Blind Squirrel Acorn Night

On a night devoted to honoring the greatest Temple football coach in history, Wayne Hardin, the real find was the acorn the blind squirrel found.

The blind squirrel in this case was offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude and the acorn he found was quarterback Frank Nutile, who completed 22 of 30 passes for four touchdowns in a 34-26 win.


Frank Nutile on the day he signed with Temple four years ago.


After Nutile (pronounced NEW TILE), performed admirably in a loss at Army, Patenaude wasn’t ready to anoint Nutile as a starter even though just about every Temple fan felt Frank was a huge improvement over the guy,  Logan Marchi, who started the first seven games.

Now, no matter what Patenaude says in the coach’s conference room, there’s no way head coach Geoff Collins is going back to Marchi now. Patenaude’s past history with Marchi–he recruited him for Coastal Carolina when Marchi was at St. Paul’s (Conn.) High–might have clouded his thinking and cost Temple at least a couple of wins given Nutile’s performances.

At the very least, a Nutile who would have started the Notre Dame game might have developed the kind of confidence needed to beat UConn and Army later on in the season.

Hindsight is 20/20, but the Owls are already behind the eight ball now having to win two of their final three games against league opponents. Patenaude still does some crazy things, like leaving the best fullback in the country on the sidelines when the Owls could have used him to jump-start the running game with 24-6 and 34-13 leads, but this was his best game as OC and that’s not saying much.

It did not have to be this hard and the acorn they were looking for all season did not have to be found in the ninth game but, better late than never.

Sunday: Fizzy’s Corner

Tuesday: Be All You Can Be

Thursday: Cincy Throwback

Friday: Cincinnati Preview

Saturday: Game Analysis


30 thoughts on “Blind Squirrel Acorn Night

  1. Great win by the owls but atill poorly coached.

    1. How many offsides early on?
    2. Nutile played great, except for the last series. How does he snap the ball with 6 seconds and 5 seconds left on the playclock on the last 2 plays? I know it is only 11 seconds, but 11 seconds coukd matter.
    3. Collins has learned nothing from the army game and playing soft defense late with the lead.

    6-6 is not out of the question at this point. Makes me angry that this team should have been 8-4. Army and Uconn should have been easy wins.

    • One thing I’ve noticed which surprised me is that our DBs are pretty bad, and i have no idea how Mike Jones is going to be drafted.

  2. Two comments on great win over navy again.
    QB Frankie Nutile appeared to be great, hope it’s not a lucky game with a lousy navy defense.
    Our defense in the 4th quarter bothered me a lot, a whole lot, especially soft or poor coverages, wide open navy receivers and navy getting beautiful passes from 3rd string QB. Games’ endI looked bad for Temple, and the TV announcers shifted comments over to Navy still in the game at the end.

    • In addition, Temple’s last couple of offensive possessions got way to conservative. Right before Navy’s last TD, 3 dive plays and out where even 1 first down there has a good chance of ending the game.

    • Was glad I was wrong about the outcome but still concerned about defensive backfield. Navy threw 3 td passes against the Owls. If Owls finish the season playing like they did last night, and that’s a big if, they should get six wins. I hope it’s freezing on the 18th because those southern teams hate playing in the cold.

  3. A very well played game – until the end when Temple’s pass D looked bad. Without the big lead, Navy would have won – just like the Army loss. Why do the coaches abandon what was working so well during the rest of the game.

    On a positive note, the rest of the game was really solid play on both sides of the ball – a real improvement . And excuse me for patting myself on the back but I was the only commenter here who actually said Temple had a chance in this game. I wasn’t expecting such a solid game to be sure, but they looked really good, until the end. Temple needs to learn how to make first downs at the end and hang onto the ball. It got nervewracking – again. But a win is a win and now they have a chance to go bowling – but the coaches need to adjust to close these games out better. Bad decisions have cost Temple losses in these close games.

    • Good call John, did not see that coming. I have to agree that things got sketchy late….better learn how to win instead of just trying not to lose….big difference. It still baffles me how these option teams can throw on Temple…they are so uncomfortable with passing that they still go through their ridiculous fakes and turn back, play action protections, etc. When everyone knows they have to throw. Yet, they still keep moving down the field.

    • Jon: You agreed with me on these comments on 10/22, “I think Coach Collins is waking up again this morning “knowing” there were coaching decisions that he would probably re-do against not only Army but I am guessing from the beginning of the year. This should have been a 7 or 8 win season. Collins is coming back next year. His learning curve has been steep without the benefit of experienced Coordinators to help him as a first year HC at this level. I expect to see more “drift” this season to what many of you have suggested in the past. And if they can beat Navy because improved game planning and play calling, they’ll beat Cincinnati and Tulsa. These players are too good to give up on.”

      I’m sticking by those comments and am actually getting encouraged about Coach Collins. He’s learning as are the Coordinators. This is a tough business and loyalties when hiring old coaching buddies or playing kids that you recruited at your prior school (ala Patenaude and Marchi) have to be put to the side. Or else!!!! You’re job hunting. The coaching staff is here until the end of this season.

