Missing In Action


Arguably, there were a lot of valuable players on the 2016 AAC championship team but, if you were to take a super secret vote of the players, it might have come down to two.

P.J. Walker or Nick Sharga.

Frankly, I don’t know who would have won and it would not have surprised me if Sharga did.

That’s why, even with the euphoria on Saturday of watching my beloved Temple Owls finally play like the team I thought they were before the season started, there was a tinge a sadness in that the best fullback in the country was limited to largely a special teams’ role.

If the full potential of the Owls are going to be realized, then the talents of the most valuable player on a Power 6 championship team should be maximized, not minimized, going forward.

Imagine this scenario, for instance.

David Hood’s hands on the back of Sharga as the fullback pancakes one linebacker on the way to a big gain. Over and over again. Then he does the same for Rob Ritrovano, whose “Nitro” nickname might be the best Temple football moniker since Gerald “Sweet Feet” Lucear.

This pile does not begin to move until Sharga takes charge. 

Then, if Ryquell Armstead’s recovery takes a little longer than expected, Sharga leading the way for Isaiah Wright on little swing passes out the backfield as a counter to blitzes on quarterback Logan Marchi.

All of these things open up options for the best group of wide receivers I’ve ever seen at Temple—Ventell Bryant, Keith Kirkwood, Marshall Ellick, Adonis Jennings and Brodrik Yancy.

Sharga’s just another weapon in what would be a nuclear arsenal and plugging him back in there on every down adds megatonage for every other weapon.

When I was introduced to Geoff Collins at the season-ticket holder party, I asked him to do me one favor.

“What is it?” Collins asked.

“Never take Nick Sharga off the field,” I said. “At least on offense. He’s not only the best fullback in the country, he’s the best blocker in the country and that includes offensive linemen. He’s probably also your best linebacker.”

“Don’t worry,” Collins said. “I won’t. We’re going to be using him even more this season.”

That promise was not kept on Saturday.

Keeping it in the final six games could be the difference between greatness and mediocrity.

Thursday: A Throwback


15 thoughts on “Missing In Action

  1. Another head scratcher, is he dinged up? If he is not injured why is he not on the field…another one of life’s mysteries.

    • Not dinged up. Was first guy down on field on every punt and kickoff. If he didn’t make the tackle, he redirected the ball carrier into a tackle. Another example of Patenaude being brain dead not to use this wonderful weapon and Collins allowing him to run amok. Collins should really put his foot down here, but I think he is allowing Patenaude too much latitude.

      • As I posted on OwlsDaily, Collins & Patenaude are reminiscent of Bush & Chaney. There’s no other explanation as to why he is essentially letting him run amok.

        ….Thou it was SO very satisfying to see him banished to his “room” last Sat! {the press box}. Maybe Daddy will let him come out when he learns to play better. {with the players as well as his play calling!}

      • Although Dr. Kraft did not tell me specifically, I have a feeling that Pat had a lot to do with banishing Patenaude up to the press box. He told me he was very unhappy with that sideline display at USF and left it at that. Something tells me he and Collins had a talk about it.

  2. The OC doesn’t need him….look what his calls produced against that ECU defensive juggernaut.

  3. Mike, are you able to be a part of the Tuesday media meetings? Can you get in there with some questions? Just wondering?

    • No, they don’t let blogging sites ask questions. We’re one step below Pravda (Owlscoop), which does ask questions. Shawn Pastorini’s superior site, OwlsDaily, also gets to ask them and I feed Shawn some questions from time to time which he gracefully considers asking for me.

  4. Hyno was also a well nicknamed fullback.

    “Pounding rock” against ECU and UConn? Nope. The Shargattack (another nickname) is well-established. Just microwave 30 seconds and plate it.

    Marchi (nickname tbd) must the master throwing it away or running for sticks when nobody’s open. Nitro needs to read how to blow up defenses like ‘Nick the Brick. ‘

  5. UConn DB’s undersized and all freshman, so passing game should have a good day. Just hope Marchi can be on the mark. I’d expect Edsel will set up blitzes to make Marchi keep his feet moving to affect his accuracy and gamble that Patenaude can’t make adjustments (like putting Sharga in to pass block).

    Sharga must be in same doghouse that Russo is with the OC. At least the special teams coach knows who helps him.

    • the OC is a strange bird.., “my way or the highway type of guy”, which only works when your way is working..,

      too many guys on the highway., Sharga, Russo, Ventel Bryant just to name a few…,

      are we so talented that we can afford to put great players on ice just to satisfy the OC’s ego?

  6. With the running back injuries, shouldn’t Wright be plugged in to help at that position?
    I kind of like it that CC is using different players (ie Ribolato) but not at the expense of Sharga not being played. Also the QB situation is being mishandled.

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