College Football Preview: The 2014 Temple Owls
Temple will be improved if some of the youngsters can contribute.
2014 College Football Preview
Temple looks for improved play on both sides of the ball with some help from a quality recruiting class.
Overview: Even though Temple went just 2-10 a season ago they weren't completely outclassed with five losses coming by a single score. The offense and defense need a boost but I don't think the situation is broken beyond repair with Matt Rhule able to land some talent on the recruiting trail.
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Offense: Connor Reilley began the year as the starter under center but he turned out to be a little more then a 50% passer so freshman PJ Walker was given a shot and the results were night and day. Walker finished 2013 with 2,084 yards on 60.8% with 20 scores and eight picks (8 starts). Walker also was the 3rd leading rusher with 470 yards and seven yard average. The problem in 2014 is the pass happy Owls lose two of their top three receivers which leaves Jalen Fitzpatrick (38-429) and John Christopher (31-331) as the top targets. Everybody returns in the ground attack with Kenneth Harper and Zaire Williams combining for 1,145 yards on 237 carries The O-Line loses four of the top six but get back five with starting experience.
Defense: In 2013 Temple was a decent run stopping squad but were pummeled through the air. The defensive line saw eight players see the field in at least nine games and get six of them back. The linebacking unit appears to be loaded with six of the top seven back including Tyler Matakevich who recorded a whopping 121.5 tackles with 11.5 TFL. When we look at the secondary on paper they don't appear to be in extremely bad shape with six of eight returning but this group was passed on quite easily so when I mentioned above the Owls did a good job reruiting, nine three star recruits are in the secondary and my guess is most will get a shot at playing immediately and hopefully get help from the pass rush.
Special Teams: This area needs plenty of help with a punter, placekicker and punt returner that ned finding. Only Jahad Thomas has experience at bringing back kicks.
Outlook: The Owls have some quality players but are not ready to make noise in the AAC. They will improve but will have a lot of youth that has little or no experience so may be in a year or two this team makes some noise.