George Orwell and the Temple Quarterbacks: An Exercise in Doublespeak?

George Orwell and the Temple Quarterbacks: An Exercise in Doublespeak?

If you've been keeping up with our Temple coverage since Steve Addazio
was introduced as head coach earlier this year, you'll know we've been
pretty high on the guy to this point. He's fiery. He's motivated. He's
TUFF.

But just just three weeks into first campaign
as head coach, Addazio already seems like a different guy than he was at
the end of August. The same coach who seemed so direct and straight
forward has become more and more evasive when it comes to the ongoing
question of a starting quarterback.

We should state,
if you haven't already heard, that senior

QB Chester Stewart has been announced as the starter for
Temple's game this weekend in College Park against the Maryland
Terrapins. In and of itself, playing Stewart isn't necessarily the
problem—but the way Addazio arrived at his decision, that's the
issue.

Three

weeks ago during his team's preseason Media Day, when the coach still
hadn't announced a starter under center, Addazio made the following
comments as related to the future of his
quarterbacks.

--"I don't want to play two quarterbacks and [referencing his
time at Florida] I never wanted to before…To play two guys just because
they're both kind of doing well, I don't want to do that…I don't think
it's productive."

--"We're looking for that 'it factor' more
than that extra completed pass. It's that ability to lead the team down
the field. You know, this guy threw three for six, 'great, that's
terrific,' but could he overcome adversity to lead the team? That's the
factor sometimes that is hard to find. And, you know what, you might not
find it until week three to be honest with you…That 'it factor,' that
leadership, that ability to drive a team, sustain a team, it's critical
right now. And you do the best you can to do a great job predicting
that. We could go into game one, one quarterback may start that game, he
may struggle, we put another guy in, that guy leads the team and, you
know what, there we go. That's what you got. That's the guy that's
probably going to go from that point forward, until proven
otherwise."

--"Quite frankly, I can tell you, I'd be okay with either one
of them right now. I really would be. So it's a good problem to have…as
long as it doesn't turn into a bad problem, because you didn't make a
decision."

Less than one month later, far
too much of the language above seems in some way
contradicted by its own speaker. And, to be as frank as the coach, it's
unsettling.

Addazio claims that there's no single
event that forced his hand into starting Stewart this weekend, but did
specify that last weekend's game film played a significant factor.
Watching that game live and subsequently revisiting the box score, I can
tell you that Chester Stewart went exactly 3 for 6 and failed in repeated to
attempts to "sustain the team." With the exception of his first drive in
which Temple scored its final points of the game, a second quarter
field goal to go up 10-7, the only "it factor" displayed by Stewart in week three was
the clear fact that he wasn't getting "it" done.

And
after all, isn't that why the coach re-inserted Mike Gerardi under
center after pulling him just a quarter prior?

Once
Gerardi was back in the ballgame, Temple did its best to break the Penn
State pass rush by attempting to throw the ball over the eight to nine
guys stacked in the box. But Gerardi, who sat on the sidelines late in
the second quarter and throughout almost all of the third, had lost his
rhythm and feel for the game. The fourth quarter featured one turnover
after another and the Owls were ultimately burnt by continuously handing
PSU nothing less than stellar field position.

Not
only did it look like Addazio was playing two quarterbacks—a strategy he
previously labeled "unproductive"—but also that his "good problem had
turned into a bad one" because he couldn't make a decision as to which
quarterback he wanted.

Now, he's claiming that even
though Chester Stewart will start against the Terps, that "that doesn't
mean Gerardi won't play."

If you're a fan of
football, then you know there's a really easy out for the coach on this
one. That easy out is to claim that each guy has a different skill set
and that it's not a two quarterback offense if one QB is running the
spread and the other QB is running a more traditional passing plan. So,
naturally, that's exactly what Addazio said when asked about it,
right?

Okay,
not exactly. So if Mike Gerardi can run the spread just as well as
Chester Stewart, and both guys are very similar in their capabilities,
and Addazio isn't running a two quarterback system, and isn't doing all
the things he said wouldn't, even though his indecision did hurt the
team
last week, then why is Chester Stewart starting against Maryland this
weekend?

"War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength." Steve Addazio isn't running a two
quarterback system…but Chester Stewart and Mike Gerardi will play this
weekend.

NHL Playoffs: Vernon Fiddler provides big lift as Predators take 1-0 series lead on Blues

NHL Playoffs: Vernon Fiddler provides big lift as Predators take 1-0 series lead on Blues

ST. LOUIS -- One nifty little flip by Vernon Fiddler provided a big lift for the Nashville Predators on a rough night.

Fiddler scored with 5:05 left and P.K. Subban had a goal and two assists, powering Nashville to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series on Wednesday.

The Predators lost Kevin Fiala to an ugly leg injury in the second period and blew a 3-1 lead before Fiddler poked a loose puck by Jake Allen in the third.

"They had a little push there," Fiddler said. "We got 3-2 and then 3-3 and the building's rocking. You have to give our guys credit. We just regrouped and went back at them and found a way to get the two points."

