NEWPORT, R.I. — From the time he was hired Dec. 14 as Temple’s football coach, Geoff Collins hasn’t gone too many days without hearing one question: Who’s your quarterback?
So with Collins appearing at his first American Athletic Conference media day Tuesday, he knew the subject would be broached. And with training camp less than two weeks away, his answer was no different from what it was in December.
“I told them we would keep evaluating them in the summer and in the preseason, so the competition is alive and well,” Collins said.
Temple will go into camp with four quarterbacks. None came close to winning the job in the spring, but none lost it either.
The new starter will have to replace Phillip Walker, now with the Indianapolis Colts. Walker set several Temple records, including most wins by a quarterback, 28.
Coming off back-to-back 10-4 seasons that included two straight AAC East Division titles and last year’s overall AAC championship, Temple has a veteran team.
The one position without much experience is quarterback, and Collins hinted that the job might have no clear-cut winner.
“It might be more than one guy,” Collins said. “I am not opposed to that. It’s the same we do for all the positions.”
Except quarterback isn’t like all the positions. As the old saying goes, if a team has two quarterbacks, it has zero. There are no sayings for four quarterbacks.
Temple’s returning quarterbacks have thrown a total of 11 passes, six by current redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi and five by redshirt junior Frank Nutile.
The other candidates are redshirt freshman Anthony Russo of Archbishop Wood and incoming freshman Todd Centeio, who enrolled early, participated in spring practice, and is the best running threat.
“Hopefully the decision is really going to be made by the guys themselves, how they attack the job, how they respond to the pressure of preseason, who moves the offense, and really who commands he locker room,” Collins said.
The Temple receivers have shown as much discipline in discussing the quarterback situation as they have running their routes.
“I am excited to go into the season and prepared for any quarterback on our roster,” said redshirt senior Keith Kirkwood, who had 42 receptions for 648 yards and four touchdowns last season. “Every single quarterback is very strong and has a uniqueness that he can bring to the success of the team.”
During the spring, Collins was able to give all four quarterbacks plenty of practice reps. He knows that can’t happen throughout the entire training camp, leading up to the Sept. 2 opener at Notre Dame. When asked when he would have to cut the reps, Collins said, “Probably two weeks before game time. That’s because everything we do is about competition in this program across the board in all positions.”
Collins added that he has no set date to name a starter. The only certainty is that all four are being evaluated in all areas, even in the so-called offseason.
“I told them we will keep evaluating in the summer, in the preseason, so the competition is alive and well,” Collins said. “The kids understand it. They are attacking it.”
So Collins will continue to hear the same question. And for now and at least the immediate future, the answer won’t be any different.