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

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


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

--"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

--"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

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

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.

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

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.

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,

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
last week, then why is Chester Stewart starting against Maryland this

"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

Embiid Liives: Sixers lose opener but Process secured

Embiid Liives: Sixers lose opener but Process secured


852 days after Joel Embiid was drafted -- a number becoming as familiar to Sixer fans as any Cubs fan could tell you how many years it's been since their last World Series -- he actually played in a regular season game for the Philadelphia 76ers. He lives. He exists. He has a Basketball-Reference stat line. It looks like this: 

The feeling of triumph was tangible at the not-Wells Fargo Center well before it became clear that the Sixers might actually have a shot at beating the Oklahoma City Thunder last night. Embiid's every move was treated with breathless anticipation and rapturous cheering, as well it should have been. Even Dario Saric got his name chanted at him in the first quarter, during his very first regular-season trip to the free-throw line. It was less a basketball game than a Bar Mitzvah, celebrating that these two guys we'd waited a combined four years for were at last becoming full-grown Sixers before our very eyes. It couldn't have mattered much less whether or not we won the game. 

That said, hey, we almost won the game! The Sixers led most of the way, including by six fairly deep into the fourth quarter. If not for the Internet-pandering greatness of Russell Westbrook -- 32-12-9 on good shooting, including a handful of tough pull-ups to make the difference late -- the Sixers might've won their first home opener since Process Genesis three years ago. It didn't happen, and a couple highly flustered 76ers possessions late in this one would probably make this loss pretty frustrating if it happened in February, which it probably still will. Last night? W/e. Let's watch those Embiid highlights again. 

And oh, were they high. It was a night that I imagine will soon become typical for our Jojo: He didn't have a great game, and he was still amazing. 6-16 from the floor with four turnovers and 0 assists is hardly the most efficient night Joel will have for us; a couple times he tried to do way too much in the half-court, and it would've been embarrassing if how much fun he was having even in his screw-ups wasn't so inspiring. He didn't know what spots to run to in transition, he was a non-factor on the boards late, and he probably needs to cool it with his coast-to-coast experiments for a little bit. (Actually, what am I saying? Do You forever, Joel, just watch for those tiny dudes sneaking into your blind spot.) 

But he did get to the line for eight FTs (including two on a rip-through move that most ten-year pros can't successfully execute) and made seven of 'em, he did grab nearly every rebound in sight in the first quarter (even though he only ended with seven for the game), he did get an early swat on Russ (and deterred countless other shots), and yes, he did hit his first-ever three-pointer (and even sent the not-WFC crowd into a frenzy with a couple he missed). Even on an off night, where Thunder big men Enes Kanter and Steven Adams — who my mother now hates — got the best of him on multiple occasions, and he radiated a total lack of NBA experience, he still scored 20 points in 22 minutes and kept us in a game we had no right being anywhere near. He is going to be DOMINANT. And soon. So soon.

Technically there were also ten other Sixers who took the court for us last night, so it's probably worth humoring a couple of their contributions as well. For all the shit that I gave him about cruising through the preseason, I thought Robert Covington was awesome last night — super-active on defense, making good decisions on offense, and hitting a couple huge three-pointers. Jerami Grant was similarly impressive, causing his typical chaos under the basket on both ends and even hitting a couple jumpers; probably shouldn't get super-used to that. And even though Gerald Henderson's night was most memorable for him bricking a three and coughing up the ball in critical late possessions, he also set the evening off with a gorgeous alley-oop slam, and played tough perimeter defense — the kind we just haven't had available to unleash on opposing point guards the last few years — on Westbrook, even if he was ultimately undone by Russ's sorcery.

Special kudos to a couple of our backcourt guys, though: In his first regular-season start for the 76ers — and his first regular-season start for any NBA team in seven seasons — Sergio Rodriguez was exactly what we needed: He attracted the Thunder trap but was able to easily navigate out of it, getting good looks and driving lanes for our perimeter guys, and he hit open shots when passed out to himself. He finished with 12 points, nine assists, and no turnovers, just what we'd hope for from our imported point guard. And Nik Stauskas packed a little extra heat for the bloggers who called for his dismissal all summer (as well as some of the fans that booed him — booed him! — last night), attacking the basket like his roster spot depended on it, finishing with an eye-catching 13 on 5-6 shooting. (I never stopped believing in you, Sauce.) (Well, maybe I sorta did, but at least I was rooting for you to make the team, if partly for selfish reasons.) 

