Walker joins notable names on Maxwell Award watch list

P.J. Walker’s name graced the Maxwell Award watch list released Monday, joining 32 other quarterbacks of the initial group of 75 players to survive the initial cut.

Walker impressed as the starter in Temple’s final seven games as a true freshman last season, completing 60.8 percent of his passes with 20 touchdown strikes and eight interceptions. A 59-49 shootout defeat to Southern Methodist featured what was arguably Walker’s best performance of the season when the Elizabeth, N.J. native hit 26 of his 37 passing attempts with four touchdown passes and zero interceptions.

The rising sophomore marks the first Temple player on the Maxwell watch list since former running back Bernard Pierce made the extended list in October of 2011.

Walker joins a recognizable field of quarterbacks on the list, including UCLA’s Brett Hundley, defending national champion Jameis Winston of Florida State, Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg.

The list will be trimmed to semifinalists on Nov. 3 with a final crop of candidates determined Nov. 24.

Anderson no longer at university

Robby Anderson, the football team’s leading receiver in 2013, is no longer with the team due to academic reasons.

The news was first reported by OwlScoop.com. Anderson’s reason for dismissal is reportedly due to academics. He is not listed on Temple’s public student directory.

Anderson redshirted in 2011 and played sporadically in 2012. After being switched to cornerback in spring practice last year, he left the team for personal reasons to be closer to home. Toward the end of the summer, he was allowed back on the team as a walk-on.

After not playing for the first three games of 2013, he broke out with 791 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns, leading the team in both categories. No other Temple player caught more than three touchdowns last season.

Former football coach elected to Hall of Fame

Wayne Hardin, who coached the football team from 1970 to 1982, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday night.

Hardin put up an 80-52-3 record in his 13 seasons and has the most wins of any coach in program history. He was at the helm when the Owls got their first bowl win, at the Garden State Bowl in 1979, when Temple defeated California.

“This is a great day for Temple University,” Athletic Director Kevin Clark said in a statement in April.. “Wayne Hardin is not only a Hall of Fame football coach, but a Hall of Fame person.  The entire Temple community is grateful that he has been selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.”

Noble leaves team

Defensive line coach Brandon Noble has left the team due to personal reasons, head coach Matt Rhule announced in a press conference Monday.

This was Noble’s first season with the Owls, after previously serving as a defensive line coach at Coastal Carolina University and West Chester University. Noble was a former teammate of Rhule’s at Penn State.

Football looks for second straight win

Temple (1-6, 0-3 American Athletic Conference) flew to Dallas, Texas on Friday afternoon as the team prepares for a conference match-up against SMU (2-4, 1-1 American Athletic Conference) on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.

After earning their first victory against Army last week, the Owls will look to spoil the Mustangs’ Homecoming game.

“We have to find a way to get to the quarterback and try to take away their big play threats,” coach Matt Rhule said. “On offense, we have to find and generate some kind of rushing attack. That’s been hard for us the last couple weeks.”

Entering his second week as the Owls’ starting quarterback, freshman P.J. Walker will look for his second career win on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m staying and watching more film than I usually do,” Walker said. “I’ve been preparing as the starter since day one of the season. Nothing has changed that much.”

Walker said the vibe in practice was more up-tempo now that the team has a win.

“They got the taste of winning, and now everybody is just going out and playing harder.”

The game will be broadcast on ESPN3. Click here for a season preview of SMU published this past summer by The Temple News.

Dunphy highest paid Temple coach

According to public information released by Temple, men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy was the highest paid employee in the athletics department during the 2011-12 fiscal year.

With a salary of $659,600, Dunphy was the fifth highest paid employee at Temple. Former football coach Steve Addazio was the seventh highest paid employee at Temple, with gross earnings of $612,414 during the same 2011-12 fiscal year.

Before Addazio’s arrival, former football coach Al Golden was the highest paid university employee with gross earnings of $898,031 during the 2010-11 fiscal year. Addazio left Temple after the 2012 season for a coaching position at Boston College, while Golden left after the 2010 season for a coaching position at the University of Miami.

Benson suspended from team

Senior fullback Wyatt Benson has been suspended from the football team following charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person resulting from an incident that occurred on April 27. Coach Matt Rhule told OwlScoop.com of the suspension following his Aug. 27 press conference.

Benson was named the male recipient of the Temple Teammates Community Service Award, which according to athletic communications is “given to student-athletes who have demonstrated leadership qualities in the area of community service, inspiring others to engage in similar selfless civic endeavors for the purpose of improving the quality of life for those in the local community.”

