Temple-Notre Dame Q&A: Enter The Subway Domer

Temple-Notre Dame Q&A: Enter The Subway Domer

With Temple and No. 14 Notre Dame set to kick off at 3:30 p.m. Saturday (NBC / 97. 5 The Fanatic), we scoured the internet (ran a Twitter search) to find the best semi-amusing ND blogger we could find. We came up with The Subway Domer, who's the A-No. 1 Tommy Rees supporter on the interwebs. Our chat with the Domer appears below, and I answer some Temple questions over on his site. Enjoy:

1. First off, I had no idea Tommy Rees was referred to as the Reesus. I'm not sure this is a question. Respond.

Obviously, there is a resurrection that is happening here. It's OK. It may take 2000+ years before some people accept Reesus into their heart. The prophecies were correct!

@TheSubwayDomer @tricerapops @kevib47 How's this for photoshop? ::Flex:: pic.twitter.com/LcqIAtwDCb

— Brendan McAlinden (@verypiratey) August 12, 2013

2. As far as Tommy's concerned, he had some moments last year when he came into games, righted the ship, swung some games, and really kept the National Title hopes alive. But you guys had to think he would fully take a back seat to Everett Golson this year, right? Now Golson's off the team and Rees is back under center. Odd as it sounds considering what he did at times last year, is this a disappointment?

Yes and no. Golson would have definitely been been the starter, and Irish fans (myself included) would have been extremely pumped to see Everett blossom and grow in Year 2. But ... things happened, and we have Tommy Rees. I am still confident that this offense will do pretty well this season. Tommy is a senior, he knows the offense better than anyone, and he has won a lot of games for the Irish. I'm sure there is a little disappointment, but if the wins start rolling in, no one will care.

3. Another Tommy question before we move on: How does the Rees-Brian Kelly dynamic play amongst the fan base? There are always coaches who get on players, but for casual observers of the program, this is an especially high-value source of entertainment.

Honestly, I don't know if the fanbase is really all that concerned with it. It's noticeable, but more in a way that says, "Tommy is a tough dude, he can take Purple Face." This is almost a non-factor in my thought process during a game.

4. The Irish defense is now without it's most high-profile player from last year in Manti Te'o, but defensive tackle Louis Nix is likely a top-10 pick and the defensive line is arguably still the best in the country. The defense carried the team to the title game last year. Is it still on that level?

I truly believe that it is. Te'o was a great linebacker at Notre Dame, but like most great linebackers, he had a lot of help from the big boys in front of him with their hand on the ground. The defense returns so much back, and the secondary should be even better than last year when the Irish had to piece together the unit due to injuries. It may sound strange since this defense lost the runner-up to the Heisman ... but they will probably be better than 2012.

5. We just mentioned him, and we can't get through this talk without addressing it: Manti Te'o and Lennay Kekua/Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. The Internet can be a cruel place, but for a good while, people couldn't get enough and the details only got weirder, which kept feeding at the beast. How was the whole thing received amongst the fan base? Were Domers just as morbidly curious and entertained as the rest of us, or was there a sense of embarrassment or sympathy or exhaustion or ... ?

No offense, but I have zero time for any of this. Didn't care much then and don't really care now.

6. We're around a year out from ND's announcement that it's joining the ACC in 2014. The football independence is still in tact but now comes with a mandated five ACC dates a year. How was the move viewed at the time and how is it viewed now, a year later? Was there ever a shot with the Big Ten? Was that preferable? Or did it not particularly matter once the Big East became a rapidly sinking ship?

There's mixed opinion about this whole ACC deal, but I personally welcome the partnership. Notre Dame will never join the Big 10. Geography is the only similarity for that type of alliance. The ACC and ND fit together quite nicely and is a better match in terms of academics, and overall mission. Notre Dame would join the Sun Belt before they join the Big 10 (there's a history of "screw you" there).

7. Let's go back to June, when ND still had 14 teams on its 2014 schedule and things with Arizona State were getting testy. Since then, the Temple game originally scheduled for next year at Lincoln Financial Field was pushed back to 2015. You're Jack Swarbrick: Who would you have dropped at the time? And you've still got one more team to axe from next year's schedule. Who would you like to see bumped now?

Temple was the right call then and is still the right call as to what team needed to be dropped. As for the next "cut," I would say it should be Rice, but it could most likely be Northwestern.

8. I'm not breaking new ground here. Notre Dame fans are perceived as arrogant. Give us your best arrogant response. Inject a little bit of religious fervor into this if you're so inclined.

