When Sixteen Is Anything But Sweet

Sixteen is usually a pretty sweet number, an indication that growing up is just around the corner, a time to get a driver’s permit or time for a great birthday party.

In football, the number 16 is anything but sweet because that’s the number, despite all of the offensive weapons Temple football has, that Logan Marchi has put up in each of the last two weeks as Temple’s quarterback.

It’s the quarterback’s job to turn the scoreboard into an adding machine and 16 points in each of the last two games does not cut it now and will not cut it going forward.


Matt Rhule with Anthony Russo.

The audition is over. Logan Marchi is just OK in my opinion with a limited ceiling and we have seen that ceiling. It’s a 16-point ceiling with 48-point talent around him. It’s not getting any higher nor is he getting any taller.

It’s time for Anthony Russo to take over.

Russo, in my mind, is the perfect quarterback for this offense and he’s got a high ceiling.

He’s tall enough to see the field and has a big enough arm to make all of the throws.


Our post-game ND analysis called for a quick QB change should the Owls struggle to put points on the board against Nova. Freaking Lehigh put 35 points up on Nova. It’s the quarterback’s job to put points on the scoreboard.

One play stood out in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 16-13 win over Villanova with the Owls having a third-and-four. Logan Marchi stepped into the pocket and threw a pass that may or may not have been complete but we will never know because the pass was blocked at the line of scrimmage.


Les Miles with Anthony Russo.

That’s going to happen when you have a small guy with an average arm.

The Owls have NFL-quality wide receivers in Adonis Jennings, Ventell Bryant, Keith Kirkwood and  Isaiah Wright. They need someone who has a big arm, is tall and can make all of the throws.

Russo is that guy.

On the day Anthony Russo committed to Temple, he received a visit in the cafeteria at Archbishop Wood from then LSU head coach Les Miles. All Russo had to do was make an official visit to LSU and he would have a scholarship. Anthony, being a man of his word, said that he had given it to then head coach Matt Rhule. He previously de-committed from another Power 5 school, Rutgers, to play in his hometown. Coaches like Miles don’t hop on their private jet from Baton Rouge to fly to Warminster without wanting to close the deal. Miles, Matt Rhule and Rutgers all saw big-time in Russo. For some reason, maybe it’s because he’s Matt’s recruit, Collins does not want to give Russo a fair shot. At least that’s my opinion. I saw Russo play many times in big games. He’s fearless and he’s a winner.

Russo is a big-time quarterback, a state champion who tossed 35 touchdown passes in his senior year of high school. The Owls need a guy who can throw touchdown passes, and not just move the offense to get field goals.

They need to go to No. 15 to get over that 16-point ceiling they seem to be stuck on this season.

Or they can score 16 points against UMass and hope the defense delivers again.

To me, that’s a pretty sour option when they have a sweet arm on the bench.

The Owls should be turning these scoreboards into adding machines with that talent and 16 points in each of the first two games is squandering their weapons. The Owls have nothing to lose by giving a proven winner a shot.

Monday: Fizzy’s Corner

Tuesday: What Happened to Mayhem?

Thursday: UMass Preview



27 thoughts on “When Sixteen Is Anything But Sweet

  1. I too am shocked at our offensive (lack of) production. I expected a small double digit win, but not a squeaker. I am also appalled at how Collins viewed Marchi’s performance as acceptable.

    The only thing about Marchi that has surprised me is that he still hasn’t thrown an INT.

    Also… should we be worried about the Armstead injury b/c all of our tailbacks suck unless we utilize Isaiah Wright.

    • Gardner had a couple of nice runs but you are absolutely right (Wright?) about Wright. Rhule said last year that Wright would be a dynamic running back and we should give that theory a test against UMass so as to get him more touches. Every time Wright touches the ball, good things happen.

      • bottom line up front – we are not a very good football team right now…, easy to blame the QB but there is a reason why the coaches picked him to be the starter..,

        CC needs to do the hard thing right now.., give the underclassmen all the experience they can get…., only play seniors who have an outside shot at playing on Sundays..,

        Hawaii beat UMASS and so should we.., there is an outside chance the USF game will be moved to the Linc, bad news is USF is probably better than ND

      • You’re joking . Right ?
        Gardner had 4 carries for 18 yards yesterday .

      • That’s over 4 yards a carry, not great but positive yardage. Give the ball to him three straight times at that pace and he gets 12. Theoretically, never have to punt. Unfortunately, the theory never jives with reality but I like Gardner a lot and wish they would use him more. If Armstead injury makes Wright a running back, though, watch out. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands and has a better ability to make people miss than Ryquell does.

      • True Gardner had 4 carries for 18 yards . But his longest was for 14 yards. That means his other carries were for 2 yards or less.

