Burying the Nutile Graph

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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.

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Some guy with a beard pats Frank Nutile on the helmet

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

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The Scrimmage: Sensitivity and Football

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Nowhere in any of these stories dating back to 2013 on this site will you find a negative word about Frank Nutile.

Someone is sensitive out there.

Sensitivity and football usually don’t mix and we got a post the other day saying because we have been impressed with Anthony Russo this spring we are “not giving Frank Nutile the respect he deserves.”

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Sensitivity and football usually don’t mix and we decided not to run the comment because it mentioned a valued poster (not me) and that’s against our rules to personally attack another poster.

Even more important is the flawed premise of the post: That we don’t love Frank Nutile. Liking what Anthony Russo brings to the table in no way diminishes our respect and love for Frank Nutile. The two thoughts are not mutually exclusive.  It’s OK to love BOTH Frank and Anthony and wish that both get playing time without diminishing the other.

Here’s what we have said about Frank in our most recent post:

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How the hell can anyone interpret that as a knock on Frank? Heck, I think even Frank thinks that if he has the same first seven games that Logan Marchi had he would deserve to sit. That said, I hope Frank does a Peyton Manning impersonation the first seven games.

If anything the most recent scrimmage proved it that Temple’s quarterback position is in a lot better shape now that than it was this time last year. Frank is No. 1 and Anthony is No. 2. Last year, four guys were No. 1 and head coach Geoff Collins said all four would play in the first game.

He lied, primarily because he trusted his offensive coordinator too much to make the decision. The OC recruited Marchi for Coastal Carolina. Marchi was the fourth-best quarterback in the Cherry and White game and that wasn’t even subject to debate. The other three were about the same. Now there are checks and balances in place in that Marchi is gone and Ed Foley is assistant head coach in charge of the offense.

Nutile no doubt is THE guy but competition is good for any organization and anyone who doubts that is a fan of the wrong sport.

Friday: 5 Things To Look for On Cherry and White Day

Fizzy’s Corner: Then Broad And (Now) Ridge

Editor’s Note: Now that Mack Brown says Temple has ditched the spread and gone back to the “Temple TUFF” offense it was known for the last two years, Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub has some nice things to say about Dave Patenaude. No nicknames for Patenaude quite yet, though.

By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

 Can you believe it?  For the first time, a bootleg at the goal line for a TD, and Frankie could have stopped off for a hot dog.  Then, some razzle – dazzle, where Frankie pitched to Wright, who then threw (finally) back to Frankie for a two point conversion.  There were even play-action passes on first down, (instead of drop-backs) and after turnovers, and even the second jet sweep of the year.

 

Don’t get me wrong, there were still up-the-guts at the wrong time, especially at first and goal, where we were still not efficient. It’s on first down, at first and goal when you have to show imagination.  But all-in-all, a remarkable turn around from the junior high offense we’ve been running all year.  There was so much improvement, I’m forced to upgrade the name of the offense from “Broad Street,” to the Ridge Avenue Offense.  Where Broad Street runs straight, Ridge Avenue twists and turns and curls.  Has Dave Patenaude seen the light?

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However, I’m still pissed.  If we’d been running this type of offense all year, we certainly would have at least two more wins.  Also, Frank Nutile has been simply terrific.  His only two interceptions were passes that bounced off the receivers hands.  When given time, his passing has been phenomenal.  So my question is, why wasn’t he the starter from the beginning of the season?

The defense which had been mostly exceptional against the run, was only okay.  It allowed some sustained running plays for a time, but then righted itself.  It’s still the pass defense, especially against the two-minute offense that’s been terrible all year.  I just don’t understand why we can’t do the same thing the Eagles do in that situation. They rush four  and play a five across zone at about 12 yards, with a deep safety on each side. Then the defenders can see the QB and the ball, instead of running with their backs turned.  Even the announcer Friday night said, “no one knows where the ball is.”  We’ve given up an awful lot of TD’s in the right corner of the end-zone all year, and that’s because number ten (Jones), can’t see the ball.  To stop Central Florida, we have to defend the pass.

Wednesday: Geoff Collins Unplugged

Friday: Our Annual Tribute to the Seniors

Sunday: UCF Game Analysis 

Collins Brings The Juice to Media Day

Marc Narducci talks Sean Chandler in this Media Day report.

