Despite an inordinate amount of what probably is underserved bashing on social media, the 2020 season could provide a clearer picture of Anthony Russo’s legacy as a Temple University quarterback.
People lie, but numbers don’t.
Because P.J. (I still call him P.J. because I think it rolls off the tongue better than Phillip) Walker had four years to what will be three years as a starter for Russo, some of these career records he set here will never be broken:
- Most passing yards=10,669
- Most touchdowns=74
Walker had a terrific debut for Houston in the XFL with four touchdown passes against only one interception there but the crazy thought here is that Russo will be a better pro passer than Walker simply because his game is built for the NFL style (pocket passing, not RPOs). Sure, places like Buffalo and Baltimore run a lot of RPOs but the NFL is still a pocket passing league and that’s the kind of game where Russo can excel. I love P.J. and he can also make all of the throws, but his downfall in the NFL was that he was four inches shorter than Russo and could not see over 6-foot-5 defensive linemen with 41-inch vertical leaps. That metric changes in the XFL.
All of the other Temple University passing records, the apples to apples ones, will probably be picked off by Anthony Russo if he’s only able to duplicate his single-season of 2019 (21 touchdown passes, 11 interceptions, 2,861 yards) this season. You’ve got to think he will do better than that with Jadan Blue and Branden Mack as his two leading receivers. I think he will. I’m putting him down right now, if he’s injury-free, for 25 touchdowns, 3,000 yards, and 10 interceptions. (Feel free to snipe at me in December of this year if these predictions are wrong, but I think it will be pretty close to right.)
Those numbers would easily put him as the second-best, statistically, quarterback of all-time at Temple.
What would Russo have to do to be No. 1? Just for fun, Anthony would have to throw 40 touchdown passes with 5,246 yards to be number one in all statistical categories. That would be close to a Joe Burrow-type improvement at LSU. In 2018, Burrow had 16 touchdown passes and five interceptions and 2,894 yards. In 2019: 5,671 yards, 60 touchdowns, 8 interceptions. Not happening for Anthony, but a fun scenario to think about in a Matt Rhule-like pro-set offense. RPO? No chance.
So, Rod Carey, please think about a more sensible offense for this talent in 2020. There’s got to be a sensible offensive guy in that coaching room who can tailor an offense around the present QB and not a long-term future one.
Still, though, the 25-3,000-10 season we described would put him in second place in all the major Temple statistical categories. He would break the single-season touchdown record shared by Brian Broomell and P.J. Walker (22 apiece) and top Walker’s 2015 season for yardage (2,972).
You might have a different opinion of Russo but, to me, numbers don’t lie and they will be telling the more complete story than any eye test done by the amateurs soon enough.
Friday: What the New Stadium Deal Means