Sunday, September 29, 2013

Villanova-Penn highlights

Keep tapping that rock. Bill & Mary next Saturday at home.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Villanova crushes Penn 35-6, is now 2-2

Behind what may have been the best game of John Robertson's still young career, Villanova demoralized a Penn football team that looked overmatched on both sides of the ball. Robertson finished the game 19 of 28 through the air for 266 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, and with 15 rushes for 132 yards and a touchdown. Villanova scored four offensive touchdowns, and Robertson accounted for all of them. Other key offensive performers were Kevin Monangai, who had 101 yards on 17 carries, and Poppy Livers, who continued his breakout campaign by making eight catches for 121 yards with two touchdowns. Villanova's only other touchdown was scored by Craig James, who returned a field goal that was blocked by Rakim Cox.

Just a great effort all around, and now this team is back to .500, with just about the entire conference schedule to play.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Starting another century: A Villanova-Penn primer

Last year's win against Penn made it 101 years since the Quakers beat Villanova. On Saturday at Villanova Stadium, the 'Cats will look to make that 102 years.

Let's start with the Quakers, who won 27-21 last week in their season opener against Lafayette. If they have a significant advantage over Villanova it is that they only have one game under their belt, and are less battered, but they also won't be as fresh. On offense, the Quakers start senior Billy Ragone at quarterback. Ragone, who seems like he has been around for a decade is a fourth year starter and was the Ivy League MVP in 2010. Ragone can both run and throw, so he is dangerous. On defense, the Quakers should be one of the better teams Villanova faces all season, because that always seems to be the case. It just happens that way.

Don't expect this to be a blowout. Even when Villanova has great teams, Penn still seems to give them a rough time, often playing games that Villanova doesn't even deserve to win, especially the 2008 and 2010 games. Villanova will have to be up for this one, because the Quakers are well coached and always get up to play Villanova.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#CAAFB Going Deep: Villanova's Pat "Hammer" Williams

This kid is impressive.

13 years ago today: Sonia O'Sullivan gets her Olympic medal

A personal best well deserved honor for one of the greatest athletes in Villanova (and Irish) history. The first individual Olympic track and field medalist for Villanova since 1968, the first Villanova woman to win an Olympic medal, and Villanova's most recent individual medal. Also the first (clean) Irish woman to ever win an Olympic medal, and arguably as good as a gold medal, because the girl who beat her associated with notorious dopers.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Radnor's obstructionism is offensive and uncivilized

As you may have already heard, Radnor's board of commissioners punted Villanova's revised zoning proposal back to the zoning commission last night, where it has already been rejected once, presumably so that it can be rejected again by a group of people who are wont to give nothing to Villanova, even if it is sorely needed.

Let's start with the obvious: Villanova needs new on campus housing. Not only do locals dislike having students live in their midst to the extent that they have created local ordinances that make it very difficult for students to rent houses or apartments. Their police frequently harass any car with a Villanova bumper sticker, and regularly arrest Villanova students for public drunkenness, even when they're doing the right thing and walking home from a local bar instead of doing the irresponsible thing, which is driving, or getting a ride from someone else who is drunk.

It is time for Radnor's residents and commissioners to grow the fuck up and allow Villanova to move forward with their eminently reasonable plans. Unless there are 180 year old residents of any of these neighborhoods, Villanova was there when these NIMBYs moved in. If they don't like the school that was in their neighborhoods when they moved in, they can take their immature "NoVU" stickers and their smear campaigns and move to a place where they won't have to be inconvenienced by college students anymore. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

Villanova-Stony Brook: Things to look for

Due to illness, I posted an abortion last night as opposed to an actual post of substance. Just so that I don't feel bad about that, I'll write more than 30 words on the topic.

Here's some things I expect tomorrow:
  1. A lot of running of the football. Last season in the playoffs, Stony Brook pretty much ran the ball at will on Villanova. I expect them to try to do the same again.
  2. Fewer turnovers by Villanova. I have a hard time believing they're going to turn the ball over four or five times tomorrow. 
  3. High intensity on defense and special teams. I assume that Villanova's team will be angry, and they will try to impose that on the Sea Wolves. This could be dangerous, but I think they will try to set a tone to the game in order to impose their will on them. I don't know how well it will work, but I expect blue helmets to be flying all over the field towards the ball.
  4. A better John Robertson. He has been decent, but not great in the first two games of the season. I expect that to change.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A short Villanova-Stony Brook primer

If Villanova stops leaving the ball on the turf and starts scoring touchdowns in the red zone they might have a chance of winning on Saturday.

This has been a short Villanova-Stony Brook primer.