        Agree about Wright . He has the potential be an 1st team AAC player

  2. Great game. Villanova is a great team that hides in the FCS. I can’t think of any other major city with a better rivalry, except USC vs UCLA. Boomer drilled a game winning 49 yarder, which was unprecedented. This matchup is a lot more fun than DE ST or STNYB. Can’t criticize anyone at this early stage. Beat UMass..

    • Lehigh scored 35 points on that team. Lehigh lost to Monmouth. Villanova is not a “great” team and Temple is not getting anywhere near what it needs from a tailback who scored 14 touchdowns and had nearly 1,000 yards last year, the best fullback in the country and the best and deepest wide receiver corps the Owls have ever had. That’s on the OC and the quarterback and, ultimately, Collins, who has to make a change in the QB position.

  3. The defense will be ok but Mayhem is a mrketing gimmick so far. IMO, the biggest problem is OC. He cant call a game. I think they had 3rd and 4 or 5 about 6 times and ran the ball at least 4 of them. They disnt gain more than a yard on any of them. 3rd and 4 or 5 shoukd nit be running situations. In fact, on the second drive, he lined up in I formation on 2nd and 3rd down and ran the ball up the middle. This line has not proven they can run block at all. All I hear is about these great WR’s. Why not use them? Every other OC can put a formation together to get the matchup they want, yet we are running up the middle?

    Also think it is time to give somebody else a shot at QB. Marchi has been ok, but he just makes bad decisions. Im amazed he has not been picked off yet.

    • We are way too gimmickery (?) and not fundamentally sound enough. Three offsides in the FIRST quarter? You’ve got to be kidding me. Where is the defensive discipline? Watch the ball, don’t listen to the cadence. A good OC sees that Villanova can’t hang with any of the wide receivers and makes a halftime adjustment to checkmate them. Agree on the 3d and 5 comment. It’s not a running down. Do not like to see the talent of the best wide receiver Temple group in my lifetime squandered because we either can’t or unwilling to let them use that talent to dominate games.

  4. I hear movement


  5. How Temple won that game is a mystery. Thank goodness the Villanova’s quick passes the immediate sidelines , the quick outs, were poorly done.
    Otherwise we would be toast. I sit near some TU Football alums and one guy was making some fun by saying, ‘ the boys are saying, ‘ coach what do we do what do we do ? ‘ ‘ . That’s how we saw the defense, especially the secondary which let so many open V receivers all over the place, not just the middle.
    Just Lost in Space ; Warning Warning !!!!

  6. I saw something really disturbing this morning while watching CSN. I saw the HC shaking every players hand coming back into the locker room. He is trying desperately to keep his team’s confidence…..in essence, he is trying to buy votes.
    The players have figured out in the last 2 games that they are not being put in a position to be successful, you can see the uncertainty and doubt in their play. Bad place to be, trust me, I’ve seen it before. Spent a couple years under Jerry Berndt, a 2 bit politician disguised as a football coach.

    • Brian is one of the toughest linebackers from the Bruce Arians’ Era who was sentenced to life under Jerry Berndt for his final two years at Temple. After Notre Dame, I compared Collins to “Daz 2.0.” After reading Brian’s comment and watching the Villanova debacle (a win, but nonetheless a debacle), I’m starting to think this is closer to Berndt 2.0. Collins has time to fix this. He’s got to take over the defense (HC and DC), move Taver Johnson to a harmless position, like coach of the fullbacks and make a change in quarterback to the Philadelphia version of Josh Rosen.

  7. On the bright side, Baylor lost again to the UTSA Roaderunners . Who the hell are the Roadrunners ????

    Sucks to be Matt Rhule.

  8. The OC makes Satterfield look like Bill Belichik (sic-too lazy to look it up). Why did they change a thing when the offense last two years worked so well and most of the same guys are back. Marchi is pedestrian and is being asked to run a spread read option and he never runs the ball. Yesterday he couldn’t outrun a d-lineman yesterday so it’s clear that he does not have that skill. I was very afraid when I heard they were going to run a read option-spread offense and my fear has become manifest. Nova gives up 35 to a horrendous team and TU scores 3 field goals and a single td. Give me a break. On defense the only mayhem is in the coach’s box because kids are always out of position. We were told that the d-backs all were future pros. They aren’t playing like it and that’s coaching. Collins made a big deal about playing kids both ways. Isn’t it about time that Sharga play linebacker? He may be the best lb on the team and the three they have are not getting it done. Gonna be a long season.

    • When the book is written on the Collins’ Era at Temple, it will be entitled “Mayhem in the Coaching Box.” Patenaude coached from the box last week and coached from the field this week. Both produced the same 16 points. Since ND was a far better team than Nova, maybe it’s time to put him back in the box.

