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.
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