Russo’s Temple legacy: A winner

If anything, the succession of four quarterbacks who tried to replace Russo showed how much he will be missed.

That old adage about statistics being for losers doesn’t apply to Anthony Russo’s all-too-brief three-year career at Temple.

He exits the school not only as a winner, but only behind Steve Joachim and Brian Broomell in winning percentage as a Temple quarterback.

To me, that’s the most important statistic.

Arguably, Joachim and Broomell and even P.J. Walker played with better talent around them (at least compared to the level of competition Temple was playing at the time) so Russo’s numbers were even more impressive.

Further, Joachim, Broomell and P.J. Walker were playing a systems more suited to their respective talents.

Under Rod Carey and, to a lesser extent, Geoff Collins, Russo was not. I’d love to see what Russo would have done at Temple under just the system Matt Rhule ran his last two years at Temple: Fullback, (often) double tight ends, establishing the run behind a premier tailback and then making the safeties and linebackers inch up to the line of scrimmage so that Russo could fake to, say, Ray Davis, and throw over the top to wide open receivers like Branden Mack and Jadan Blue.

Les Miles with AR when Les was head coach at LSU.

Unfortunately, we never saw that.

Now we will never see it because, err, that’s the offense “we” ran at Northern Illinois. Great coaches structure their offense around the talents of their players and not try to force feed their own philosophy on a different skill set. If there’s one thing we’ve discovered in two years, Rod Carey is not a great coach.

Even in that ill-fitting system, Temple, under Russo this year, was able to put up 32 offensive points against USF and 29 each against Navy and Memphis.

The other quarterbacks combined put up 3 (Tulane and ECU), 13 (UCF), and 23 (SMU).

There are certain quarterbacks who should NEVER be asked to run the ball except on quarterback sneaks. At Temple, I would have put Tim Riordan, Lee Saltz, Marty Ginestra, Pat Carey, Doug Shobert and Matty Baker into that group. You can ask Joachim, Walker, Walter Washington and Broomell to run but the first four were also effective in exclusive passing systems.

In the NFL, Tom Brady, Matt Stafford or Joe Flacco should never be asked to do that.

Not saying AR is headed to Michigan State, but these are his most recent followers on twitter.

And, above all, Anthony Russo should never have been in that kind of system at Temple.

Even a blind man can see that.

That’s probably why Russo is taking his talents elsewhere. There’s a lot of speculation about where he will land, but I think he’s better than any of the quarterbacks at Penn State, Pitt or Kansas right now. It’s not the school that matters, though, but how the coaches at any school will utilize his unique talents. The next few weeks he’s going to have to sort all that out.

If he finds one without an RPO, even if it’s not a marquee school, that’s where he should go and that’s where he will finally be able to reach his full potential and have his name called on NFL draft day.

Unfortunately, the name Temple will not be called once he walks to the podium.

Thanks to Rod Carey.

Friday: Digesting The Wednesday Signings

48 thoughts on “Russo’s Temple legacy: A winner

  1. Baylor fans must be chanting Fire Dave Aranda because Charlie Brewer is transferring too.

    • I would take him or Udinski as adequate replacements for Russo. Don’t think Carey possesses the kind of charisma needed to talk any of those guys into coming to Temple.

      • Yea but the ex St. Joe’s coach does. I don’t think it matters anyway because players in the portal are looking for ascending programs, not descending ones. Brewer is leaving Baylor because Baylor, like TU, has suffered from the loss of Matt Rhule and is no longer considered to be a program on the rise. Brewer at PSU would make them a top 5 program immediately. Brewer though is likely to stay in Texas because of family ties to football there. I can see him going to A&M if Mond leaves. Although a senior, Mond may stay put because it’s a strong year for QBs in the draft.

      • I think we’ll be getting an SEC transfer. Udinski wants to play for VMI in the Spring.

  2. UCF’s Milton going to FSU to play for the former Memphis coach who he beat in heartbreaking fashion a couple of times. .

  3. Gus Malzahn available. Given Auburn owes him $21.5 million, he might want to work for “free” while Carey is paid down. Now he’d also want to install RPO, but he would know how to coach it. He somehow gets players after Saban takes what he wants.

