris Coyer running plays and one was, you guessed it, another running play, a two-yard gain by Jamie Gilmore.  In the third quarter, the two initial first-down plays were a Montel Harris rush and a Chris Coyer rush.Sense a pattern here? I'm guessing the Rutgers' coaches did, too.

Temple had 10 first-down play calls in the first half and seven were Montel Harris running plays, two were Chris Coyer running plays and one was, you guessed it, another running play, a two-yard gain by Jamie Gilmore.  In the third quarter, the two initial first-down plays were a Montel Harris rush and a Chris Coyer rush.
Sense a pattern here?
 I'm guessing the Rutgers' coaches did, too.
As I have written many times, what would be the harm in opening up the game with a two-minute drill, the same two-minute drill that won the game at UConn?
What would be the harm  in taking advantage of Temple past tendencies by faking the ball right into  Montel Harris' belly ON FIRST DOWN to freeze the defense and throwing the short- and intermediate sideline routes that have a high likelihood of success? Temple does have edge athletes who can do damage, too.
What would be the harm in having Jalen Fitzpatrick, a Big 33 quarterback, throw off a reverse?
If it's not there, just have Fitzpatrick tuck it away and take off. He's damn elusive, as his short stint as a spring practice running back showed.
Yes, the defense could have played better in the third quarter but a better-designed offense might have put a lot more than 10 points on the board by then.
Just once, I'd like to see Temple putting square pegs into square holes.
Maybe Saturday at Pitt.
We can only hope.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Montel Harris: 'I want to help my team to the Orange Bowl'

Steve Addazio implores fans to take it to the next level.

About two minutes before the start of Temple's game at UConn last week, a very loud chant of "LET'S GO TEMPLE" could be heard from the corner of the end zone where about 900 Temple fans stood.

Montel Harris, standing right next to Steve Addazio and loosening up, turned around and gave a "thumbs up" to the Temple cheering section and raised both palms as if asking for the volume to be turned up.

I'm glad  Harris is on Temple's side for tomorrow's game (noon, Lincoln Financial Field) with Rutgers.
He hears it and he gets it.

Michael Basiden has a phrase he repeats on WDAS-FM (105.3, Mondays through Fridays, 3-7 p.m.) when he says something people might construe as outrageous.
When you see the "this is our house" in the video, it's a cue for a "Let's Go Temple" cheer.

"That's right, I said it!" Baisden, who has a popular nationally syndicated radio show, will repeat.
Harris doesn't need to repeat it, but this quote has all but one Harris YouTube clip so far this season:

"I want to help my team to the Orange Bowl. That's our goal."
Harris wasn't talking about Boston College.
 He was talking about Temple.
That's right. He said it.
Last week's game against UConn might have been a bowl elimination game.
Tomorrow's game against Rutgers might be an Orange Bowl elimination game.
Win, and the dream remains alive.
Lose, and the dream in all likelihood is dashed.
Set the alarms for 7 a.m. tomorrow and enjoy the beautiful day at LFF.
If Temple wins, it is 3-0 in the league and might be all alone atop the Big East standings by 7 p.m., depending  on how the rest of the day plays out.
If Temple wins the league, it will go to the Orange Bowl and no amount of backroom dealing can keep the Owls out.
I like the way Montel Harris reaches for the stars.
Some Temple fans poo-poo such talk. Some might even call it embarrassing.
It is not embarrassing to tell people your goal is to be the best you can be.
Right now, the 2-0 Owls can be the Big East champs.
That's a fact.
Whether they will be in a position to do it depends I think on a couple of things:
1) Can the fans take it to the next level? Can we get the 30K TEMPLE fans in attendance to stand and chant "Let's Go Temple" at the top of their lungs and sing the fight song in unison like they did several times in the second half of the USF game? (If you don't think the kids on the team hear it, see the first graph above.)
2) Will the offensive game plan be diverse enough to get the job done? In other words, maybe open up with a two-minute drill, throw in a trickeration play or two, throw on first down enough to set up Harris' on second- and third-down runs?
I saw enough evidence in the second half of the Maryland and USF games to think No. 1 can happen.
No. 2, I'm not so sure about but I have to trust that a coaching staff with muliple national championship rings can  figure that out.
Harris and the rest of the Owls will be ready.
Will you?

