Spring practice is fully underway and Dave Patenaude handled the first questions thrown his way like Freddy Galvis used to handle hard hit balls to his right.
Galvis isn’t around town anymore, but Patenaude is and he said all of the right things about the quarterback position in a recent Temple News story—that Frank Nutile, despite being a bowl-winning quarterback, has to win his job and that Anthony Russo and Todd Centeio are both significantly better than they were at this time last year.
To get a better perspective, though, of what was said this year by the Temple football offensive coordinator, it helps to dig deep to find out what he said a year ago at this time. Patenaude was enthralled with the running ability of Logan Marchi—a player he tried to recruit for Coastal Carolina—and seemingly gave Marchi the benefit of the doubt despite a subpar performance in the Cherry and White game. To the fans watching under umbrellas on that rainy day, Marchi was easily the fourth-best quarterback behind, in no particular order, Nutile, Russo and Centeio.
That benefit turned out to be a detriment for the Owls as Marchi went way too deep into the season, starting seven games, and the Owls almost did not recover.
Pardon me if I don’t trust Patenaude as far as I can throw him. I’m from Missouri this year. He’s going to have to show me he’s playing no favorites and gives everyone a chance to move the team in a game. I didn’t see that last year until the eighth game.
When Nutile finally got his chance in a real game—not a practice, but a game, as Allen Iverson would say—fans saw the kind of difference they saw on Cherry and White Day.
It was obvious to anyone who watched the Army game last year that Nutile was the far better leader and winner than Marchi ever was.
That was probably just as obvious to Marchi, too, who saw the handwriting on the wall and got out of here.
Will Nutile be last year’s Nutile or this year’s Marchi? Certainly, Nutile deserves first dibs on defending his job. He does not deserve to play seven unimpressive games before another guy gets a shot.
Will Russo get the chance that Nutile did a year ago in a “real” game—not a practice—and prove to be even a juicier upgrade? Will Centeio’s “packages” result in real gains in terms of yardage or will they be blown up by defenses like they were last year? Will Trad Beatty get the benefit of a redshirt year that Nutile, Russo and Centeio enjoyed? They all benefited from the extra year of film study and in the weight room and if Beatty is headed to the pros, he deserves the same advantage, too.
Those are the questions that can only answered by deeds, not words but trusting what everyone sees in the upcoming Cherry and White game might be a good place to start.