5 Takeaways From The Spring Game

A great moment for Temple football.

One of these days someone at the Philadelphia headquarters of Comcast is going to wise up about the Temple football spring game.

On Page 39 of Saturday’s Philadelphia Daily News, Notre Dame’s spring game was listed at 12:30 live on NBC Sports Network. Thumb down a little further at 3 p.m. and you can find the Penn State spring game live on BTN. Go down a little more and you can find the Rutgers’ spring game at 5 on the same network.

Matt Rhule stunted the
development of the program
in two ways, I think,
last year. One, was rather
obvious. Temple blew out
seven teams but P.J. Walker
played, for all practical
purposes, all of the downs.
Why, in God’s name, did Marchi
or Nutile not get significant
throws in those wins?

Yes, Rutgers, a football program that even sucks at cheating.

Meanwhile, at noon, when the Temple football spring game was kicking off the Philadelphia CSN channel was showing a Poker tournament.


I guess the AAC will have to get their own network for the Temple spring game to ever be broadcast because Comcast figured Poker would have higher ratings in the nation’s fourth-largest market.

As the old Peter, Paul and Mary Song says, “When will they ever learn?”

Ironically, the best place to watch the Temple spring game on Saturday was on TV, roughly at 11th and Diamond. I tried going inside and standing on the back row of one of the stands. Between ducking under the umbrellas raised below me in an annoying persistent rain to see the plays, I gave up at halftime and watched on a big screen TV just outside Lot 10. (Greatness Doesn’t Quit beat Temple TUFF, 17-14.)

You could learn a lot watching that way and these were our five biggest takeaways:


Todd Centeio Is The Most Talented Quarterback In the Program

That doesn’t mean the true freshman should start, but it does give me a lot of confidence in the future. The kid has the “It” factor that I’m not sure all of the other three guys have, but he could certainly benefit from a redshirt year where he gets to spend a lot of time in two rooms—the weight room and the film room. I hope new head coach Geoff Collins doesn’t make the same mistake old coach Matt Rhule made with P.J.—burning the redshirt when Rhule had a perfectly good quarterback in Chris Coyer to hold down the fort. P.J. would have been starting at ND this fall in a more perfect world.


Frankie Juice is a Great Nickname

Frank Nutile (pronounced New Tile) had a nice game with a touchdown pass and a touchdown run, but I don’t think that separated him from either Logan Marchi or Anthony Russo. In fact, of the three, Russo’s 7-for-11 day was probably the best passing day and, if I were a betting man, I would put five bucks on Russo starting the Notre Dame game. All three players have a ways to go and that’s why I would not put 20 bucks on it. I wonder if Collins giving Nutile a sweet nickname (Frankie Juice) puts him ahead of everyone else in Collins’ eyes? We will find out by the first Saturday in September, but I would have liked to see one guy come away with a 25-for-32 day with 319 yards and three touchdowns.  That did not happen.


Jager Gardner is The Real Deal

Matt Rhule stunted the development of the program in two ways, I think, last year. One, was rather obvious. Temple blew out seven teams but P.J. Walker played, for all practical purposes, all of the downs. Why, in God’s name, did Marchi or Nutile not get significant throws in those wins? Probably for the same reason Gardner did not get a redshirt. Rhule knew he was outta here and used all of his available chips and overplayed the starters, thinking short-term, not long-term. Gardner getting only 27 carries all of last year was a complete joke and a wasted redshirt. Gardner will have a great year this year, as will Ryquell Armstead.

The Defense Will Be Great

Last year, “they” (pretty much the misinformed outside fans who don’t know anything about Temple football) said the Owls would take a step back due to losing three NFL draftees in Tyler Matakevich, Matt Ioannidis and Tavon Young. Those of us closer to the program knew better, said so beforehand, and were proven to be right. This year, the Temple defense, which has a single digit guy (Jacob Martin) starting at one DE and perhaps one of the best playmakers in Temple football history (Sharif Finch, five blocked punts, crucial interception against Christian Hackenberg) starting another, will be better if Taver Johnson can be the DC that Phil Snow was. The interior line is terrific (Michael Dogbe, Freddy Booth-Lloyd, Greg Webb and Karamo Dioubate) and will cause a lot of Mayhem this season. Cornerback Mike Jones went from being called the “late-round steal of the 2017 NFL draft” by Mike Mayock to Temple starter. Good move by Jones, who had an interception and a fumble recovery, and could move up to the third round or better in the 2018 NFL draft with a great year at Temple.


Somebody get Collins a hat with a Temple ‘][‘ on it.

Who Will Be Punting?