Benson played in all 11 games last season for the Owls.

Preperation for Notre Dame continues

As Temple readies for its matchup against Notre Dame on Saturday, coach Matt Rhule participated in the first weekly teleconference for The American Athletic Conference this afternoon.

Rhule discussed his team, and how it is preparing for its game in South Bend, Ind. later this week.

“We’ve had a good, hard physical training camp,” Rhule said. “I think we’ve really established the way we want to play and the way we want to run the program in terms of an emphasis on effort and tackling and blocking and just the fundamentals that with this team needed to happen.”

“This Saturday is obviously, for us, a tremendous opportunity to play in a storied place and play against, both historically and recently, one of the best programs in the nation.” Rhule added. “So for our players and for our program it’s a great opportunity to go out.”

What has stood out to Rhule in particular when watching film of Notre Dame, is the team’s defensive line.

“I think with them they have one of the best defensive lines in the country,” Rhule said. 
“[Senior] Louis Nix, we’re probably not sleeping around here thinking about him. Whatever he weighs, 350 pounds. He’s a dominant, dominant college football player that takes over games, establishes the line of scrimmage.”

Junior Stephon Tuitt and senior Prince Shembo were also mentioned by Rhule as impact players that stand out on the roster.

Rhule said that the Owls will visit Notre Dame Stadium after landing on Friday, as the team wants to visualize where they will be playing the next day. As Rhule points out, his team may have its hands full. 

“[The Fighting Irish] really are the complete package on both offense and defense,” he said.

Training Camp Recap (8/12 – 8/15)

Quarterback battle

The team’s quarterback battle has continued this week, as senior Clinton “Juice” Granger and redshirt freshman P.J. Walker compete with junior Connor Reilly for the starting job.

“We’re going to leave it as a competition,” Rhule said after practice Monday. “We’re going to keep this thing going until we make a decision as a staff.”

Rhule said that early in the week, Reilly was dealing with a sprained ankle.

“I think the biggest issue with [Reilly] is that he’s a little bit banged up,” Rhule said. “He’s struggling a little bit to get his feet underneath him to kind of move a little bit. Mentally I think he’s a tough kid. He knows that’s what this game is all about—a competition day in and day out.”

Meanwhile, Granger continues to make headway in his efforts to become this year’s starting quarterback.

“Juice is throwing the football really well,” Rhule said. “We know he can run, but he’s throwing the ball really well. They’re all getting better and better at it, so we’ll see what happens in the next scrimmage. But each day at practice, we’re grading and evaluating them.”

“We know we need to have three, four quarterbacks to have a chance to get through the season anyway,” Rhule added. “So, while it’s a competition to them, for us it’s just getting them ready to play.”

From WR to DE

Sophomore Romond Deloatch, who had two starts last year at wide receiver as a freshman, had quite an interesting week of camp.

After being late for a meeting, Rhule moved Deloatch to a different practice unit to “shake him up.” On Monday, Deloatch was playing alongside the defensive ends—and the Hampton, Va. native actually played well in his new role.

“He might have just been made at me so he said, ‘I’ll show you.’ He went ahead and had like five or six sacks. During camp you’ve always got to move some guys around. At the end of the day, we know we have to play Houston and they run 115 plays of three and four wides.”

“Even if a guy is going to start at receiver, if he can go out there and rush the passer, we’ll use him,” Rhule added. “We’re going to use everybody. If Bill Belichick can do it, we’re certainly going to try and do it.


Originally a tradition that was used by former Temple coach Al Golden, Matt Rhule is bringing back the “one through nine tough guy jerseys.”

Rhule, who was an assistant coach for Golden for five seasons, will be assigning the numbers one through nine to the athletes on the team that he believes most represent toughness.

The first year coach announced today that senior defensive lineman Levi Brown was the first to be awarded, with the number nine.

Last season, Brown mostly played nose tackle and tallied 27 tackles with 3.5 of them being for a loss. Rhule cited Brown losing five percent body fat over the summer, and his overall leadership in camp as reasons for his choice.

Rhule says he plans on handing out the other eight numbers within the next few days, and each athlete will be recognized in front of the entire team.

Real-life Owl to attend home games this season


Stella will be at Temple home games this season. // FOOTBALL COMMUNICATIONS

Meet Stella.

The three-and-a-half-year-old great horned owl from the Elmwood Park Zoo is set to attend Temple football home games this year, with a sideline view at Lincoln Financial Field.

The owl was at practice this afternoon, where she “met with” the Temple athletes and head coach Matt Rhule.