Tomorrow: No story due to power tailgating but complete analysis on Sunday

Top 5 Worst Tournament Mascots Ever

The 1966 World Cup is remembered for many things, from stroppy Argentinians being heckled by grannies to raising England's expectations to unrealistic levels for the best part of half a century. It is also a landmark tournament for one other reason.

World Cup Willy. The first ever FIFA endorsed marital aid... ha ha ha ha ha! But seriously, the first ever tournament mascot came into being, thus starting a tradition that has taken us from the very depths of corporate blandness to the edge of insanity.

I was initially going to concentrate on the World Cup and Euros, but after researching the Copa America, Africa CON and the Asia Cup, it's clear those tournaments are pure gold for strangeness!

Mascots are rarely well received, trying as they are to both appeal on a fun level while also trying to be culturally significant. The mostly negative reaction to Wenlock and Mandeville for the 2012 Olympics might explain why both England's mascots have taken the safer and rather predictable lion angle.

And so, I hereby present what I consider the five worst tournament mascots ever.

Guaso - Copa America 1991 (Chile)

The Official Line: ?

Seriously, that's all I could find by way of explanation. Apparently it's supposed to be some dude in a poncho and a hat. To me however it looks like the sort of thing you'd see sketched in a therapy session in a psychiatric ward full of serial killers... perversely, it would also be quite at home in a therapy session for the victim that got away.

"I tell ya, Doc. Every time I close my eyes I see him... clear as... ok not very clear... kind of blurry in fact. As if he'd been scribbled by a five-year-old child, but y'know... frightening and all that..."

Speaking of nightmares...

Pinoccio - Euro 1980 (Italy)

The Official Line: It's Pinoccio... what more do you need? Other than a good lawyer if Disney sees him!

This one may seem all very nice. Pinoccio, the little wooden boy. Lovely stuff. But wait... is it really so innocent?  Look at little Pinoccio there, all cute in his little paper hat. His paper hat. For the love of god, he's wearing a hat made of his own by-products! He's the Ed Gein of the mascot world.

Tell us Pinoccio, where's Gepetto? Asleep you say? Judging by his nose, that's clearly not true. And look at that smile and vacant stare. Now just picture that head turning ever so slowly towards you... that feeling? That's your blood running cold. Not long before it runs thick through his mahogany hands as that smile grows as fast his nose...

Agro-Hene - Africa Cup of Nations 2008 (Ghana)

The Official Line: Agro-Hene (King of the Game) the Eagle

There are a few explanations I can come up with for this one.

The CON organisers had just had Microsoft Word 1995 installed on their PCs and someone had found the clip art folder.

Someone posed the question "What would Nelson Mandela look like if he had an eagle's head, was playing football and had been drawn by a four-year-old?"

One point to note here... this was 2008. That's only four years ago. Was this really the best they could do? Mind you, if we're talking about not putting much effort in...

Rabbit - Euro 1992 (Sweden)

The Official Line: A football playing rabbit

Euro 88's mascot was called Berni and despite early suggestions he would be based on the then popular chain of steak restaurants, he was actually a footballing German grey rabbit... with a headband.

Four years later, Sweden, land of functional design, decided that the previous mascot was actually just fine and with typical minimalism, decided to change the bunny's shirt and... no, that was it.

The best part? His name was 'Rabbit'. Yes, from a land where even a shelf is called something elaborate like Ryksendokelporp, this thing got called Rabbit.

Just done some more research and it turns out, "Rabbit" is apparently Swedish for '3-door wardrobe with mirrored doors.'