I might have more on this tomorrow if I have time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Update: Billy Lange likely to join 76ers coaching staff

According to a report on Liberty Ballers, a 76ers blog, Villanova assistant coach Billy Lange is likely to leave the college ranks to become an assistant coach for the NBA team.

Obviously this is still fluid, but we'll update it as more info becomes available, especially as to a potential replacement. I wouldn't expect Villanova to go too far outside of the program for a replacement, though.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Billy Lange turns down Houston D-League job, may still leave VU

 Jay Wright and Billy Lange (left)

However, this does not mean that he is going to stay at Villanova, because he still has an offer on the table from the 76ers. If Lange is hired by the Sixers, he would be the third former Jay Wright assistant with a job on an NBA bench. Just goes to show you how much Jay's work is respected in the industry, especially because Ed Pinckney has been shortlisted for head coaching jobs.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Villanova wins against the bye week


Even though Boston College to lost to Southern Cal on the road today, the win by Fordham over pennsylvania government waste (Temple) at Lincoln Financial Field means that Villanova has one of the toughest strengths of schedule in the FCS, which makes their 0-2 record much more tolerable provided they win next week against Stony Brook. Villanova is a "good" 0-2, because they have yet to play a conference game, and they won the conference's auto-bid last season. Normally a bye week after an 0-2 start wouldn't be desirous, but this bye week has turned out to be quite good.

Go 'Cats, beat the Sea Wolves.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Villanova Football: Tap The Rock

So that's where that came from. I seem to remember the Tampa Bay Bucs saying "pound the rock" when they won the Super Bowl.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

#AskTheAD part three: Basketball chants

Interesting thoughts. Villanova games are dead now.

Villanova has a lot of "tremendous assets"

Happy 100th birthday, Jesse Owens

One of the great Americans, and great athletes of all time. Never got enough recognition or money for his accomplishments during his career because it was not politically convenient for FDR, who was afraid of losing votes in the south, to invite him to the White House.

Thanks for doing America proud, and making Hitler look like an ass. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Villanova football, fumbles, and bad luck

Almost all of Villanova's turnovers this season have come from fumbles, losing six of them in two games. Forcing fumbles is a skill, and there are also players who are more prone to fumble than some others, but after the ball hits the turf, there is a certain degree of luck involved in how many turnovers there are. This is perfectly illustrated by the fact that the ratio of total fumbles to fumbles lost variates from year to year, and some teams simply have bad luck in the area.

How do I know that it is a matter of luck? Well, I don't, but what I do know is that Villanova has already lost the same number of fumbles as they lost all of last season despite fumbling five fewer times. Villanova has fumbled seven times this season and lost six of them. That is a huge, and frankly, unsustainable rate. I expect that fumbling will remain a problem for this team, and I think they will do it at a greater volume than most other teams, but I think that the ratio will be closer to 50/50 for the rest of the season. Why do I know this? Because that's what it's been like in the past three seasons, even in 2011, when Villanova was exceptionally bad.

Villanova fumbles (lost) by season

2011: 20 (11)
2012: 12 (6)
2013: 7 (6)
Luck, it's a thing. Fix the fumbling problem though, seven times in two games isn't fun.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Villanova-Fordham "Highlights"

About as "high" as that game can be. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from it.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blech: A Villanova-Fordham postmortem

Turnovers are bad.
Turnovers are bad.
Turnovers are bad.

Now that we have that out of the way, we can say that turnovers are bad. Good teams do not turn over the ball 4.5 times a game, especially on fumbles, the most egregious form of turnover because it doesn't involve a ball being launched through the air and a defensive player having to make a play on the ball. The bad news is that Villanova is 0-2. The good news is that they have a bye this week and have yet to play a conference game, so the conference title (which they won last season) is still in play. That's about where the good news ends. This team is way too injured way too early in the season for many good things to happen, and teams that are wont to turn the ball over often don't correct themselves in the middle of the season. If you want an example, look at how Austin Medley is holding the ball in the picture above. That is the antithesis of "high and tight" that coaches usually teach players in Pop Warner.

Next game is the home opener against Stony Brook in two weeks. Wake me up then.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013 feels like 1920: Fordham beats Villanova for the first time in 93 years

Six turnovers and only a field goal in the second half. Villanova is now 0-2 for the season with the bye week coming up. Something will have to change, but this team appears to be snakebitten.

There will be more on this tomorrow. Blech.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A quick Villanova-Fordham primer

Villanova will take the field against Fordham tomorrow with unfinished business, playing great in the first half last Saturday against Boston College only to wear down in the second half. There were some good things about this, most notably the performance of linebacker Joey Harmon, who was named CAA defensive player of the week. He will have to pick up the slack for the remainder of the season, as his fellow starter Patrick Haggerty will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Also out with a knee injury will be safety Matt McCann, who was just upgraded from out for the entire season to possibly able to return in four weeks. Luckily for Villanova, nose guard Antoine Lewis will be good to go after suffering a lower leg injury near the end of Saturday's game.