I can't believe I'm wasting my time by answering questions from a Temple writer?

9. Perfect segue to bring this back around to Temple and close this up. Is this game already an afterthought for Irish fans? Like, "Yeah, we have a game against some Jewish school (kidding) but the season starts Week 2 vs. Michigan." Accurate, not accurate?

A little bit. Mostly, Irish fans are just excited to get the season started and get this weird offseason behind us. If this was the third game of the season, I think you would see us looking past Temple quite a bit more, but we love football and are just excited to start another run at the title.

10. Last one. We've known the spread was going to be quite large for some time, and that it was only going to get bigger. I'm writing this to you on a Tuesday and the line is currently Notre Dame (-29.5) or (-30) depending on where you get your numbers. That number is getting a lot of love here locally, and not for emotional, fan-related reasons, with Temple to cover. If you're putting down on this game, are you taking or laying the points?

Historically, Notre Dame hasn't covered the spread very well and this would look like another game that I would take the opponent and the points -- at least a couple of years ago. Temple is not a good football team, and Kelly really steps on the throat against those types of teams. I'll spot ya 30. [ducks]

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Head over to Subway Domer as we flip things around and talk Temple.

Union sign prospect Derrick Jones to homegrown contract

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Union sign prospect Derrick Jones to homegrown contract

Midfielder Derrick Jones has made Union history.

On Wednesday, the club announced Jones, 19, has been signed to the Union first team as a Homegrown Player. Currently playing with the Union’s USL affiliate Bethlehem Steel, Jones is the first Union Academy graduate to make the move from Union Academy to Union first team.

“Derrick’s progression through our system has been quicker than anticipated and it’s evident that he is ready for the next step of his career,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said in the team’s official release. “This is a testament to Derrick’s commitment to his trade, and it should be considered a tremendous accomplishment to become the first player to come through our Academy, to Bethlehem Steel, and finally to the first team.”

Jones, who moved to Philadelphia in 2012 from Bantana, Ghana, and worked his way through the Union Academy before joining the Steel in 2016, made his Union debut in a friendly match against Crystal Palace on July 13 at Talen Energy Stadium. 

The 6-foot-3 rangy midfielder, who doesn’t have a set position, showed well playing the entire second half, presenting his on-the-ball poise at the attacking mid position.

“Derrick has now set the benchmark for every player in our youth system,” Stewart said. “That there is a pathway to the professional level, and that it is achievable if you remain committed to your goals.”

Jones is the first Union homegrown signing since 2012. Homegrown status means the player avoids being submitted into the MLS SuperDraft. The Union Academy has been around since 2013 and is located at the YSC Center in Wayne, Pennsylvania. 

“I’m delighted that Derrick is our first and that the work of our staff has come to fruition in this way,” Academy director Tommy Wilson said. “This is a proud moment for Derrick and his family. I would like to congratulate them and everyone else who has played a part in his development.”

In final stage of rehab assignment, Aaron Altherr eager to return to Phillies

In final stage of rehab assignment, Aaron Altherr eager to return to Phillies

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- The Phillies can be forgiven to some extent for their failure to get consistent production out of their corner outfielders this season. After all, they've been without one of their projected starters since spring training.

The good news is Aaron Altherr is on the verge of returning after missing almost four months with a wrist injury. The 25-year-old reached the final stop of his rehab tour through the Phillies' minor league system Tuesday, going 1 for 3 with a double in a 4-2 victory for the Triple A Ironpigs.

Needless to say, Altherr is feeling better.

"It's going good," Altherr said of his recovery. "It gets a little tight every now and then. Just gotta loosen it up. I'm good to go."

Altherr suffered a torn ligament in his left wrist attempting a diving catch in a Grapefruit League game back in March. The injury was expected to keep the righthander out four-to-six months, possibly even ending his season.

If the current rehab assignment is any indication, it turns out he's about ready to rejoin the Phillies. Through 12 minor league games, which includes stints at Reading, Clearwater and in the Gulf Coast League, Altherr is 13 for 34 (.351) with two doubles, a home run and five RBIs. He's also walked seven times to six strikeouts and stolen two bases. Yet while clearly enjoying himself, he feels as though he's ready to rejoin the big club.

"It's been fun," Altherr said. "Was just down to (Double A) Reading, good crowd there. It's gonna be another good crowd up here (in Lehigh Valley) I'm sure. I always enjoy going to these places and seeing people again, so it's definitely fun.