    • I can’t imagine Carey handled that recruting process. It was probably Gabe. The kid said to Gabe, “You know. I’m a dropback passer only. I don’t like the RPO. You guys don’t run the RPO, do you?” Gabe: “Err, no.” Kid: “Where do I sign?”

    • Kid is a runaway. Committed to Ohio St but ran away when Justin Fields came on the scene. Running away from stiff competition at UGA.

      Watch the tape, long wind-up throwing motion, bad feet.., looks like a skinny Randall Cunningham. Did Carey bring him in to run the Temple Tuff pro-set? No.

    • Didn’t I read that he didn’t even finish that first Georgia game and was replaced thereafter? That’s why he went to the portal, 4 stars or not. He wants a shot at playing so G5 is the best he can do? Most of TU’s portal pickups haven’t done well at the P5 level and it seems like just the name of the schools they’re coming from sounds good enough for Carey. But hopefully they’ll do a good job for Temple….but we’ll see.

  4. Seriously, though, the difference between 6-6 and 2-10 is getting an acceptable replacement for Russo and keeping Blue and Mack. Eye test tells me none of the suspects in the program are anywhere near as good as Russo. A one-time Georgia starter might be but we still have to keep Mackk and Blue and I don’t think that’s happening.

  5. An aside:
    Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins snubbed his Pitt counterpart Pat Narduzzi at the end of the game, leaving everyone perplexed. Perhaps, he was upset that the Panthers went for two up 32-20 with 2 minutes to go to make it 34-20, but that is just smart football. Afterwards, Collins babbled some weak BS excuse about wanting to get to the band or something. The Yeller Jackets punked out on their game with Miami this weekend.

    • The difference between Georgia Tech and Temple is that GT will not give GC more than 3 years. If he doesn’t win next year (and I suspect he won’t), he will be back to being a lifetime DC. Very likely Temple goes anywhere between 2-10 and 6-6 next year despite getting all of these portals. Carey is playing for 6-6 and an extension. I hope Temple doesn’t bite at 6-6. Carey’s got to go 8-4 or better next year for Temple to even consider it. We got better today but the Temple I want is the 2015 and 2016 Temple and I don’t see that happening under Carey’s system.

      • TU better not even consider giving him an extension. If they even consider it, it’s time to boycott and refuse to buy tickets. They made the same mistake with Bobby Wallace, one that almost killed the program. .

      • I agree, John.

      • If by chance he does go 8-4 next year they still shouldn’t jump at an extension. Let him prove some continuity and see if he repeats a good season the year after that. Why be in such a hurry to extend contracts? Or would they be afraid he’d jump ship which any coach could do from a G5 program if offered. What I meant by stability was that TU might think keeping someone for more than 2 years (or 2-3 months, lol) is more important than winning – isn’t that’s the TU way?

  6. Hey Mike, crazy day in recruiting. I know you’re a subscriber to Owlscoop. Worth the subscription?

  7. Extension? That’s funny. The only good thing Carey did this year was protect his 0-7 bowl record. That record is priceless. I joke about the extension but if you had told me that Carey was making $2 Million per year, I’d say that was a joke. Unfortunately that contract has put TU in a bind. You can eat 750k salaries, you can’t eat $2 million. So you are stuck w/ this mope another year. I feel for the kids in the program, they put a lot of effort and time into playing at a D1 level and they get in the huddle and Carey is leading them. Carey can’t recruit a lick, “Hey kid, I’m 0-7 in Bowl games in my career, I’ve gotten blown out by 30+ points on numerous occasions, my previous stint coaching was at NIU (yes it is a D1 program) and I don’t believe in special teams. How’d you like to sign with us?”

    C E SPEED

    • Dunphy and Carey a combined 3-17 in the postseason. Maybe that’s why Fran loves Carey so much. Also, the bowl record is largely the result of incompetent gameday coaching but I wonder how much his reluctance to hit in practice comes into play. Guy doesn’t even have full-contact Cherry and White games and watching just this video reminds me how Temple used to hit all of the time. When you go a month without major full-contact, you are not at game speed:

      • Temple Tuff to Carey Cupcakes. Virtual tackles via Zoom…., maybe we can get Carey a ‘soft football’ vaccine.

