Frank Nutile: Only One Play Away

Hopefully, the Owls can get Frank some mop-up duty in a 49-14 win at Penn State.

On the list of things a head coach has to worry about between the time that spring football ends and summer camp begins is backup quarterback but when the subject is Temple football and the head coach is Matt Rhule that item has to be thumbtacked at the top of the list.

It appears as though Frank Nutile, a former star at Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey, has won the job but that should not stop Rhule from biting his fingernails until August. Nutile clearly looked better than the other backup hopeful, Logan Marchi, but facts are facts and the facts are that neither quarterback has any experience to speak of playing in a real game.


Frank on his signing day.

The stats show Nutile (pronounced NEW TILE) completed one pass for four yards in a 49-14 win over visiting Tulane. Since it was a rollout designed to get him away from pressure, there was not much to tell from that appearance. More telling was the fact that the coaching staff kept starter P.J. Walker in for 99.9 percent of the other plays in a 14-game season, an indication that the staff was addicted to the comfort level a four-year starter like Walker provides.  Remember, Walker played four games with a separated left shoulder and that would not have been possible had the cheap shot hit in the PSU game come on his right shoulder.

Walker has been someone the Owls could count on the last four years but that, like everything in college football, is subject to change.

The Owls are going to have to wean themselves off that formula this year and one way is for the staff to work more playing time in for Nutile in the opener against Army and the second game against Stony Brook. If things go as expected, the Owls should have a comfortable lead in the first game and a larger one than that in the second game, and having a guy like Nutile shake off the rust in those games can only increase the comfort level in later ones.

The closest the Owls could get to real football was the spring game when redshirt sophomore Nutile threw a touchdown pass. It should have been enough to get him some more time in the fall. If not, the Owls will be forced to burn the redshirt of three-star recruit Anthony Russo and they do not want to do that.

If they have to, though, they should and they will.

Friday: Stadium Stompers and Dust Devils

Sunday: What The NFL Draft Means for Temple



15 thoughts on “Frank Nutile: Only One Play Away

  1. The Owls are in the enviable and unusual position of having a strong QB pipeline on paper. Unfortunately as we all know the game isn’t played on paper but rather on a field with 300 pound young men creating chaos all around QBs. After a rather dark period under center Temple was fortunate to recruit and develop PJ Walker into easily the best QB since at least ADM.

    We’re now at the precipice of his senior season without any type of battle tested backup. It may be Frank Nutile is the second coming of Steve Young but I do have concerns that the coaches never felt comfortable putting him into games even for mop up duty. Russo and the other 3* QB recruit certainly come with nice high school resumes but the college game is played at a different speed and for the Owls to compete they need to have a stud QB.

    I hope we’re able to get the kind of leads in our two openers that allow Matt to put some backups on the field and I hope Nutile rises to the occasion. I’m a bit concerned we’re expecting PJW to go through another season without missing time to injury which would be something of a miracle in this day and age.

    • Hardin used to like to rotate a qb in on one series a half just so that he would be ready. Joachim, who was Maxwell Award-winner as college football player of the year, had capable backups who played 10-15 percent of the downs. Not a 2-qb system, but more as an insurance policy.

  2. Shouldn’t OC Thomas have predetermined packages for Nutile or Marchi if their numbers get called? Good coaches should be better prepared than the previous OC.

    • You would think. I’ll just settle for ditching the dog stare. Gruden on his show praised the QBs who did not have to look to the sidelines to call the play. They’ve got to trust a four-year starter to make the right audibles.

    • Prior OC was a stiff who needed coach Rhule to tell him to ditch the spread and when to go to the bathroom. I’m forever grateful to the vo-tech program in the hills that took him off our hands. I’m still had pressed to believe the reason PJW wasn’t allowed to make play calls was more a funtion of coaching dysfunctionality then his personal development.

      I like the approach Mike outlined that was used by coach Hardin. I would love to see a similar system implemented for this squad.

  3. I remember Lee Saltz coming in for an injured Tim Riordan against PSU back in the day. Saltz went deep for a TD. I think Thomas should have some scripted plays for Nutile and Marchi to build familiarity and boost confidence the minute they come on the field.

    • Did he hit Willie Marshall?

    • Matt’s really too nice a guy. We had a 49-14 lead on Tulane and that would have been the perfect time to get Frank some intermediate throws but he had him handing off. I would have went all Nick Saban on Tulane and had Frank throw bombs. To me, if you are bad enough to lose, 49-14, that’s on you and the winning team has got to do what they need to do to get the backups ready. I thank God P.J. did not get hurt because that would have been a massive dropoff. Army and Stony Brook, the backups have to be out there and not to hand the ball off.

      • Just curious Mike, who would you rate as the Owls top-5 quarterbacks of the past thirty years (including Riordan)?

  4. 30 years would remove Maxwell Award winner Steve Joachim from the equation, who was my all-time No. 1. Most people would say Henry Burris, but because he lost so much at Temple, can’t put him No. 1. Brian Broomell would be 1, followed by Adam DiMichele (who took us from 20-game losing streak to respectability), Henry, Tim Riordan and Matty Baker. This is just for what they did at Temple and ignoring what they did post-Temple.

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