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.
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.
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