It looks like the QB competition is heating up on North Broad Street – or 10th & Diamond, whatever. Either way, the guy who was getting the most talk as the #1 guy in Logan Marchi looked God awful on Saturday. The QBs were the big focus at the Spring Game, but there was a lot to take out of it too.
The set-up for the game this year was the best they’ve had in the past 4 years. They actually had bleachers along the sidelines instead of making everyone stand at the exact same level and not being able to see anything. The music actually wasn’t unbearably loud, and there were a couple of big screens to watch on if the action was at the other end of the field. The worst part about it was the guys tasked with making sure nobody stood in specific areas to watch the game. You could tell these hardos absolutely loved the minimal amount of power they were given. We were standing in a spot where we could see these guys booting fans from a certain area whenever they stopped. Dressed in their little black Temple Football polos and hiked up khaki shorts, these guys made sure that everyone within ear shot heard them telling a family of four they had to keep it moving. Bravo to them.
There were also about 3 CSC event staff security guards for every person in attendance. Not really sure why. With roughly 70% of the crowd being alumni who actually played for the team at some point, it was pretty unnecessary.
As for the actual game, there were moments of brilliance and moments of sloppiness, which is to be expected at a Spring Game being played in the rain. As I mentioned before, Marchi did not look good. In the time that we were at the game, we saw him rush a throw, overthrow a short pass to the running back, and then sidearm a pass into traffic that was intercepted and was described by the balding gentleman behind me as “the worst pass he had ever fucking seen.” Centeio had his moments, but also looked uncomfortable at times. If his first read wasn’t there, he seemed to get happy feet and break the pocket. It certainly didn’t help that the O-line didn’t look to great, but Centeio showed his inexperience here. He did hit a bomb down the left sideline and also had the “game-winning” touchdown pass to Marshall Ellick.
Frank Nutile looked surprisingly well as he hit Freddy Johnson for a 37-yard touchdown. It was good to see Nutile play well, but having been here so long, it seems like we already know what we have with Frank the Tank. His ceiling is much lower than the other 3 options. Russo played decent as well. There was nothing that stood out for Russo, but he also didn’t force anything or hold onto the ball too long. He hit a lot of short throws and got rid of the ball when he had to.
Aside from the quarterbacks, the running backs looked strong as well. We already know that Ryquell Armstead is a beast, but man, that dude can play. Every time he touched the ball we were saying to each other, “he’s so good” and “we’re so lucky to have him this year.” With the state of QB uncertain, Armstead might have to be a bell cow for this team. Jager Gardner also looked strong, especially on the opening series when he had a few impressive runs and leapt over 4th-year starter Sean Chandler. With the back-up role at RB wide-open, it would be huge if Gardner could finally turn the corner. We’ve seen flashes from him, most notably his long TD run against SMU 2 years ago in which he busted through a gaping hole and went untouched the rest of the way. We know Gardner can outrun anyone in a straight line, but expanding his capabilities would be enormous for this team.
The defense looked strong overall. This receiving core is the deepest position on the roster, and the secondary did a solid job of shutting them down for the most part. Having Chandler and Delvon Randall as the safeties for a new linebacking crew and whoever ends up at cornerback is huge. With almost complete turnover at o-line, the front seven really got pressure on the quarterback all day. Even Keith Kirkwood recorded a sack, who may be taking over as the new Romond Deloatch.
Overall, it was a solid day of football. We reconfirmed a lot of things we already knew, and got more insight into what is going to happen over the next year.