On the other hand, it was something of a rough night for Dario Saric. He did fight for seven rebounds, and should laudable toughness on both sides of the ball, but the looks just weren't falling for Our Friend Dario last night — just 2-12, and some of the misses were brutal — and he was late on a couple rotations that led to open Thunder jumpers (Thumpers?) early. And despite showing his advanced touch early with three consecutive scores, Jahlil Okafor ran out of gas pretty quickly in this one, ending with just eight points on 4-10 shooting (with three TOs), and stood virtually no chance against the Thunder on the boards and in the pick-and-roll. Better nights to come for both. 

In the end, though, only one thing really mattered for the Sixers and the 20,000 fans — about 10,000 of them clad in Sixers jerseys, and mostly non-Iverson ones! — at the Center last night, and that's Joel Embiid, our beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy, officially becoming a player of record in the NBA. When a full stadium of Philly Phaithful chants "TRUST-THE-PRO-CESS!" while JoJo cackles from the free-throw line line, it means Our Once and Always Dark Lord's work is finally done. Hinkie died for our sins. Embiid is risen. 

Look at how much fun this season is already, with Simmons still in street clothes and Nerlens still Netflix-binging in Alabama with his phone in the other room. What's left to trust, anyway?

Despite shooting struggles, Dario Saric impressive in Sixers' regular-season debut

Despite shooting struggles, Dario Saric impressive in Sixers' regular-season debut

After two years filled with will he or won't he speculation over joining the Sixers, this certainly wasn't the effort Dario Saric had envisioned for his NBA regular-season debut. 

"I felt comfortable, but sometimes it's not your day and this was my bad day," said Saric, who scored five points in the Sixers' 103-97 season-opening loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I'll try to watch the video and fix what I can fix and move forward."

The raw numbers look bad. The rookie forward shot 2 of 12 from the field, including 0 of 4 from three-point range. He did notch seven rebounds and two assists, but also contributed two turnovers.

But as you know, numbers don't always tell the story. 

Saric displayed the offensive versatility and headiness on defense that had the Sixers salivating over him for two years while he played for Anadolu Efes in Turkey. He was able to penetrate in the lane several times against the Thunder on Wednesday night and used pump/head fakes to get his defender off balance, but the shots just didn't fall.

"He struggled with his shot" Sixers head coach Bett Brown said. "But just the physical play, some of the intellect of guarding things suddenly that we all might not pay attention to that coaches do. You see him go out of his way to make a rotation, that he just felt the game. I think that some of his pick-and-roll reads on trying to hit cutters, trying to slow up rollers and still go back to shooters like (Ersan) Ilyasova is, stood out to me.

"He's intelligent. He is a smart basketball player. The stats will show that he didn't make some of his shots, but I think that just that gamesmanship, that intellect stands out to me." 

The only time Saric looked a tad overmatched is when OKC went to its mustachioed muscle tandem of Steven Adams and Enes Kanter inside. After the game, Brown lamented leaving Saric in for so long against that pairing, which combined for 33 points and 17 rebounds on the night.

Teammate Jahlil Okafor tried to come to Saric's aid in those moments, but returning from a torn meniscus and on a minutes restriction, his plan wasn't exactly met with enthusiasm by the coaching staff.

"I actually kind of hinted to the coaches that I wanted to play with him (Embiid) because they put Kanter and Adams in," Okafor said. "I was kind of hinting to the coaches that if they want to play big ball we can play big ball with them."

Their response?

"Stay disciplined. Have your lawyer call my lawyer," Okafor said with a laugh. "That's the go-to line."

Even with Saric's few hiccups on defense, Okafor is confident the 22-year-old Croatian will be able to hold his own against NBA players and get the buckets to start dropping on the offensive end.

"I love Dario. It's been a pleasure having him around," Okafor said. "He's such a selfless guy.

"He did struggle a little bit with his shot, but all of the shots that he missed are shots that we know he can make and shots that we've seen him make since he's been here. So we're good. We know what he's going to do."