Shining Light on Villanova Game Plan

These days at Temple football practice time has been set aside for things like photo shoots and press conferences but, at some point, work has to be done to win a game.

All you have to do to figure out the Villanova game plan is to pop in a tape of last year’s game.

Villanova is going to throw to the tight end—a lot—and going to try to throw crossing underneath patterns to backs coming out of the backfield. That approach pretty much moved the sticks and shortened the game for the Wildcats, but did not put a whole lot of points on the scoreboard in a 16-13 Temple win.

Villanova: Never forgive, never forget

Daz got one thing right: He beat Nova 42-7 and 41-10

For a FCS team looking to beat a FBS team, that has to be the goal. Shorten the game and keep the ball out of the hands of the more talented team.

Villanova did that well a year ago.

Temple has to counter by using its best defensive player, safety Delvon Randall, to cover the tight end and keep the linebackers from being crossed up by the crossing patterns by defined assignment football.

Will the Owls learn?

Those who do not learn by history are doomed to repeat it. There is a history involving the Owls and nine months to prepare for an opponent that telegraphed their game plan.

For the entire year leading up to the 2016 Army game, we outlined Phil Snow’s shortcomings against triple option teams—both at Temple and his previous stop, Eastern Michigan—and presented a simple plan to stop the triple option.

Nose guard, A gaps covered by tackles, and the play blown up at the point of attack. These were solid precepts covered in Wayne Hardin Football 101.

The Owls had nine months to make those adjustments and made none, instead sticking with their base 4-3 defense.

The outcome was that the Army fullback ran for over 100 yards and two touchdowns in both an embarrassing and costly loss. Had the Owls won that game, they would have had a much better argument for a NY6 playoff game. Snow learned his lesson by the Navy championship game, going with a nose guard and two tackles to stymie Navy’s high-octane offense and come away with a 34-10 win but it was a lesson he chose to ignore for the opener. If anything, the Owls learned that being stubborn and, to use Matt Rhule’s words “do what we do and don’t worry about what the other guy does” is not a good philosophy for winning football. Instead, you’ve got to recognize what the other guy does well and counter your game plan to stop it.

It is a lesson these Owls, too, should not ignore. Somewhere in the fine print of Geoff Collins’ contract is the mandate to pummel this team. He has three weeks to find the Mayhem that disrupts what we all know Villanova will attempt to do.

Friday: They Really Like Us

Monday: A Peak Ahead to Buffalo

Wednesday: The Position Flexibility Canard  


6 thoughts on “Shining Light on Villanova Game Plan

  1. I am still waiting to see the “mayhem” that was marketed so aggressively…maybe I missed it. Hopefully, it appears this year. To me, for a defense to create mayhem they must dictate what will happen at the snap of the ball with penetration, blitzes, disguising coverages, messing up blocking schemes, etc. I didn’t see that last year…..i did notice a lot of guys not getting off of blocks and that is not how TU defenses are successful.

  2. Nova’s been running the same offense for more than twenty years. That’s how they beat the Owls the year the Linc opened. I was sitting with Wayne Hardin and he mirrored what Mike wrote about how to stop them. Can’t understand how these coaches didn’t know that last season. But for their late Nova fumble, TU would have lost that game.

  3. Not worried about Nova .
    What keeps me up at night is the Buffalo game.
    How is Collins planning on stopping Tyree Jackson and those 3 receivers. Who on the D is going to be able blitz and put pressure on Jackson ?

    • Hopefully Dan Archibong, FBL, Michael Dogbe, and Karamo Dioubate can create loads of Mayhem.

      I do think that Buffalo might just be a bigger challenge than Maryland.

      • Agree. Their QB is a 245 Lb, 6’7″, monster who can both run and pass. It will be challenge to stop him.

  4. Not long to find out what the coaches learned, or not, from last year. Seemed like they got things straightened out by the end of the season. We’ll just have to keep our collective fingers crossed. Go Owls.

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