Ato, Kaz & Nik - World Cup 2002 (Japan / South Korea)

The Official Line:  "Orange, purple and blue (respectively) futuristic, computer-generated creatures. Collectively members of a team of "Atmoball" (a fictional football-like sport), Ato is the coach while Kaz and Nik are players. The three individual names were selected from shortlists by users on the Internet and at McDonald's outlets in the host countries."

There are those who say crowd sourcing is the future, that it yields truly democratic answers, that one day it will replace search engines. To those people, I say this. If the answer that crowd sourcing gives you is 'Ato, Kaz and Nik', then you have asked the wrong fucking question.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

JVC 'Goal Makers' ad, 1981

We've featured adverts before on our blog site, adverts like this one for JVC taken from the back cover of National Geographic magazine in 1981.

Usually the main image is something football-related (else we wouldn't bother bringing it to your attention) and here we have an actual match in action, or so it seems. Chances are it's not really an actual match at all - more likely a staged scene at a US stadium (this was a US-syndicated magazine, after all) that made use of the resources before an NASL match.

By way of additional material, we also hear about JVC's wonderful range of audio and video equipment, including the 'revolutionary VHD video disc system' which, in hindsight, beautifully pricked the bubble of self-importance JVC were putting themselves in.

Yet that isn't really the most interesting part of this advert. For me, the best bit comes right at the bottom where we see a series of six logos printed in black and white.

The first one's very familiar as it's the official logo for the 1982 FIFA World Cup. Granted it loses something with the lack of red and yellow to illustrate the Spanish flag, but so be it.

The next logo, however, is very unfamiliar. It appears to be a map of Europe, stylised in such a way as to look loosely like a football. I'm guessing that's the case on account of a few hexagonal patches I can see, but others are anything but hexagonal (yes Italy, I'm looking at you). The inclusion of the UEFA acronym below suggests this is a little known logo for the Swiss-based governing body, but can any of you claim to have seen this ever before? Thought not...

Next up we have the lovely flower-inspired logo for the 1980 European Championships, a familiar sight for collectors of Panini's Europa 80 stickers and the great uncle of the logo created for Euro 2012. After that we have the traditional old logo for the US Soccer Federation, a logo that wouldn't look out of place on the jacket of an American military leader. It was crying out for a modern replacement and sure enough one duly came a decade later.

Speaking of logos that have since been replaced, we next have one for the Australian Soccer Federation - a pleasing if rooted-in-the-70s symbol that'd look good on any football shirt, in my humble opinion.

The last one, however, is a real beaut. Not so much a logo as a trophy shown in silhouette, we see the 'Gold Cup' or La Copa de Oro de Campeones Mundiales, to give it its full title. It was the prize for a little-known tournament with the nickname of Mundialito ('little World Cup') played once and once only between December 1980 and January 1981. Hosted by Uruguay, It's purpose was to celebrate 50 years of  World Cup history by bringing together all five former champions for a one-off winner-takes-all 'battle royale' (if that's not too many exuberant phrases to cram into once sentence).

With guest team Holland completing the two groups of three, the tournament played out before a conclusion that saw the host country beat Brazil 2-1 in a dream final for the locals. But what about that trophy, though? And what about those logos? Surely no advert for a Japanese home electronics company has ever seen such splendour.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Throwback Thursday: RU-TU memories

Bruce Arians was the youngest
coach in college football
when he called a "jailbreak"
blitz that resulted in four straight
Temple sacks of Scott Erney
to end the 1988 game in favor of TU

