The Villanova Post-Mortem

05:35 Cholis Back 0 Comments

I was just working out some math equations in my head.
Hmm, what does 27,854 plus 1 equal?
Oh, I'd say about 30,632.
What does 27,854 minus one equal?
Probably around 8,000.
Fuzzy math?
No, just some figures based on observing the very fragile Temple football fan base over the last 30 or so years.
Expect the crowd for Temple's game against Buffalo when it comes back from an expected Penn State beat-down to be around 8,000. That's where the minus 1 comes in ... 27,854 fans minus one must-win, equals 8,000.
Had the Owls beaten Villanova and gave a decent effort in a loss at Penn State, they would have drawn 30,632 for the Buffalo game, which arguably is the most important on their schedule.
I know that.
You probably know that.
Tell that to the 20,000 or so Temple students who believed last night, but no longer do after a 27-24 loss to Villanova.
You could hear the refrain coming out of the stadium.
"Same old Temple," the kids were saying.
And they were OUR students, not Nova's.
Can you blame them?
Until Al Golden beats a team with a winning record (and the last time I checked he hasn't as a HEAD coach), he's all talk, no substance.
Back on Feb. 4, I wrote that I was worried about this game because Andy Talley, quite frankly, is a better game coach than Al Golden.
I thought it didn't matter because Golden had the talent edge to Talley's game-coaching edge.
I was right in both cases.
Temple brought four or five most of the night. The last time I checked, this is not the North-South All-Star game. They do allow you to blitz.
Talley is the better game coach and Golden had the better talent.
I was wrong about the edge part. Talley's football acumen far surpasses Golden's. Edge should not have been an operative word.
What good does it do if you have advantage in a chess match and you can't finish it off by making the proper moves?
Talley made the proper moves and Golden didn't.
I wrote here last week that "Temple's No. 1 priority should be getting to the quarterback."
A freaking blind man could see that.
Until Al Golden beats a team with a winning record (and the last time I checked he hasn't as a HEAD coach), he's all talk, no substance

Al Golden couldn't. If that's Mark D'Onofrio's fault, he's got to get in Mark's face and say, "bring the house." That's what the head coach is for.
If you can't get to the quarterback bringing four or five, bring six.
If you can't get to the quarterback bringing six, bring seven.
If you can't get to the quarterback bringing seven, bring eight.
You get the idea.
Temple brought four or five most of the night.
The last time I checked, this is not the North-South All-Star game.
They do allow you to blitz.
Chris Whitney made them pay.
The defensive side of the ball is not the only area where the guys with the headsets on came up small.
The Owls have a career linebacker, Matt Rhule, as an offensive coordinator and that's probably why their offense has no imagination.
At least George DeLeone, a lifelong offensive mind, pulled out the handoff to Tim Brown, pitch back to Adam DiMichele and bomb to Travis Shelton for six against Bowling Green.
What we've seen in two years is a 28-24 lead against Buffalo with 38 seconds to go, a 6-0 fourth-quarter lead against UConn, a 27-7 fourth-quarter lead against Navy and a 24-14 lead against Villanova and losses in all four games. It can't be the kids' fault all the time.
Bruce Arians had Matty Baker also throw a pair of long-bomb flea-flickers to Mike Palys for a couple of scores in a 45-28 win over Boston College two decades ago. Arians, the offensive coordinator of the Super Bowl champs, knows his stuff. Might be a good idea for Rhule to take a page or two or 12 out of his Temple book.
When backup quarterback Chester Stewart lined up in the slot, I thought, "Great, we're going to TRY at least one throwback pass."
Nothing.
Meanwhile, Talley tries a reverse that goes for 28 yards and his offensive plays had a sophistication far above any package Matt Rhule threw out there.
What we've seen in two years is a 28-24 lead against Buffalo with 38 seconds to go, a 6-0 fourth-quarter lead against Uconn, a 27-7 fourth-quarter lead against Navy and a 24-14 lead against Villanova and losses in all three games. It can't be the kids' fault all the time.
Just once, I'd like to hear Al Golden say, "I screwed up. I take full responsibility."
Instead, he throws Kee-ayre Griffin under the bus after the Navy game and now throws the kids who fumbled and tossed INTs under the bus last night, saying the story of the game "begins and ends" with the five turnovers.
The buck has to stop somewhere else. I, like Golden, love playing this game. You have to win it, though.
Golden can't go out there and hold onto the ball and throw to the right person, sure.
But he can put those kids in a better position to win.
That's what Talley has done for nearly 20 years at Villanova and that's why Villanova has a win Temple needed more.