As Isaiah Wright sat in the front row of his Organizational Communication class in Ritter Hall, he received a text message.
Redshirt-junior quarterback Frank Nutile sent the sophomore wideout a video explaining how Temple’s offense could exploit Navy’s secondary on Nov. 2.
“He was right,” said Wright, who had four carries and three catches in Temple’s 34-26 win.
“That’s just Nutile,” he added. “He’s just always trying to give everybody the edge that they need to be successful.”
Coach Geoff Collins gave Nutile the nickname “Frankie Juice” because of the way his teammates and coaches gravitate toward him. After Temple scored a touchdown against Navy, Nutile ran up and down the sideline butting helmets with his teammates to hype up the kickoff squad.
Nutile has started Temple’s past three games. He has a 2-1 record as a starter and has completed 61-of-89 passes for 803 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
The day after the Owls beat Navy, Nutile texted Collins and offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude while they were on a recruiting trip about how Temple could take advantage of Cincinnati’s defense in the red zone.
Temple scored all four times it reached the red zone during Friday’s 35-24 win against the Bearcats.
“I’m trying to stay to the same process just really trying to prepare, almost over prepare…so I feel confident,” Nutile said. “And also us and the O-line have been getting in there watching the blitz tape the last couple of weeks, and that’s really helped us out a lot.”
Nutile didn’t just start these habits at Temple.
While Nutile played high school football at Don Bosco Prep in North Jersey, the team watched film together before every practice. Nutile got a head start on his teammates.
During lunch, Nutile brought his food into former offensive coordinator Drew Lascari’s office to watch film instead of eating in the cafeteria. Lascari said Nutile consumed film to the point where he would finish the coaches’ sentences during sessions.
“He was just obsessed with being great,” Lascari said.
Nutile’s father, Robert Nutile, said his son’s friends even got frustrated with him when they played Madden on Xbox. Robert Nutile remembers his son’s friends running up the basement steps and quitting after Frank Nutile switched plays after seeing his friend’s defense.
“Even when playing a video game, he’s looking at, ‘What type of match-ups can I get? What situation was the best situation to get it to my guys?’” said Robert Nutile, who played quarterback at the University of Louisville and University of Maryland in the 1980s.
Frank Nutile said having a father who played at the Division I level is a huge help because he can rely on him for advice before games. But Robert Nutile said his son’s work ethic and the competition he faced at Don Bosco are reasons he has had recent success at Temple.
Frank Nutile’s junior season at Don Bosco ended when the team lost to Bergen Catholic High School in the playoffs. The next morning, Frank Nutile was in his garage jumping rope and training with an agility ladder. Then, he went to work out at K-Strength Sports Training in Fairfield, New Jersey.
“I said, ‘Frank, take off a couple of days,’” Robert Nutile said.
“‘Nah, I can’t, Dad. I gotta get ready for next year,’” Robert Nutile said his son told him.
During Frank Nutile’s senior season at Don Bosco, he suffered a hamstring injury midway through the year that kept him sidelined until Lascari called his number late in the fourth quarter of a game against Bergen Catholic.
Frank Nutile didn’t play the previous four weeks, Lascari said, but his passes of 26 and 12 yards led the Ironmen down the field to hit a 42-yard field goal and tie the game. Don Bosco ended up beating Bergen Catholic, 23-17, in triple-overtime.
“That’s just who Frank Nutile is,” Lascari said. “He eats adversity for breakfast.”
When it comes to eating, Frank Nutile also has his teammates covered.
On Nov. 5, he invited the team’s offensive line to his room at the Diamond Green Apartments on 10th and Diamond streets to eat and watch Sunday Night Football.
Before games, Frank Nutile’s mother, Rosemarie Nutile, drops off homemade Italian dishes, like baked ziti, meatballs, lasagna and quarts of “gravy” for him and his roommates.
Senior defensive lineman Jacob Martin, who has lived with Frank Nutile throughout college, is no stranger to Rosemarie Nutile’s cooking. Because he is from Colorado and can’t easily go home for holidays, Martin visits the Nutiles.
The Nutiles “definitely accepted” Martin into their family, he said.
“I think that’s a great thing to have that type of camaraderie and that closeness,” Robert Nutile said. “You go to war with those guys every week, so definitely, I like when I hear that. I like when I hear that stuff.”