"Mentally and physically, I think I'm ready to go. My timing is there. I'm just ready to go and get after it and play some games up there."

As for what he could bring to MLB's 29th-ranked offense, which too often this season has seen little impact from its corner outfielders, Altherr will do what he can to provide a spark for the Phillies.

"I hope so," Altherr said. "I'm not gonna try to do too much though. I'm just gonna go up there and do what I know I can do and hopefully help out the team any way I can."

A ninth-round draft pick in 2009, Altherr got his first serious look with the Phillies last year, batting .241 with 19 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs in 39 games. It wasn't nearly enough to anoint the German-born prospect as part of the franchise's rebuilding effort, but the organization was hoping to use 2016 to evaluate his potential as an everyday player.

"I wouldn't say missed opportunity," Altherr said about the poor timing of his injury. "Things like this happen. I'll get back stronger than ever and show what I can do. It is what it is. I've worked hard every day and tried to get back as fast as I could."

He's right, of course. It's not like all is lost in that sense. Cody Asche, Peter Bourjos and Tyler Goeddel have had their moments, but none has cemented his role moving forward. Outside of likely September call-up Nick Williams posting quality numbers at Triple A, there isn't exactly a long line of players knocking down the door for one of those two spots.

"There's always going to be competition no matter where you are in life, so I definitely don't really think about it too much," Altherr said. "I just have to go out there and control what I can control and play the way I know I can play."

Altherr's opportunity is coming any day now. A 6-foot-5, 215-pound athlete who also happens to be a plus-defender could bring a lot to the mix for the Phillies right now. It may be too late to find out this year if he has a long and bright future with the club, but he could certainly provide some excitement down the stretch.

Jim Schwartz: Eagles' defense 'rather attack than read'

Jim Schwartz: Eagles' defense 'rather attack than read'

For all his talk about schemes and technical minutiae, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s coaching philosophy is pretty simple.

“In a nutshell, we want to allow less points than our offense scores," Schwartz said. "Rankings, stats — the only thing that matters in this league is wins and losses. I’ll take a 42-41 game; I might not sleep well afterwards, but I’ll take it. I’d rather have that than a 7-3 game that you lose.”

That said, Schwartz emphasized his defense’s attack-first mindset after the second day of Eagles training camp at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday (see Day 2 observations).

“We want to be an attack defense,” he said. “We want to put pressure on the quarterback.”

While Schwartz has preferred that style throughout his coaching career, he’s always cognizant of his personnel and what sort of approach best suits them. For the Eagles, he feels that a defense in which the front four is putting pressure on the quarterback and the linebackers and defensive backs are playing aggressively is the perfect system (see story).

“I think [this defense] fits the guys really well here,” Schwartz said. “And I think if you’d ask them, they’d rather attack than read. It puts us in a little better position to rush the passer, it puts us in a little better position to set hard edges. It’s been our philosophy. And I think if you ask offensive coordinators, they’d tell you the same thing — if you can get there with four, you have a big advantage as a defense.”

Schwartz talked extensively about how he’s altered his defense depending on the strengths and weaknesses of his players. Looking at defensive ends in particular, Schwartz explained his ends don’t all line up in an identical “Wide 9” alignment. Rather, he noted that the positioning and technique for the pairings of Jevon Kearse and Kevin Carter and Kyle Vanden Bosch and Antwan Odom during his time as defensive coordinator in Tennessee (2001-08) varied considerably from that of Cliff Avril and Ziggy Ansah when he coached Detroit (2009-13), and Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes in Buffalo (2014).

“We try to match the talent that we have to the techniques that we’re asking guys to play,” Schwartz said. “And even here, some of the stuff that Brandon [Graham] is doing is a little different than what Vinny [Curry] is doing.”

As for the Eagles’ biggest offseason decision, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, Schwartz is very confident in Cox’s ability to thrive in his defense.

“[Cox] fits our scheme," he said. "I think we have some things for him that should fit him well. He’s a tough matchup; he’s a tough matchup vs. guards, he’s a tough matchup vs. some tackles, and I like some of the stuff that they did with him here last year, moved him around a little bit … it’s our job to create matchups for him.”

Even though Schwartz loves to discuss the details that make his defenses succeed, he understands it’s his job to clearly teach his schemes so that his players are able to react and, of course, attack, instead of thinking excessively on the field.

“We want to put guys in good positions, communicate well, play what fits them, all those things are important to us,” he said. “We’re not trying to set a record for being difficult.”