Temple's Logan Marchi looks for an edge in quarterback competition

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Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Logan Marchi stays on the field after practice on March 20.

Logan Marchi doesn't want to hear any of the speculation. In a four-way quarterback battle at Temple in which nobody has emerged as a frontrunner, Marchi at least appears to have as good a chance as anybody to earn the spot. Some of the outside buzz suggests he is the favorite.

A redshirt sophomore, Marchi has been battling the other candidates all spring, with all of them getting reps with the first and second units. The others are redshirt junior Frank Nutile, redshirt freshman Anthony Russo and incoming freshman Todd Centeio, who has enrolled and participated in spring practice.

All four will be the subject of intense scrutiny when Temple conducts its Cherry and White Game on Saturday.

Coach Geoff Collins has hinted that the starter for the Sept. 2 opener at Notre Dame likely won't be known until August. It's likely that Collins and offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude still have no clue in this close race.

Yet there seems to be the perception that the 6-foot, 192-pound Marchi might have an edge. For one, he was the backup to four-year starter Phillip Walker last year, attempting six passes.

Plus, Patenaude said he would like a quarterback capable of running some option just to keep the defenses honest. Marchi has the best combination of passing and running skills. Centeio is the most dynamic runner. Nutile and Russo have strong arms.

Yet Marchi doesn't want to hear he is a perceived leader at this point.

"You really don't feel like anybody is the favorite, and you just go out there and enjoy playing football," he said.

That is one thing that Marchi has gotten from this spring, a true enjoyment of the game. Not that he didn't enjoy football in the past, but as a freshman and then a redshirt freshman he knew the only chance he'd have at seeing the field was if the durable Walker was injured.

Walker played through injuries and didn't miss a start the last two years.

"It feels good this spring because you are competing for a spot," he said. "[Walker] was great, and we were just backing him up and making sure he was OK going into each game. But now that it is open, guys are fired up, and you look forward to this your whole life."

Marchi has certainly gained the confidence of his teammates, but the other players have shown no outward preference toward any of the four.

"It's been fun to see these guys spin," said redshirt junior receiver Ventell Bryant, who had 54 receptions for 895 yards and four touchdowns last season. "This is their opportunity to tell the coaches what they can do."

Bryant says each quarterback brings a unique skill.

"Russo has a nice ball. Frankie has a nice deep ball. Toddie is a dual threat," he said. "Logan can do it all, and it's fun to watch these guys grow this spring."

Marchi showed his dual-purpose ability in high school competing for St. Paul Catholic in Bristol, Conn. As a senior, he threw for 3,220 yards and 38 touchdowns and rushed for 540 yards and six touchdowns.

Since then, his activity has been limited, which is why he is looking forward to Saturday's game.

"This is your chance to show what you can do," he said. "I can't wait to go out there and play."

mnarducci@phillynews.com

@sjnard

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