Tuesday, September 02, 2008


So it's not as egregious as the UCLA marketing campaign (though the Neuheisel campaign got off to a pretty nice start), but Temple has been hyping its rematch with UConn since last spring. The Owls, it seems, are looking for justice. Speaking with Randy Edsall and UConn players this morning, the Huskies have accepted that they got away with one at the Runway last September. They all just want to forget the past and move along. And while the Owls are searching for justice (have they thought about taking it to the People's Court? Judge Wapner's retired; is Doug Llewellyn still around?) I'd think the Huskies would gain some motivation from this saga, too. Something along the lines of "let's show these guys some tough justice". They aren't publicly saying as much, but know this...they have taken on that attitude. It should make for a very entertaining game on Saturday.

Some other news and observations from Tuesday's media luncheon:

  • Injury updates: Lindsey Witten is "questionable to probable". His knee was wrapped as he walked around the player's lounge. Brad Kanuch (hamstring) is practicing with the first two units at WR, and could return to action this week. Andre Dixon (ankle) should be dressed and playing. Alex LaMagdelain (shoulder) will miss significant time, maybe the season, as he's expected to undergo surgery soon. Trey Tonsing moves over to guard, Gary Bardzak is now the backup center. Jordan Todman (shoulder) is still week-to-week, but next week that could change to day-to-day. If that makes any sense, you're either a football coach or listen to football coaches speak way too much. Sad to say, it made sense to me.

  • Anthony Sherman, one of last week's unheralded stars, is a natural to make plays from fullback or on special teams because of his athleticism. "He has good hands, and we can utilize that to make us more diversified on offense," Edsall said. "He'll do the dirty work, and he doesn't care if he gets any credit or not. He's not as good a blocker as Deon Anderson was. He doesn't show it as vibrantly as Deon does, but he loves to play the game." And I vote for "The Sherminator" as his nickname. Not original, but we need more Schwarzeneggar/American Pie references.

  • Asked how important it was for UConn to develop a down field passing game, Edsall said he didn't know. "There comes a time when we will take our shots down field. When we take those shots will depend on how well we run the football. To me the better you run the football, the more you people you get to come up, now you have a better chance of getting people behind them. Its the chicken or the egg theory. What comes first? Throwing it down field to loosen them up or running the ball, getting them to come up and then throwing behind them."

  • Edsall on getting questionable calls that favor his team, "It all evens out in the end. It usually winds up being 50-50. But who's to say what calls went for you and what calls went against you?" Cue the angry emails from Temple and Louisville fans....NOW!

  • Donald Brown and Temple coach Al Golden are both alums of Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic. Brown's Algebra II teacher was the football coach when Golden played. Golden got his start as an assistant coach there in the early 90s. Brown's uncle is good friends with Golden's brother. And Golden was the defensive coordinator at Virginia when Brown was a senior. Care to guess why Virginia tried so hard to steal Brown away from his commit to UConn at the last minute back in 2005? "A lot of the (Virginia) staff (including Golden) ended up bailing, so it's a good thing I didn't go there," Brown said.

  • Kevin Gilbride Jr. is the wide receivers coach at Temple. He grew up in Florida, however, unlike his dad who was reared in North Haven and attended SCSU.

  • The Temple media guide features a photo of its most famous football alum, Bill Cosby, wearing a knit, pullover letterman's sweater. Yep. It's the first Cosby sweater. Can someone call the Smithsonian? This belongs between to Fonzie's leather jacket and Alex P. Keaton's necktie.

  • Some mixed player reactions to said Temple highlight video -- which is on the Owls' website football page and is edited together with dramatic music. It should be retitled "CSI: East Hartford". Donald Brown saw it and thought it was pretty funny. Tyler Lorenzen, apparently, viewed it more seriously. "We definitely don't get a laugh out of it," Lorenzen said.

  • It was an adventure getting Al Golden for his conference call with Connecticut media today. No one at Temple seemed to know where he was or how to get a hold of him. After 30 minutes of waiting, we got him on the line. Golden made up for the delay. He was tremendously insightful and helpful. Among the highlights was his calling his old pal Donald Brown one of the more unheralded running backs on the East Coast, gushing about the other talent in the Big East and on UConn (specifically Cody Brown and Darius Butler) and speaking extensively about the many Temple players from Connecticut. He called New Haven's Dy'Onne Crudup a leader, said New Haven's James Nixon was the fastest player the Owls have and someone who will likely be returning punts or kickoffs once he masters wide receiver, and told of how Stamford's Alex Joseph won the team's slam dunk contest. "I couldn't be more pleased with the Connecticut kids we've gotten. We've been lucky," Golden said. "We've done well in Connecticut."

  • Andre Dixon's coming out party was against Temple last season -- he went for 129 yards on 21 carries in his Husky debut. But he called the Owls the hardest-hitting defense he faced last season. "They're a real good team in my eyes," Dixon said.

  • This story is hilarious, although I'm sure Leigh Torbin isn't quite ready to laugh about it today. One day he'll be able to chuckle. For those who don't know, Leigh was UConn's football sports information director until about three weeks ago, when he took the same job at Central Florida. It seems the phone number Leigh provided for UCF's next-day conference call between the Orlando-area media and coach O'Leary was off by one digit. Reporters who phoned in were greeted by a voice saying, "Hi sexy, you've reached the one-on-one fantasy hotline." Turns out the number was for a phone-sex service. It was an honest mistake, of course, and could have happened to anyone. Leigh has been missed in Storrs, and particularly here on the Runway, where he stoked many an idea for my off-topic pop-culture ramblings. Hang in there, Leigh.


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