Four quarterbacks get their chance in Temple spring game
The competition is not close to being settled.
Temple's quarterback situation remained far from settled after the Cherry and White spring game Saturday, and that's no surprise.
First-year coach Geoff Collins said during spring practice that the starter likely wouldn't be picked until training camp in August, and that remains the case.
All four candidates had good moments while also showing they had room to improve.
The squad called "Greatness Doesn't Quit" earned a 17-14 win over "Temple Tough" during the game at Edberg Olson Hall.
The score is inconsequential, but the play of the quarterbacks wasn't. Just as they have all spring, all four saw plenty of action in the game, which was played in a steady rain.
Redshirt junior Frank Nutile threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to speedster Freddie Johnson and scored on a 16-yard run.
Redshirt sophomore Logan Marchi showed good escapability and made some solid throws, but he also threw two interceptions in 10 pass attempts.
Redshirt freshman Anthony Russo, who might have the strongest arm, showed it on several throws and completed 7 of 11 for 77 yards.
And freshman dual-threat Todd Centeio also displayed great mobility and good touch on a 16-yard scoring pass to Marshall Ellick. Centeio completed 9 of 13 for 110 yards, the one TD, and no interceptions.
None of the four appearred to eliminate himself from contention. Collins said afterward he was not close to picking the starter.
"It is an ongoing process, throughout the offseason, preseason, and even throughout the season," Collins said.
Replacing four-year starter Phillip Walker remains the team's biggest challenge. Last year Marchi had six pass attempts and Nutile attempted two passes, so this is an untested group.
For Nutile, the game was a good sendoff to the spring.
"I think I am very confident going into the summer and it will be a great competition," he said. You saw today, everybody can spin the ball and is a good leader."
Junior Delvon Randall, a returning starter at strong safety, was awarded a single-digit number, which is presented to the players who show special toughness and dedication. Randall, who was tied for second on the team with 65 tackles last season, will wear No. 2 after being No. 23.
"It means a lot," Randall said. "The single digit means you are tough and I look at myself as one of the tougher guys on the team."
Redshirt junior tight end Chris Myarick, from Cheltenham High, was told during the team dinner Friday night that he had earned a scholarship after going to Temple as a walk-on.
"I was in pure shock and smiles from ear to ear, and when I saw my parents out there it felt like a dream, all the hard work coming through," Myarick said.
While it may be difficult to crack the veteran receiver rotation, Freddie Johnson showed big-play ability this spring and did so again on the touchdown reception from Nutile.
"He is a great player and you will see a lot of exciting things from him going forward now that he is healthy," Nutile said.
Marshall Ellick, a redshirt junior, continued his good spring with five receptions for 105 yards and the one score. Receiver remains the deepest position on the team, with a corps that includes Keith Kirkwood, Adonis Jennings, and Ventell Bryant.
Junior running back Jager Gardner, who was hampered by injuries and limited to 29 carries last year, ran with purpose and appears headed for a bigger workload this season behind leading returning rusher Ryquell Armstead. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound Gardner rushed for 67 yards and one touchdown on nine carries, running around and through tacklers. He also had two receptions for 34 yards.
"Anytime you get the mojo it is hard to come down off that and I tried to keep that mojo going today," Gardner said.
Sophomore linebackers William Kwenkeu, Shaun Bradley, and Sam Franklin, who have been working as the first unit, likely did nothing to hurt their standing. All were aggressive going to the ball, with Bradley recording five tackles, Kwenkeu four, and Franklin two.
Redshirt freshman tight end Kenny Yeboah should be a big part of the offense after a strong spring that ended with four receptions for 34 yards Saturday.
Mike Jones, the graduate transfer from North Carolina Central, had an interception and pass breakup. It would be surprising if he isn't one of the starting cornerbacks in the Sept. 2 opener at Notre Dame.