The headline and lede in story written by now talk-show host Mike Missanelli.
Rivalries are a beautiful thing.
I'm old enough to know when Temple and Delaware were rivals.
One of my fondest days was spent in Newark, Del., when Temple beat Delaware 31-8 in front of a still-record and still-stunned crowd of 23,619.
An even fonder day was Temple's 45-0 win in Newark on another beautiful Saturday. The hot dogs in that post-game tailgate tasted like filet mignon. Delaware went on to win the national Division II championship (which became D1AA which became FCS).
Temple even got grief from the local media for scheduling Delaware.
"I believe in scheduling Delaware...and then beating the crap out of them," was the way Wayne Hardin was quoted in response.
Bruce Arians responds to a text
message congratulatng him on
beating the Green Bay Packers.
BA is still a big Owl fan.
I loved it.
Can you imagine any coach in today's "politically correct" world saying something like that?
Then Temple dropped its rivalry with Delaware and picked up one with Rutgers.
Penn State is supposed to be a rival, but to be one, you've got to prove that you can beat one.
Temple's proven that against Rutgers numerous times, and the proximity of the schools combined with an animosity factor qualifies this as a real rivalry.
You've got to have a little animosity to stir the rivalry pot, and in Rutgers, there's some of that.
Since Delaware, Rutgers has always been Temple's biggest rival.
The rivalry was only further fueled by Rutgers' involvement in kicking out Temple from the Big East. Despite Temple winning four straight games from the Scarlet Knights, Rutgers led the charge to kick out Temple for "non-competitiveness."
"I've never lost to f-ing Rutgers, and I'm not going to end my career losing to f-ing Rutgers." Temple center Donny Klein, halftime of the 2002 game.
So there's some animosity there.
I have some fond memories, too, of some Rutgers-Temple games.
I'm sure Rutgers fans have similar memories as well of games that didn't turn out as well for Temple, but that's what rivalries are all about.
When Bruce Arians was Temple coach in 1988 and Dick Anderson was his opposite number at Rutgers, Anderson had a quarterback named Scott Erney who was killing Temple on the final drive of the game with Temple holding a 35-30 lead over an RU team that beat Penn State.
(Arians is now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, but he has never forgotten TU, to which he remains fiercely loyal.)
Erney, running a two-minute drill against Nick Rapone's prevent defense, drove RU to the Temple 20 in the game's final minute and appeared to be leading his team to the winning touchdown.
Map and towns by N.J. Schmitty.

Arians then called a timeout, got in Rapone's face, and ordered a jailbreak blitz on the next four plays. "Jailbreak" in those days was the Temple defensive call for eight men rushing, three back in coverage.
"We go jailbreak because we feel you can't block us all," Arians said. "My philosophy, as a former quarterback, is the best pass defense is putting the QB on his ass."
The result?
Four straight Temple sacks, with a defensive lineman named Swift Burch ending the game on top of Erney at midfield. Temple won, 35-30.
"If I was going to go down, it wasn't going to be against a prevent," Arians said, holding the game ball. "I was going to go down with my guns blazing."
With the backdrop of BE explusion, In 2002, at Rutgers in the rain, the Owls trailed at halftime, 14-3.
The Owls, by then, had won three straight over Rutgers, and a senior center named Donny Klein got up at halftime and pounded his helmet on the floor and started an F-bomb tirade. By that year, Temple got kicked out of the Big East and knew Rutgers would be staying in instead.
TU and RU were both 3-1 going into this game.

"I've never lost to f-ing Rutgers, and I'm not going to end my career losing to f-ing Rutgers," Klein said, ending a 10-minute rant that included about 100 f-bombs.
Led by Klein's incredible blocking, a back named Tanardo Sharps rolled up 215 yards on 43 carries, and Temple won, 20-17, on Cap Poklemba's last-second field goal.
The Temple team then ran over to the Big East logo and danced on it, singing the school's fight song in a monsoon.
That's what I would call animosity.
That's what I would call a rivalry.
Temple really hasn't had one of those in long time.
It has now and it's back. I hope these Owls can find a Big East logo and dance on it while singing "T for Temple U" oh, about 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Maybe even Poklemba, who now leads the student cheers as a welcomed "old head", will join in and give dance lessons.