        New stat requirement, 3 and out in less than 30 seconds. Any bets on the number of times the Carey offense went 3 and out in less than 30 seconds last year?

        There must be a tipping point. How many times can you go 3 and out in less than 30 seconds and still win?

      • Good point, KJ. I think we broke the record of 3 and outs this season at least in the games Russo did not play.

      • C’mon Mike, don’t dump on Dunphy. He didn’t hire Carey and I’ll bet as interim AD he doesn’t have much if anything to say about keeping or firing him. He also didn’t have anything to say about that guaranteed 2 mil per year stupid-decision contract. And given Temple’s past track record, they won’t (can’t) buy him out even if they wanted to.
        Lots of Carey’s recruits are transfers with limited time to give at Temple, have flagging resumes from big schools so we can only hope they can be top performers in the AAC. Hopefully Carey is building the kind of team he wants, with these guys helping in the short term. I’ll be satisfied with 7-8 wins next year – anything less will prove he was a bad hire.

  8. Love the QB we got. Think he’ll be a better fit in our offense and either he or Lynch will easily be better QBs than what Russo ended up being.

    • “our offense” is not TUFB. The Carey 3 and out in less than 30 seconds spread will never win a championship in North Philly.

      The RPO highlighted Russo’s flaws, and didn’t maximize his strengths.

      • Our offense will roll with a QB who won’t throw back breaking interceptions and kill drives. You can’t win with a 25 year old QB making the same mistakes that he made 3 years ago.

    • i’m with you Gabe, ‘our offense’ i’m happy with the Georgia transfer and the power 5 starting wide receiver!

  9. Tony “the Arm” Russo was arguably the best passer I saw at Temple. Phillip “Limbs” Walker had a great arm, legs, and feet. He won a championship and totally dominated the XFL. If Russo could run like PJ, we’d have another trophy. Unfortunately I never saw Henry Burris at Temple. How would you describe his play?

    • Burris was a great passer, not a good runner. Became a legend in the CFL. As a college player, I would definitely rate him behind DiMichele, PJ, Russo, Broomell and, of course, our Maxwell Award winner as the best college player in America, Steve Joachim. Henry had two great receivers in Van Johnson and Troy Kersey, who were at least the equal of Blue and Mack.

  10. i’d be VERY happy with the portal addition/subtractions if we can get a 2nd more proven P5 running back.

    • Losing Picozzi, Archibong and Maijeh are irreplaceable losses. That’s our best offensive lineman and two best defensive linemen. Any excitement about today’s signees is ruined by that.

  11. These are the bad apples that ruined the bunch… encouraging their peers to transfer out:

    • Not going to blame Kenny for all 73 Temple players leaving the program (73 just exaggerating for effect but it’s at least 10). Something stinks at the E-O and I think the smell is coming from Carey’s office.

    • Unwarranted cheap shot. Talk to people around the program and I don’t think you’ll find one person who would call KY a bad apple.

      If the peers need encouragement, all they need to do is see the former single digits playing on real tv in high profile games. Much better option than ESPN+.

      • I agree. Kenny would have stayed if Collins had been here, let alone Rhule (who all the players had a great relationship with). Too many good young men are leaving the program, plus we wouldn’t be on ESPN+ if we beat Navy and Memphis and got on a roll. It’s all intertwined.

  12. Russo going to Michigan State. Can’t see him starting there. Starter there was better then average and the back up who almost beat PSU last Saturday is better than the starter.

    • The only MSU game I saw was Rutgers. The MSU quarterback stunk up the joint in that game. Russo was better than him all four games just this season. I would bet that Russo starts.

      • Yea Rocky Lombardi was rocky at times but the kid that came in this past Saturday was very good. QBs in the Big Ten have to be able to run and Russo has shown that he’s not too good at it. That’s why O’Korn, the former Houston QB who transferred to Michigan was a bust.

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