As for Fordham, Villanova hasn't lost to them since 1920, back when the Rams were a national power. However, that could change this week, because they absolutely throttled Rhode Island last week by a score of 51-26.

The game is tomorrow, at Fordham. Kickoff will be at 6 PM, and the radio coverage of the game will be broadcast on 610 WIP in the Philadelphia area.

#AskTheAD Part 2: Addressing football promotion, indoor track facilities

I only say indoor track because I suggested it. It seems like there's some commitment to that program, which is good for me, because it's something that I care about.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Andy Talley: Harbinger of doom

"Coachspeak" is a well known phenomenon in football. If you watch a Bill Belichick press conference, you are lucky to glean any sort of information of use. The opposite is true when you listen to Villanova head coach Andy Talley speak. While Belichick always keeps things close to the vest, Talley speaks in absolutes to the point where you think he's playing mind games with the opposing coach. Every other team always has a "very good quarterback" or a "dominant defense" and his Villanova teams are always perilously injured according to him.

During the 2009 and 2010 seasons, Chris Whitney was on his deathbed according to Coach T. So unless he says that a player is out for the year, it's best to take his injury pronouncements with a tiny grain of salt.

This piece was inspired by the fact that 2013 starters Pat Haggerty and Matt McCann are out for the season.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another striking example of Villanova's PR laziness

Collegiate Record Holders

Recently I was watching an "Ask the AD" session with Vince Nicastro, and he said something about Villanova's commitment to Olympic sports, including track & field and cross country. It would be worth it to point out that Villanova's most recent national championships, both team and individual have come from women's cross country, but the athletic department has yet to even list rosters for those teams, despite the fact that the listed beginning of the Villanova cross country season is only six days away.

Now, this would be acceptable, if someone on his own time didn't do a better job of covering Villanova track and cross country.

You'd think that the athletic department would be privy to the information.

Also, they haven't posted an updated list of men's school records in a decade. It's kind of annoying.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Villanova-Boston College highlights

For everything they do poorly, the Villanova athletic department has really started making really good

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Quartered: A Villanova-BC postmortem

After being in a very good position after 30 minutes yesterday, Villanova just lost the ability to deal the depth of a BCS team on a hot, humid afternoon, as they were thoroughly outclassed by Boston College in the second half, as you might expect from a road team that has 22 fewer scholarship players than their hosts. Despite the 24-14 loss, a couple of concerning injuries, and the fact that Villanova was shut out over the final three quarters, this loss was not entirely a negative result, because there were several silver linings Villanova fans can take from it.

Things I liked:
  1. The entire first quarter- Villanova dominated the first quarter of the game, scoring their only points of the game in that quarter, both touchdowns by Jamal Abdur-Rahman.
  2. John Robertson, Jamal Abdur-Rahman, and Poppy Livers- These three players accounted for almost all of Villanova's total yardage. Last season, Poppy Livers was largely a special teams player who saw some snaps as slot receiver, but this year he looks like he could be a real weapon in the slot, as he had career highs of eight catches and 90 yards in the opener. The aforementioned Abdur-Rahman is just an explosive athlete, finishing with 57 rushing yards and 41 receiving yards with the two touchdowns. As for John Robertson, he struggled at times, but his ability to move the offense was a good sign, even if Villanova didn't score after the first quarter, and the costly turnovers. 
  3. Joey Harmon- A career high 15 total tackles and a forced fumble. Harmon seems primed for a huge season.
  4. Mark Hamilton- 46 yards per punt on five punts is not bad at all, even if the one 66 yarder was a bit of an outlier. 
  5. The fake punt- I love gutsy shit like that. 
Things I didn't like: 
  1. Handoffs to Monangai- It was pretty clear early on that BC was not going to let Kevin Monangai beat them on the ground, but he was still given handoffs. It was just too predictable. 
  2. Injuries- Senior linebacker/defensive leader Patrick Haggerty looked to suffer a pretty serious knee injury while he was covering a kickoff in the second half. An injury to Haggerty could be a deathblow, especially because Dillon Lucas is already on the sideline with a big brace on his knee. Also, senior defensive tackle Antoine Lewis suffered a lower leg injury, but returned to the game fairly soon afterward.
  3. The wounded duck- The intercepted pass thrown by Gary Underwood in the second quarter was a head scratcher. There's a reason that he is playing running back and not quarterback in college.
Villanova will look to get their first win of the season next week at Fordham.