Sometimes the most revealing answers come from the most innocuous questions.

Someone asked Geoff Collins a Media Day query about how Frank Nutile got his nickname and Collins all but named him the starting quarterback for the Sept 2. Opener at Notre Dame.

After Collins went to great lengths to NOT name a starter, even mentioning that all four quarterbacks will get simultaneous snaps in practice Tuesday, his answer gave at least a clue in what direction he was headed:

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“The offense kind of moves and plays better with him out there,” Collins said of “Frankie Juice” Nutile. “If you are just standing in a room, Frankie Nutile is just standing in a room with this group of guys and that group of guys and he’s just a guy that people gravitate to and one day I was out there and said it (Frankie Juice) and I can’t stop saying it, obviously.”

Collins did not single out any of the other three quarterbacks for praise, in all fairness he was only asked about Nutile. OC Dave Patenaude will have a say in this all-important decision, Collins will be the guy who pulls the trigger and, on Media Day at least, he was thinking Nutile.

There are a couple of reasons why Nutile might be considered a “safe” pick over, say, the other three. One, Patenaude made the comment about Todd Centeio questioning whether he would perform before “72,000 people” on opening day. (Does Patenaude expect 8,000 no-shows in the 80,000-seat stadium?) Two, if Nutile has less-than-stellar performance, it’s easier to go to Anthony Russo or Logan Marchi for the Villanova game. Then there is a third option. Nutile can go 24-33 with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 35-21 win, but he showed no signs of that kind of performance in the Cherry and White game.

Other revealing Media Day answers:

Leon Johnson Taking Snaps on Defense

This is a little surprising in the sense that the Owls have plenty of high-end talent on the defensive line and they probably need Johnson to prop up an area of weakness in the offensive line.

Nick Sharga At Defensive End

Collins said that the holdover coaches said Sharga would “give Dion (Dawkins) fits” as a one-on-one scout team rusher at defensive end. I hope those same coaches told him about Sharga being the best linebacker on the field, Tyler Matakevich included, in a “real” game, a 34-12 win over a Memphis team that beat Ole Miss in 2015.

Shaun Bradley at Fullback

If the above clue about Nutile potentially starting was not enough, Collins offered that he made the switch of Shaun Bradley’s jersey number from 18 to 23 because Bradley, one of the team’s best linebackers, is also working at fullback and “he and Frankie Nutile have the same number and can’t be on the field at the same time.” If Bradley and Nutile were fourth-team fullback and quarterback, this would not be a big issue. If they are pushing for first-team time, it is.

Friday: Where Are They Now, Recruit Edition

Dogbe, Nutile a couple of good additions

Frank Nutile’s junior highlights at Don Bosco.

Like the guy in Moneyball, I like stats.
One of the reasons the Oakland A’s were able to build a team from low-budget to competitive was that Billy Bean never overthought things.
He’d rather draft guys who put up good numbers in competitive leagues (heck, he preferred top-level college baseball players over high schoolers) and roll the dice that past history is the best predictor of future history.
I’ve always been one of those people when it comes to recruiting Temple football players.
That’s why I particularly like the recent recruiting additions of defensive end Michael Dogbe and quarterback Frank Nutile.

Dogbe was a sack machine playing for Parsippany Hills, a school that produced one-time Temple quarterback Mike Gerardi.
Nutile threw 14 touchdown passes playing for Don Bosco, a program consistently rated in the USA Today’s  national Top 10.
To me, the most important stats for a quarterback are wins and touchdown passes.
Fourteen touchdown passes as a junior and an 8-3 mark for a storied program is a pretty good base upon which to build senior stats.
Contrast that to former Temple quarterback Vaughn Charlton, who was handed a scholarship even though he had only nine touchdown passes as a senior playing in a very weak and now defunct Southern Chester County League. On the other hand, Adam DiMichele had 36 touchdown passes as a senior at Sto-Rox.
You know how those two careers turned out.
Dogbe had eight quarterback sacks, which means he was disrupting a lot of offensive game plans.
I’ll be watching Nutile and hope he pushes the touchdown totals over 20 this year.
Hopefully, Dogbe will be in double-digits in sacks.
Either way, I think past performance dictates future success for both guys at Temple.

Michael Dogbe’s highlight reel. Would have used “who let the dogs out” as the musical track.

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