Quarterback Frank Nutile of the Temple Owls hoists his MVP trophy following the Owls' 28-3 win over Fiu Golden Panthers at the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl on December 21, 2017 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Former Georgia Tech captain and ESPN sideline reporter Roddy Jones stands to his right. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images
Photo: Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Former Temple quarterback’s evaluation of Tech OC Dave Patenaude

Frank Nutile started 10 games for Temple and threw 274 passes for offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude. He’s finishing up a master’s degree in innovation management and entrepreneurship. He doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but he does know one thing – he’ll be keeping an eye on Georgia Tech, where Patenaude followed coach Geoff Collins to run the Yellow Jackets’ offense.

“He’s put up numbers everywhere he’s been,” Nutile told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s exciting to see what he does down there.”

In two seasons with Patenaude, Nutile completed 164 of 274 passes (60 percent), averaged 8.0 yards per attempt (first-team All-ACC quarterback Ryan Finley of N.C. State averaged 8.1 last season) and had 16 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. He expressed enthusiasm about his time with Patenaude.

“He’s great as an offensive coordinator, too, because he really lets the quarterback have the pen in their hand last and check what they see,” Nutile said. “There was times I would have two to three checks to get us in the best play and he trusted me and the other quarterbacks to put us in a position to make the best play.”

A strength of his, Nutile said, was finding ways to get the ball in the hands of playmakers, like running back Ryquell Armstead, named all-conference in the American Athletic Conference with 1,098 rushing yards and 5.2 yards per carry in 10 games in 2018.

“Obviously, a spread offense, you’re not really under center, (but) he found ways to run power out of shotgun where he’s still getting Ryquell downhill,” Nutile said.

Armstead was one of 15 players who either had a run play or reception of 20 yards or more this past season.

“You can go down the list,” Nutile said. “He really knows how to make the most out of the personnel he has and getting the best out of those players, for sure.”

Creativity will be a critical asset for an offense that is shifting schemes and will have a roster built for coach Paul Johnson’s option offense.

“That whole offensive staff’s going to be really good at manufacturing explosive plays and getting their guys who need to touch the ball to be successful on offense,” Nutile said.

The numbers mostly cast Temple’s offense as a mid-tier unit in the AAC. In league play in 2018, the Owls were fourth in scoring, fourth in yards per play, eighth in third-down conversion rate and tied for sixth in turnovers in the 12-team league. However, Temple’s passing yardage totals in 2017 and 2018 were the third and second most in school history, respectively. Three offensive players made all-conference in 2018.

The Owls played at a fairly fast pace, averaging 2.5 plays per minute of possession. The fastest teams are closer to 2.8 or higher. Last season, Tech and its ball-control offense averaged 2.0 plays per minute, one of the slowest rates in FBS.

“I’d say the biggest thing is it’s definitely fast, up-tempo, really putting pressure on the defense to make their checks quick,” Nutile said. “It’s fun to watch, for sure. It’s definitely fun to play in.”

Nutile also praised Patenaude as a teacher, “making sure we were all on the same page and we were able to pick it up, and that’s a testament to him as a coach, where he knows how to reach his players.” Patenaude was one to explain the “why” of schemes and plays, “why everything’s going to be there, why this will work for this coverage, and it really helped me develop as a player.”

Nutile also appreciated Patenaude’s personal style, saying that he coached him hard, “but at the end of the day, he’s going to put his arm around you. He genuinely cares about your success, not only as a football player, but also growing up as a man.”

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