Somewhere, somehow, Anthony Russo is getting ready to play football when he arrives on the campus of Temple University in a little over a month.
Sounds like a solid plan to me because, based on what we saw this spring, he is as good as any of the other Temple football backup quarterbacks right now. The Owls normally do not like to burn redshirts, but in the case of a special talent like Russo, that’s an exception they have to make for at least a couple of reasons.
Frank Nutile (pronounced NEW TILE) is the current backup, having won the No.2 job from Johnny Manziel-clone Logan Marchi. Yet, it has been a long time before Nutile was on the field as a starting quarterback and that was as a high school player at Don Bosco Prep. In that year, 2013, Nutile threw for 1,392 yards and 12 touchdowns. Compare that to Russo’s numbers at Archbishop Wood last year: 2,452 yards and 35 touchdowns.
So you have a guy in Russo who put up numbers more than twice as good as Nutile and who is nowhere near as rusty as Nutile is against live competition. Does Nutile being at Temple more than make up for that stark difference in pure talent?
The other reason to get Russo some time in 2016 is that he will most likely be your 2017 starting quarterback in the game at Notre Dame. The last time Temple played a true freshman at Notre Dame, kicker Jim Cooper Jr., he was more shellshocked that the Germans defending Berlin in May of 1945 and that scared him for the rest of his Temple career.
Getting Russo some time in some of the blowout wins this fall sounds like a plan. He’s getting ready. The Owls should give him a decent shot to be P.J. Walker’s backup come August. He’s probably their second-best quarterback now and they will have to lean heavily on him in 2017 so burning this redshirt should be considered.
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