      In short, it’s Still a steep learning curve for this coaching staff. But I’m still buying in to the players and now Nutile as the kid stepping up to lead them. (Although I’m still frustrated by not having seen Russo get a chance to play before he probably transfers.). But I’m hoping Collins has gotten at least past the midpoint of the learning curve as a D1 HC and they (including the coordinators) improve some each week. At least enough to give these kids a chance to win. Beat Cincinnati and who knows !?!? But excuse me for feeling good again. (And I’d feel even better if we’re at 6-3now which would’ve, could’ve etc.).

      Anyway. CC: The secondary was really confused on a lot of pass plays. Please address that and stupid mental mistake penalties.

  4. Watched a replay of the game and the announcers questioned why the new coaches changed what worked so well on offense the last two years, in a wider discussion about Sharga losing playing time. It’s a question many of us have posed and they really did not have an answer other than to say that it was Collins’ prerogative, as head coach, to do so. They also questioned the choice of Marchi and said that while it’s unfair that he lost his starting job because it got hurt, it’s likely that he will not play again as long as Nutile is healthy. We can only hope. If Marchi does start again and Nutile’s not hurt, the coaches should be fired on the spot.

    • pleasant surprise night indeed! Nutile would be best out of the pro-set, w/Sharga in the game.., the announcers are spot on…, hope springs eternal

      • It’s been my experience that whenever a new manager takes over, he or she immediately makes changes regardless of whether things were running smoothly and whether such changes make things better. That is what occurred here. There is no logical explanation for so radically changing something that worked so well that the team had more wins in two years than they had from 1991 to 2000. There is no excuse for this and its going to lead to at best a .500 record in a year when the Owls should have been again challenging for a division championship given the talent it had returning this season.

      • Fingers crossed that Nutile’s play last night continues! Because it was in stark contrast to how he looked when he was temporarily in the USF game! Regardless, ANYTHING is an improvement over Marchi!

        Really makes one question that “Quarterback competition” B.S. all the more! Plenty of sources claiming Marchi was not out-performing the others in spring & summer trainings. “Patenaude wreaks of fraud!”

        So now that Nutile helped bust that myth, one only hopes that Russo will somehow get his chance as well. Because can you imagine if we’ve been sitting here driving our Honda Civic when we didn’t realize we had a brand new Lamborghini in the garage, hidden under a cloth that your wife keeps telling you is just an old clunker that doesn’t perform very well………

  5. Was anybody else scratching their heads about the play calling on Temple’s first series .

    On the Navy 4 yard line and a David Hood run for no gain , followed by Two incomplete passes. Why wasn’t the ball given to Sharga?

    Instead Temple settles for a FG . WTF !!

  6. Am I missing something or was the game not covered at all by the paper today? I see no mention anywhere of the game in today’s DN.

    Not even the box score. I know the papers have become useless, but no thing?

  7. From Futile to Nutile.

    • Now that was good.

    • Identity? Why the spread? Square peg, Nutile, in a round hole spread? This does not make sense. Why can’t we play to our strengths?

      Temple is best when it runs the pro-set, two back offense. QB under center the majority of the time. Nutile is better than Marchi and would be best out of the pro-set. Is it me?

      The key question is how to we get the very best out of Nutile? What are his strengths and weaknesses? IMHO we can maximize his strengths and minimize his weaknesses by running the pro-set.

      Heck, what do I know from watching TUFB since ’75…,

      Temple to Collins: play the cards you have been dealt

      • KJ, some good points there and given the news I just read could potentially make things interesting. Just posted on the FB page and saw on the Scout board, Kyle Wright decomitted and reopened his recruiting. He and the Lippen HS QB seemed to be a “package” deal and I wonder if this will have any influence on him. Seemed to be the type of QB Patenaude wants for his spread.

      • I wish a commitment really meant a commitment. As long as there is a P5/G5 schism, this is another way for The Man (P5) to keep us down. They will allow the G5 staffs to do the serious film study and legwork needed to recruit these guys, and then swoop in and pick and chose the best of the G5 recruits.

  8. Watching Baylor Kansas. Can tell Rhule is under stress because he’s gained some weight and looks puffy. If they don’t beat KU, they will end 0-12. Goose egg city baby. Isn’ t going to be as easy to improve at Baylor as it was at TU. Just ask Kansas. In that league, once you are a doormat, you’ll likely to be one always.

  9. Is Ventell Bryant injured? Didn’t see him at all on Thursday night.

  10. Well Easyowl, I do see improvement. But as I and others have said the end-of-games play-it-safe BS has to stop. The up-the-gut BS also has to stop. 1st and 4 and no TD is ridiculous – how many times does it have to happen to make some changes? If they can keep up the play from the Navy game and adjust at games end, the Owls could go bowling. Then we’d have another good result but still disappointing overall.

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