For the first time in Cherry and White Game history, I never saw a punt return, a punt or a kickoff return. The last time I checked, you’ve got to do all of those things in a “real” game and it would have been nice for the kids to do that before the 4,000 or so fans who attended in the rain on Saturday. I suppose they will do it in the summer before nobody, then try it again before 80,000 at Notre Dame but that sets them up for a shellshock moment. Never forget Jim Cooper Jr., who never survived his opener at Notre Dame.

In short, unlike superfan Ted DeLapp, I’m not confident in winning at Notre Dame. However, I am very confident in this team kicking the living crap out of Villanova the next week and that will be the jump-start to anything from a 7-10-win season.

Hopefully, that’s good enough for a championship and a bowl win. Those two things might get next year’s spring game on TV.

Anything short and we’re looking at a lot of Poker faces.

Wednesday: Cherry and White Slideshow

Friday: The Temple NFL Draft

Monday: Poker Chips


12 thoughts on “5 Takeaways From The Spring Game

  1. The 2017 Owls will go as far as the QB and line takes them. Can’t tell much from the this glorified scrimmage.

  2. I personally, and respectfully, think it’s an unwarranted cheap shot at Rhule to suggest that he would be that selfish in the usage of the players for his own benefit.

    • I personally and respectfully do not think it was an unwarranted “cheap shot” at Rhule. First off, a back who gets 27 carries over a 14-game season should be redshirted, period, end of story. They obviously made the decision early that they were going to Armstead and Jahad, which was fine, but then put a redshirt on Jager. Second, big-time programs play their backup quarterbacks in blowouts and have them throw all over the lot. Third, got to wonder what the “motivation” of Rhule was to not do either and it is logical that a guy who interviewed at Missouri last year was looking to get out this year. What did he care if Jager got a redshirt or P.J. played all of the downs? Saint Matt should not be immune to criticism. I think a Temple coach should look after BOTH the long-term and short-term future of the program and burning redshirts and the like was a very Daz-like thing to do. I called Daz out on it (Ioannidis could have played in 2016 if he didn’t play 5 plays in one of Daz’s years.) If Collins burns all the redshirts, we can pretty much guess what his motivation is as well.

      • Agree wholeheartedly with you Mike. I was perplexed last season when Gardner went in because he hadn’t played since September and by inserting him Rhule burned his redshirt. Missed the fact that Rhule was tipping his hand that he was leaving by playing Gardner because it meant that he didn’t care about the future of TU football. It was all about “now.” Had he not already decided to leave it’s pretty clear that Gardner would not have played.

      • Say what you will about Golden, but he kept his word about “building a house of brick, not straw” and he always recruited a full team (good classes, unlike this one) and redshirted at least 10 guys each year. Daz burned red shirts like he was throwing hand grenades over his shoulder into the E-O and Rhule kept to the Golden philosophy his first two years. After the interview with Missouri last year, all bets were off.

  3. Frankie Juice is a great nickname, designed to boost his confidence and inspire others to start believing in the guy…,

    Centeio gained tons of confidence this Spring., he will be bigger, stronger, and smarter when practice starts again.., watch out

    Biggest surprise is there appears to be very little separation between the four of them…, we’ll know by the end of September if that is a good thing or a bad thing….

  4. Not worried about the QB situation, since the O Line, RBs & Receivers look solid . Temple offense will be centered around the run first, and the passing game will develop. They will have another Temple Tuff Defense next year.

    Walker was a true freshman QB, when he became the starter. Turned out had a great career for the Owls.

    Lets hope they come out of that ND game healthy. Its going to set the tone for the rest of the season.

  5. Hope springs eternal, and Ted may be right about the ND game. “May you get all your wishes but one, so you always have something to strive for.” – Old Irish Saying.

    • Yeah, but it’s an Irish saying.
      They recruit in a whole different stratosphere than us. We can play our asses off and have a five-star quarterback (Kizer) beat us with a throw to a four-star receiver (Fuller), who is covered by a walk-on safety (Will Hayes). That’s what we’re facing in September. Not saying we can’t win, but we will have to play a perfect game. They won’t.

      • You’re right. ND has money, millions of lion-bill-brown-eagle-like loyal fans, and a TV network. ND had Rudy, but Temple has Reddick, Dirty Red, Mo Wilkerson. The The Gipper didn’t have enough sense to come in out of the cold.

  6. Zach Mesday does not get enough ‘love’ , care to comment on his development/improvement now that he has healed?

    • He will get enough love if he earns his way onto the first team of the depth chart. I don’t think we will see a depth chart until September, though, from what I’ve been hearing about the way Collins feels about DCs.

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