Early in preseason camp Temple offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude said he ideally would like to name the starting quarterback about two weeks before the Sept. 2 opener at Notre Dame.
Saturday marked exactly two weeks before the opener, but Temple first-year coach Geoff Collins had a better chance of giving a detailed injury report before revealing the quarterback choice.
For those who don’t know, Collins doesn’t like to talk about injuries. He is also not a fan of putting out depth charts.
So not only wasn’t a starting quarterback named after Saturday’s scrimmage at Franklin Field, but there is a chance that Collins won’t make any announcement about a starter, at least to the public.
When asked if that was possible, he answered “No idea.”
Collins did suggest the narrowing process has taken place.
The four candidates are redshirt junior Frank Nutile, redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi, redshirt freshman Anthony Russo and true freshman Todd Centeio.
This was the second and final preseason scrimmage the team will have and both are major factors in making the quarterback decision.
“The last scrimmage I felt a little separation between two guys and today I feel a little bit more and we will give the names out to you, I hope, by the end of this [coming] week,” Collins said.
Notice he said “names.”
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) August 19, 2017
Throughout spring and also during preseason camp, Collins and his staff have used the phrase “above the line” ad nauseam for players who are ready to compete in a college game.
Instead of a depth chart, Collins could release the players “above the line” which means he could still list all four quarterback candidates.
Based on seeing the limited portions of practice that are open to the media, it seems likely that Marchi and Nutile are battling for the spot.
Complicating things further is that Centeio, who has shown dynamic escapability, could have some packages that take advantage of his mobility.
“I think the escapability in the pocket does make Toddy have us have the ability to make different packages,” Collins said.
So there are plenty of choices to make, it’s just that Collins may not be willing to say who will walk out with the offense at quarterback for that first series in South Bend.
The media only got to view the second portion of the scrimmage, so it would be incomplete to judge anything on what was seen.
That said, somebody will open at quarterback, replacing Phillip Walker who has started the last 47 games for the Owls. Temple quarterbacks only have 11 college passing attempts (six by Marchi and five by Nutile).
Receiver Keith Kirkwood, when asked if he would be happy to finally see who the starter is so he can work more with him, replied, “No, not really.”
He then expanded on the issue.
“We are excited to see who Coach P and Coach Collins decides to put the ball in their hand quarterback-wise for the first game,” Kirkwood said. “Every quarterback is great on our team, it’s a great competition and we’re excited to see who starts.”
None of the quarterback candidates were available to be interviewed, but one can only image how they feel about this drawn-out competition.
Whoever takes that first snap will be inexperienced, and the only thing we know now is that the starter will have continued to be above the line in the coaches’ thinking.