It was the fifth goal in 43 career playoff games for the 36-year-old Fiddler, who did not play in the Predators' first-round series sweep against the Blackhawks.

"He's a veteran guy so he's been in these situations before and he stepped up and got us a big goal," Subban said. "That was the toughest game of the season for us and they fought so hard and had so many chances, but we found a way to get it done."

Colin Wilson and Filip Forsberg also scored for Nashville, and Pekka Rinne made 27 saves.

Game 2 is Friday night (see full recap).

Draisaitl leads Oilers to Game 1 win over Ducks
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Adam Larsson scored his second goal of the third period with 4:40 to play, and the Edmonton Oilers blew a two-goal lead in a wild third period before beating the Anaheim Ducks 5-3 on Wednesday night in their second-round playoff series opener.

Mark Letestu scored two power-play goals and Cam Talbot made 33 saves for the upstart Oilers, who seized home-ice advantage from the Ducks with a four-goal final period.

Jakob Silfverberg scored the tying goal with 9:13 to play in regulation for the Ducks, who lost in regulation for the first time in 19 games since March 10.

Larsson scored just four goals in his first 85 games this season, but the Swedish defenseman improbably got two goals in 7 1/2 minutes.

Game 2 is Friday night in Anaheim (see full recap).

Phillies push win streak to 5 behind continued growth from Maikel Franco, Vince Velasquez

Phillies push win streak to 5 behind continued growth from Maikel Franco, Vince Velasquez

 

BOX SCORE

This is what the Phillies could look like some day, maybe in a year or two, when the rebuild has moved further down the road and the club is approaching contender's status.

Maikel Franco clubbed three hits, including a grand slam, and Vince Velasquez pitched his best game of the young season to lead the Phillies to a 7-4 victory over the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night (see Instant Replay).

The win was the Phillies' fifth straight as they inched over the .500 mark at 10-9 and it offered a glimpse of the tantalizing tools of two of the team's most enigmatic young players — Franco and Velasquez. Both players are 24 years old. Both have had individual highs and lows in a Phillies uniform. Both have the ability to be cornerstone talents for the franchise — if they can put together more nights like this one.

"It's a long season and it doesn't happen overnight," said manager Pete Mackanin, acknowledging the ups and downs that each player has had in the early part of this season and before.

It was just last week that Franco was riding a career-worst 0-for-22 slump that dragged his batting average to .145.

On Wednesday night, he stroked three hits — he had two hard-hit singles to go with his grand slam — to push his average to .203, not good but moving in the right direction.

Even as he struggled, Franco continued to hit balls hard and produce runs. He now has 20 RBIs, which is just one shy of the NL leaders. He also has four homers, including two grand slams.

It's no secret that new hitting coach Matt Stairs is trying to get Franco to stop pulling off the ball. From Day 1 of spring training, Stairs has had Franco working on driving the ball to the middle of the field. That's just what Franco did three times Wednesday night. His first hit, a single to center in the second inning, set the tone for his night. His grand slam came on a 2-2 fastball from lefty Wei-Yin Chen in the third inning.

"That was Matt Stairs' big rallying cry for Maikel — try to use the big part of the field and not pull everything," Mackanin said. "He still has it in him where he'll pull his head off the ball, but I think with his type of power, he can hit a ball to center field or right field out of the ballpark. Once that sinks in, he's really going to take off. He's starting to look a lot better." 

Two pitches before Franco lined the grand slam over the wall in left center, he lost his helmet while hacking at a slow breaking ball. It was the type of out-of-control swing that Stairs is trying to eliminate. Two pitches later, Franco gathered himself and hit the grand slam with a smooth swing.

That was progress.

And so is this: He's only lost his helmet on a swing one time this season.

"At the time, I just told myself, 'Calm down, relax, don't try to do too much. Just see the ball and put good contact on it,'" Franco said.

"I think last year I lost my helmet like 20 or 25 times," he added with a chuckle. "I'm working on it."

Velasquez is also working on things. He is trying to harness his power stuff and improve his economy of pitches so he can stay in games longer. He'd lasted just four, five and six innings, respectively, while running high pitch counts in his first three starts. He made some improvements in his last outing at New York last week and took another step forward in this one. He pitched 6 1/3 innings, scattered six hits and three runs, walked two and struck out three. The strikeout total was way down from the 10 he struck out in four innings in his first start of the season. But Mackanin was pleased with the results and the improved efficiency. Velasquez threw 97 pitches, 68 of which were strikes. He threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of 26 batters and that was important to his success.

"Even though he's not striking people out like we know he can and will, he's using all of his pitches and he got us into that seventh inning, which was huge," Mackanin said. "I think he's trying to pitch to more contact and not trying to make perfect pitches and strike everybody out with perfect pitches.

"I think once he puts that all together, he'll have that total ensemble working for him and know when to pitch soft and when to throw hard. He's making good improvements."

And so are the Phillies as a group. They hit three home runs in the game and the bullpen did an excellent job, especially Joely Rodriguez and Joaquin Benoit, who combined on five outs (see story)

Five straight wins is nothing to sneeze at. The Phillies have suddenly become fun. They go for a sixth straight win Thursday.