My friend and former co-worker, Marc Narducci, wrote the definitive piece on Temple starting quarterback Frank Nutile last week. If you can get behind the pay wall, it’s worth the effort. It dotted all of the I’s and crossed most of the T’s and weaved the necessary quotes nicely throughout.
As good as this article was, if I was the editor, I’d have to tell Marc he buried the Nut graph by not even including it in his story.
Make that the Nutile (pronounced New Tile) graph.
Of all of the terrific qualities Temple’s starting quarterback has, he was the No. 1 passer in the nation last season in terms of making positive plays while under pressure. While being pressured by the defense—meaning hit, touched or spun out of a play—Nutile make more positive plays of more than 20 yards per game than any quarterback in FBS football last year.
That includes the six quarterbacks who were drafted in the first 10 NFL draft picks last year. Marc did not mention that impressive factoid about Frank Nutile at all, though give him credit for mentioning that Nutile had 11 touchdown passes and a 60 percent completion percentage in those seven games. Extrapolate that out to the 13 games he should have started and that would be more than 20 TD passes.
This is not to say that Frank Nutile will be a first-round NFL pick or he will be an NFL pick at all. The seven-game sample is not the same sample the first-round picks last year, but it bodes well for the 2018 season. Seven games, though, is enough to indicate that this guy is a proven guy under pressure, much like his quarterback coach, Adam DiMichele, was at Temple. Had DiMichele been granted his release by Penn State coach Joe Paterno, he would have started the 2009 Eagle Bank Bowl and the Owls would have had a signature win over UCLA. P.J. Walker was also good under pressure and chances are few Temple quarterbacks will have a signature drive like the one Phillip orchestrated with no time outs, 70 yards to go and 32 seconds left at UCF two years ago.
Having players like DiMichele, Walker and Nutile under center means a lot because that kind of fearlessness from a leader rubs off on his teammates. That’s a nice insurance policy to have considering much of this Temple fan base has been weaned on a lot of guys who looked like Aaron Rodgers in seven-on-seven passing drills but Mike McMahon in actual game situations. Chester Stewart, Vaughn Charlton and Mike McGann (22 interceptions in 2003) we are looking at you.
Fortunately, we are not looking at them in anything other than the rear-view mirror now.
One of the inspiring things about the Narducci article was the fact that his dad, Robert, a former quarterback at both Maryland and Louisville told him to keep grinding after the disappointment in losing the starting job to Logan Marchi last year. That grinding paid off when Nutile got his chance against Army, completing 20 of 29 passes and a touchdown in a game the offense did not lose.
It’s the same message the Anthony Russo family is giving to their son and no doubt the same message the Toddy Centeio family and the Trad Beatty family are giving to their sons. They have all seen what is on the other end of the grind, too, and the rewards are apparent.
Frank Nutile’s story has made that abundantly clear, even if the nut graph was buried so deep no one could find it.
July 4: 5 New Arrivals To Watch
Friday: Surprising Fireworks
Monday: How New Rules Impact the Owls