Russo’s First Full Season: Pretty Darn Good


When you think of great Temple quarterbacks in the era of FBS football, the names of Steve Joachim, Henry Burris, P.J. Walker, and Brian Broomell come to mind.

All had decent first years as a Temple quarterback.

Few of them had better first seasons than the current Temple quarterback, Anthony Russo.

A lot of them had the advantage of getting their feet wet for a few plays in a year or two before their first one.


Russo and P.J. Walker were the only ones whose heads were plunged into the water for the full baptism and both came out of it pretty well.

To me, the most important statistic that a quarterback can have is wins, followed by touchdowns vs. interceptions and passing rating in that order. Russo had seven wins (would have been eight had he not been forced to sit out of the UConn game with a hand injury) and his 14 touchdowns and 14 interceptions ratio would have been boosted by anything from five to six touchdown passes against that porous Huskie secondary. Certainly, Anthony wasn’t perfect but his first season ranks with the best in Temple history.

I thought about that a lot over the last few days because one of the few harsh critics of Anthony’s play is a former Temple quarterback who doesn’t belong with the famous. Infamous, maybe. Certainly not famous so he shall remain nameless. This quarterback’s first full season at Temple: Three touchdown passes, nine interceptions.

‘Nuff said.

I told him that, if I was him, Russo would be the last guy I’d be criticizing and left it at that.

Some interesting tidbits here are that Joachim played in 11 games with Penn State in the 1971 season, completing 16 of 41 passes for seven touchdowns and only three interceptions before transferring to Temple. Broomell was the Owls’ starting strong safety on defense as a true freshman in the 1976 season only to be eased into a backup quarterback role in 1977 before being named the true starter in 1978. He led the 1979 team to a 10-2 overall record and a final No. 17 ranking in both major polls. Broomell led the nation in passing efficiency that year.

Here are some of, in my mind, the first full years of the very best of the best Temple quarterbacks:


Tomorrow: Great and Minimal Expectations

Thursday: Cliff Notes For Carey


20 thoughts on “Russo’s First Full Season: Pretty Darn Good

  1. I agree on the upside potential for Russo and had been very frustrated by the prior regimes benching of this guy. I genuinely appreciate the qualities Frank Nutile bought to the team but I’ve believed Russo should have started since the beginning of his redshirt freshman year. I’m hopeful the new staff goes back to #Templetuff football which should suit Russo’s strengths.

    I posted my opinion on another forum that Russo has NFL potential (noting he’s not there yet) but still needs to develop in the right system. I was pilloried for this statement but I stand by my statement. He has an NFL arm and knows how to win. He still has opportunities to work on touch passing but his ability to remain cool under pressure and read defenses will accommodate the learning curve.

    If the new staff implements the appropriate offense I expect a breakout year for Russo. He has a very good O-line returning and excellent receivers returning to the team. The biggest need will be for a running back who can carry the load for the team but we may already have this person on the team.

    My final comment on the offense is that we had wasted the skills of two of the nations best fullbacks over the past two seasons. While we’ve lost that talent my hope is we find the next Sharga and have him knock folks backwards to open up running lanes and protect the QB.

  2. I know it’s a blog for TU football, but did anyone watch the BB game last night? It’s the first time I ever saw a coach ruin his own player’s shooting hot streak. Rose couldn’t miss and Dunphy took him out for no discernible reason. I did not believe what I saw. Rose did not get it back until late in the game. Owls won only because Memphis unbelievably shot 1-23 from the three-point line. Bad coaching is not limited to the football field.

    • But hey….he’s a nice guy.

      • they are the most misfit team in terms of being conceived than any winning team in temple history. they have a 1 in shizz who does not have a great handle and cannot create his own shot … they have a 2 who can’t shoot but who has the heart of a lion .. npl …. they have a 3 … perry … who disappears for long stretches and a 4 in q who is streaky and not consistent and a 5 who is feast or famine. give me greer at the point, stansbury at the 2, eddie jones at the 3,mark jackson at the 4 and kevin lyde at the 5. that’s a team. this is a bunch of misfits.

  3. What’s no to like about QB Russo ? But he did have a lousy bowl game I thought. Also upbeat about the 3 or 4 young QBs waiting.

    • Only had a bad … just subpar… 27 points should be enough to win a college football game because rock armstead, after telling everybody he was a go, decided to sit this one out at game time. do you really think with a 27-14 lead and a steady diet of rock, that temple losses that game? i don’t. we tried to give them a steady diet of nitro and gardner. nitro is a blocker, not a runner, but idiot patenaude never got that through his thick skull.

  4. Russo could benefit from a QB whisperer…,

    how Russo compares against the other AAC QBs next season will be the key measure of performance.., can/will he be one of the best in conference?

  5. With Milton of UCF on the shelf til 2020, the Owls can steal the division. For that to happen, the coaches will have to go back to a pro type ball control offense. I’d be watching New England film because they do just that. Wright could do what Edelman does and TU’s tight end is good enough. If Gardner can improve just a little bit, the offense could roll especially because the line will be a year older. On D, with Coach Brown back, the d-backs will return to the state of excellence they exhibited his last two years. If someone can step up and fill Dogbe’s spot, they will be fine.

  6. Mr Belli, can you explain in simple terms the Offense run under new HC will with NIU? They had a great runner a few years ago, a pocket rocket if I recall.
    I am not a great football mind I admit, just observant I think.

  7. Has Temple received any transfers yet?

    • We’ll just have to wait and see on the Carey impact on recruiting, the offense, and team attitude. So far it has been ‘meh’.

      A surprises and transfers on the next signing day could change first impressions but I seriously doubt it.

      Just like Collins, Carey and the majority of his staff are misplaced.., they will spend an inordinate amount of time learning how to live, comprehend, coach, and recruit in mid-atlantic America.

      First red flag, Kraft abandons his instincts and hires an old friend. Second red flag, an ill-conceived coaching staff. Third red flag, February 2019 signing day results. Last red flag, record after the first six games.

      Remember College Gameday in Philly? Carey is not the guy to get us back to there.

    • Harrison Hand, started four games as db for bowl-winnng Baylor

    • Yes. All south Jersey kid from Baylor just enrolled. played at Baylor and is looking to play right away at cornerback because he transferred for family reasons.

  8. Do you know if Hand was a Rhule recruit for Temple who then went with the coach to Texas?

  9. Senior Bowl ? Based on stats in the paper our guy Ry Armstead only had an OK day running. He scored one TD from the 1 and had total 25 yards on 7 carries. I don’t know any more details but it is less than I hoped for.
    Not a performance like our past start runners, say Bernard Pierce. Oh well……

    • Pierce did not play in the Senior Bowl, as he entered the draft after his Junior year. Not sure what comparison you are making or what other RBs from Temple played in the Senior Bowl.

      If you are simply saying Pierce was the better running back, ok.

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