5 Things We’d Like To See By Opening Night


T for Temple U.

The incoming freshmen already have started to come into Temple University, and soon real practice will begin for the Labor Day weekend game against Army. Here are five things we’d like to see by that night:

  1. Anthony Russo Entrenched At No. 2

Let’s face it: Anthony Russo is, to borrow a political phrase, the presumptive nominee as starting quarterback at Notre Dame in the 2017 opener. The transition from P.J. Walker to Russo will go a lot more seamlessly if Russo gets a lot of snaps in 2016 blowout wins and is allowed to air it out this fall.


  1. Karamo Dioubate and Greg Webb Starting At DT

The Owls have an overabundance of playmaking defensive ends and are somewhat light in the middle. If Dioubate and Webb get squared away in the four weeks prior to Army, they will provide lock-down run-stopping skills up the middle flanking nose guard Averee Robinson and just enough push up the middle to collapse the pocket. Otherwise, the Owls will have to lean on converted defensive ends at tackle.


  1. Jahad Thomas At Slot

This will accomplish several important objectives. One, to give P.J. Walker a symbiotic partner with whom he can trust to get the deep ball. Two, it will allow future stars Jager Gardner or Ryquell Armstead to emerge as a Thomas-level first-team All-AAC running back. Three, it will add another edge threat that the Owls do not seem to currently have.


  1. Sean Chandler At Free Safety

Chandler has been handcuffed by playing at corner because he has break-on-the-ball instincts. Playing Chandler at the corner is a little like playing Willie Mays in his prime in left field. You want a guy who can close on the ball that quickly in the middle of the field jumping routes. This can only be done if guys like Nate Hairston, Artrel Foster and Kareem Ali Jr. step up and start at the corners. That scenario seems more likely every day.

  1. Killing The Dog Stare

One of the benefits of having a four-year starter at quarterback like Walker should be he has the playbook memorized from front to back, back to front, is able to recognize a defense in his sleep and can call four plays in a row when needed  to get the job done. The Owls cannot afford a scenario like last year’s AAC title game when, down 24-13 to start the fourth quarter, they continually wasted 20-25 seconds staring over at the sidelines for a play. They did not have that time to waste, but waste it they did. That was like watching a slow and painful death. That dog needs to be put to sleep.

Wednesday: Help Is On The Way

Thursday: A 10-Day Summer Hiatus

Monday, July 11: We’re Back


9 thoughts on “5 Things We’d Like To See By Opening Night

  1. Thomas promised an end to the dog stare..

    look for one of the incoming freshman to get playing time over Ali at corner, Ali will play in the nickel packages.., Chandler will stay at safety

    think it will start in the backfield like we finished the season, JT will be the starting RB.., JT will also return punts and/or kick-offs

    DT is where I disagree with the coaches, coaches want our DTs to play around 270-290, ER claims the AAC is a three step drop back league and he prefers quickness over bulk. The problem is that quickness wears out in the 4th quarter and teams shove the ball down your throat and kill the clock.., the USF and Toledo games are great examples.., Robinson is not counting on Diuobate and the unspoken plan is to redshirt him unless he plays his ass off this summer

    Best man plays.., Nutile has a huge experience advantage over Russo who I expect will be wearing a redshirt this season

    • “The problem is that quickness wears out in the 4th quarter and teams shove the ball down your throat and kill the clock..,”
      Bingo. I hope we don’t fall into that trap. You can collapse the pocket from the middle just as well as the outside if you got high-end talent like KO and GW.
      As far as Russo, the last time Nutile (really) played in a real game was 2013. (Not counting Tulane last year, where he basically handed off.). Then he threw for 18 touchdowns and 1,347 yards. Russo also played top-notch high school competition and threw for 35 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards. The question here is that does Russo’s lack of rust and superior performance trump the fact that Nutile has been here for 2 years? I think it does. Time will tell. (Sorry for using the word Trump in that last sentence.)

      • Another point. Everybody is worried about burning Russo’s redshirt. I think if the kid is ready and he’s a better No. 2 than anyone you have, you burn it without qualms. Matt has proven he can, unlike Al Golden, identify and recruit QBs. Amazing when you think it was Daz who recruited P.J.

      • Moving one of the most dynamic players in the entire league to the slot is ridiculous. They are running a multiple pro-style offense with multiple personnel groupings. Last season they used 10, 11, 12, 20, 21, and 22 personnel groupings.

        If they were strictly a four/five wide receiver personnel team, then obviously he would be great in the slot to create matchup problems. You need an athletic quarterback who can run the ball and looks to break the pocket immediately. When you run a pro-style offense you need a stud tailback which is exactly what Thomas is. Incorporating more misdirection in the run game (i.e.- counter, counter jab, windback, power jab, split flow draw along with some hardball isolation out of 20 personnel would also create seams for JT to hit the three way go.

        Last season they were predominantly zone scheme based which is great stuff, but with JT and the other backs you mentioned additional schemes will only enhance the run game.
        In addition, the added run game will only make the play action pass game more effective which plays into PJ’s strength.

        As far as Nutile/Russo go, again when you are multiple pro-style offense the quarterback has responsibilities that are foreign to HS quarterbacks. Checking protections, check with me, four way go’s, recognitions, techniques, coverage, blitz packages, etc…etc…etc… Nothing allows a quarterback to get better at this stuff than seeing it every day at the highest level (Spring Ball, practice, 1 on 1, 7 on 7, 9 on 9, 11 on 11, inside drill, etc…)

        To discard Nutile’s experience is a mistake; he has practiced against guys who have moved on to the next level. You cannot put a price on that; I thought the kid looked sharp in the Tulane game, he threw a TD pass and stuck some good balls on receivers. He has also beat out four other quarterbacks along the way to cement himself as the No. 2 guy.

        To compare HS football experience to Division I football practice is a mistake. The next level is the next level, whether its going from HS to College, or College to the NFL. Nutile played at Don Bosco and played against St. Thomas Aquinas, Miami Central, Paramus Catholic, Bergen Catholic, St. Joe’s, etc… and as competitive as that was, nothing is like lining up against TM, MI, and the rest of Temple’s defense … everyday in practice.

    • There should be an early signing period. Hard to get excited over verbals when there is so much changing of minds. Back in the day, a kid made a commitment and stuck with it. You rarely saw a kid commit to Temple and then back out. Recruiting is a circus now.

      • From what I understand, the majority of the coaches are against that because of the injury factor. It would make life simpler but would be unfair to the kid who grows up his senior year.

  2. BTW Mike, I think we all know the difference between trump and Trump, lol. Thanks for the video John of Beander. He’s got some moves and speed burst but got caught from behind a couple times.

  3. With such an easy schedule this season, seems like not redshirting Russo would be ok only if he can get a lot of playing time for the experience. Otherwise Nutile would probably fill in fine, with easier competition, if PJ gets hurt. Guess I’m for saving Russo.

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