We were looking to get an insider's look at Temple from our buddy Dave Gerson who
runs ran The Owl's Nest, which for my money was the best Temple blog out there. And if you're in the market for a Temple blog, you can check out Temple Football Forever prior to tomorrow's game. I didn't find out about Dave's hiatus in time to do a Q&A with TFF, but there's some good stuff on the Owls worth reading.
After The Jump, we'll take a closer look at the 2011 Temple Owls under new coach Steve Addazio (who happens to be my sister's Godfather - small world!).Temple On Offense
New head coach Steve Addazio is bring the spread offense over from his post as offensive coordinator for the Florida Gators. Addazio was heavily criticized as John Brantley struggled to operate an offense that Tim Tebow mastered. The OC definitely deserves criticism there, but ultimately he was working with a first year QB who struggled.
He'll have similar problems at Temple, however, as the spread is completely new to everyone in the program. Mike Gerardi is the likely starter at QB after Chester Stewart was suspended for a violation of team rules. Sophomore Chris Coyer has not been ruled out of the mix though, and it's possible both QB's could see action, especially if the starter falters.
Bernard Pierce, who Temple fans still think had a legit shot at the Heisman, is back to his starting post after losing the job to last year. Pierce is a big strong back that will likely give the undersized 'Nova defense some problems.
Rod Streeter is the big name to watch at WR. Luckily, Villanova's DB's are a strength of the defense, but the matchup of Evan Rodriguez might give the 'Nova LB's some problems.
Temple On Defense
Unlike 'Nova, Temple deploys a 4-3 scheme. However, like Villanova, Temple is struggling to replace a depleted LB corps, as Tahir Whitehead is the lone returning starter. Ahkeem Smith underwent a position change from RB to LB, so that may be a position that Andy Talley can exploit.
Temple's defensive line is massive, sporting a pair of 300 pounders in the center that will give 'Nova's young and undersized line fits all night.
In the secondary they'll need to replace Jaiquawn Jarrett, a second-round pick in this year's NFL draft, and like Chester Stewart, Kee-ayre Griffin was recently suspended. With Villanova's experienced WR's, this is the area to attack. Unfortunately, we have a brand new QB.
Why 'Nova Will Win
Not going to lie, it's going to be tough. Temple's got a brand new offense, and Villanova's DL and secondary should be able to hold up well against it. The real fight will be 'Nova's offense against what should be a solid Temple D. Other than WR, Villanova will have a lot of new faces on the field. If Dustin Thomas can operate Villanova's O, Villanova can definitely spring the upset.
Why Temple Will Win
Plain and simple, they're bigger, faster and stronger. 'Nova is replacing a lot. Addazio will want to come out and make a good impression on his debut so he's not going to hold much back. Losing to an FCS program in your first game wouldn't be good.
Expect them to blitz often against the young 'Cats QB, and find some success against an inexperienced OL.