Coming in at #2 on the SportsDesk impact player list, we look at the Quarterback position. A position so important to the success of a team, it was a borderline #1 selection on our list. With Temple coming off of back to back 10-win seasons, one of the most consistent performers was current Indianapolis Colt Phillip Walker.
Consistency at the signal caller position goes a long way in terms of projections, and it may be the sole reason why the Owls aren’t being selected outright in the East by news organizations previewing the AAC. The team selected by USA Today to edge out Temple in the division: South Florida. USA Today has South Florida QB Quinton Flowers ranked #1 QB in the conference. “If Flowers isn’t the best player in the AAC this season he won’t be far off.” You can see the correlation, and also how good the Owls’ roster is to be ranked second with the current quarterback situation.
Temple’s quarterback controversy has been well documented since the departure of Walker. Walker was the team’s starting QB for the past 3+ seasons and holds most Temple football records at that position. Now, the Owls need to find a new leader.
When camp started, Logan Marchi looked to be the incumbent starter. He had been Walker’s backup the previous season and received positive reviews on his leadership abilities. Obviously, when the spring game came around all eyes were on him. Sadly, Marchi struggled mightily completing just 4 of his 10 passes for 92 yards and 2 interceptions.
This opened the door for the QB’s (Frank Nutile, Anthony Russo, and Todd Centeio) to try and capture the starting spot. Since Russo and Nutile were older, and have better size than Centeio, it seemed that they would have a better chance of challenging Marchi. Oddly enough, that wasn’t true. Each quarterback was just, OK with little flashes here and there. Centeio on the other hand was impressive. He made good decisions and seemed comfortable in the pocket. On the day he racked up 110 yards and a touchdown, while completing 9 of his 13 passes.
Still, Marchi seems to have a good chance of starting come week 1. Marc Narducci of the Philly Inquirer said it best, “This job appeared in the spring to be Marchi’s to lose, and while he didn’t lose it, last year’s backup also wasn’t able to snag it.
Earlier in the spring Coach Collins went in front of the media and claimed he wanted to name a starting QB two weeks before the season started. The game is now nine days away and there has yet to be an announcement. Geoff Collins said after practice Thursday there’s a good chance more than one quarterback will play in the season opener. “I say two will play more than the others, and a third one could come in with a special package.”
Whoever starts next week behind center will have a lot on their plate, but will also have the luxury of a proven run game to fall back on. I wouldn’t count out the possibility of seeing two starting quarterbacks to shake things up for Notre Dame. With this much time to figure things out, you would like to assume the coaching staff will trot out a sufficient starter who can do a little learning but also maintain the flow of an offense.
For #1 on this list, Ryquell Amstead is a clear choice. Read our story on his newly awarded single digit, as the halfback will wear #7 for the Owls this season.