  9. I agree with you 100% regarding Russo but think there is 0% chance Collins will make that move. After 2 games, neither the Offense or Defense is inspiring any confidence. Talent is there, so COACHING has to be blamed. If Rhule is still communicating with our head coach,, would Collins even take his advice to start Russo? As I have said on this Board before, if Russo is buried on the depth chart and becomes discouraged, I think he will transfer to another program at end of season. Big loss for Temple, if that happens. I know it is very early but based on Collins’ performance after 2 games, would rather lose him than Russo!

    • Mark my words. Russo will have plenty of opportunities to transfer at the end of this season to FBS programs and not FCS ones. If he’s on TV throwing a zillion touchdown passes for LSU and we’re stuck here watching that on ABC with Mr. Mayhem, there will be a lot of pissed offTemple fans.

  10. Sometimes these coordinators need to be saved from themselves. I’ll give them credit for sticking with what they believe, but when it doesn’t work something needs to be changed.
    As a young Owl, playing against Navy in ’88, I saw Tony Demeo get fired by BA at halftime. Tony came in the locker room cheerleading after a terrible first half and BA had seen enough, sent him on a slow bus home. Never saw him again. BA took over the offense at half, scrapped Tony Demeo’s stuff….asked Matty Baker and Tony Lero if they remembered the old calls and off we went to salvage a win.

  11. the OL has the talent to better than last year.., play to your strengths, 3 step drop and get the ball to WRs in space…, then run the football in the alleys…..,

    the QB situation is a real issue wrapped in talent challenged drama..,

    as I’ve said several time on this board both coordinators are in over their heads.., CC must do early what Taggart did late at USF, fire both of them

  12. On the bright side, if there is one: we were expected to be…. 1 and 1 at this point. And we are 1 and 1. So, there’s that. But….

    Many things I don’t get, Mike:

    I am not as knowledgeable as you and many of your commenters are (serious, not facetious), but lots of early analysis seems so wrong. What I heard vs. reality:

    >> We’re a punishing running team. Reality: can’t run much.
    >> The secondary is our strong suit — veteran and solid. Reality: QB’s, including Villanova’s, are making mincemeat of our secondary. Some enemy receivers are shockingly wide open.
    >> We have a multiplicity of QBs and may use 3 or 4 or 12 of them. Reality: Only Marchi. ??

    One more thing I don’t get: why does the OC love these plays — you guys would know the technical term for them — where the QB quickly fires the ball out to a WR near the sideline who has held his spot or even stepped back — and then tries to run. It’s a long throw; it takes so long to develop that by the time the WR has caught it, defenders are all over him.

    Lastly: give Isaiah Wright the ball 40 times.


  13. Ok given the number of folks who post here and who have played at this level and/or have had closer contact with coaches, players, etc then I’ve had as a fan in the stands what your assessment of Marchi is. The reason I ask is that there seems to be contingent on the FB fan page that keep talking about his rocket arm. I just don’t see it. Marchi seems to be a game manager type, keeps his cool in the pocket and doesn’t make mistakes that cost you a game. He seems to be good on the short, intermediate routes but really can’t stretch the field with his arm especially with the receivers this team. Also as John Belli said not a good enough runner for a read option offense. Bottom line he doesn’t strike me as “franchise” qb

  14. Bottom line is that TU has worked too hard to make the football team respectable to have it destroyed by someone who clearly is not ready to be a head coach given who he hired as his main strategists. All Collins has to do is look at TU’s recent history under Rhule to see that running this offense with these kids is like putting a square peg in a round hole. Go to either an I or split back pro type offense and let the kids beat people up like they have the last two seasons. Fact is that Armstead is a north-south runner and they have him trying to go outside or run off center. When they ran dive plays three or four times when they had third and more than four yards, I immediately knew the OC was clueless given the receivers he has. Has he ever heard of slant passes or play action passes? No, he runs dive plays. I was immediately taken back to Addazio’s play calling against Rutgers when he almost got Chris Coyer killed. I saw Coyer yesterday and I was kidding him that the play calling must be giving him flashbacks and he laughingly agreed. It’s vitally important that the Owls remain respectable in advance of the expiration of the tv contract because after the Rutgers and until this season Maryland’s (so far) history in the Big Ten, conferences are not going to take charity cases. TU already blew that opportunity when it was in the Big East. If they don’t score at least 4 tds Saturday, they will be lucky to win five games this year because it will be a sign that th coaches do not know what they’re doing. .

    • Absolutely right John…..after all of the work to get the recent successes you can’t go back wards now…..and that’s what I see.

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