A year ago, the daily story line from spring practice until the opening game was Temple's unsettled quarterback situation.
Logan Marchi who has since transferred to East Tennessee State, started the first seven games. He got hurt, and Frank Nutile made the most of his chance, guiding the team to a 4-2 record and being named MVP in Temple's 28-3 win over FIU in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl. The Owls finished 7-6 in coach Geoff Collins' first season.
A redshirt senior, Nutile completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 1,600 yards, 12 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
Nutile didn't enter this spring with any sense of security even though he was named the No. 1 quarterback.
"I think it feels pretty similar, honestly. The way we look at it here, you have to compete every day whether you are the starter, backup, third or fourth string, it doesn't matter," Nutile said after spring practice Saturday. "And especially with such a talented quarterback room we have now, there is really no being lackadaisical. You have to compete to earn your reps."
Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dave Patenaude echoed those thoughts, although he said the job is Nutile's to lose.
The other candidates are redshirt sophomore Anthony Russo, redshirt freshman Todd Centeio, and true freshman Trad Beatty, who enrolled early and is in camp.
Centeio played two games last year, but he earned a redshirt. He is a major running threat who likely will see the field with special running packages.
"If it ends up Todd isn't the starter, he will have a group of plays he is really good at and it will give us a change of pace," Patenaude said.
According to Patenaude, Russo and Centeio have significantly improved since last year.
As for Beatty, the 6-foot-5, 215-pound lefthander from South Carolina is going through natural growing pains, looking to pick up the offense.
"Trad is really smart and is really trying to figure out what is going on," Patenaude said.
Patenaude sees big things for Beatty.
"[He is] a good leader, gets the young group going, and is going to be really good down the line," Patenaude said.
So with no quarterback controversy and a second-year coaching staff, Temple appears well ahead of where it was last year at this time.
Notes: Patenaude said he would compare his interior line of guards Jovahn Fair and Vincent Picozzi and center Matt Hennessy to "anybody in the conference." He added that James McHale, who made three starts at left tackle, and Jaelin Robinson are the starting tackles at this early point. … Defensive tackle Freddie Booth Lloyd (6-1, 330) is getting some time at fullback, and according to Patenaude he is handling himself well. … Receiver Brodrick Yancy is out with an unspecified injury, but Patenaude expects him to be ready for fall camp.