And it looks like that is not something that has happened this year, not yet. Kenneth Harper is a fine running back, Jalen Fitzpatrick is a perfectly adequate lead receiver, John Christopher is an OK second target. But Harper and Fitzpatrick are moving on after this year. Who are the guys that come up next, because that's the big question.
The biggest problems for Temple this year are that they are starting over from scratch along the offensive line. All of last year's starters are gone. Now Walker has the ability to make that less of an issue than it would be for a team with a statuesque quarterback. But it is still an issue, because the Owls are having a hell of a time running the football this year. Right now they are averaging 3.8 yards per carry and just 150 yards per game, that's not the worst thing in the world, but with someone as threatening as Walker in the backfield that should be higher. Until they can find a groove running the ball the Owls are going to struggle to create big plays in the passing game.
I love me some P.J. Walker, but at this point he is not a guy who can sit in the pocket and surgically take apart a defense that is baiting him. He is kind of an all or nothing guy in the passing game, and right now its nothing because Navy showed that they could have a lot of success ignoring the short game and playing the deep routes. That's the blueprint.
On the flip side of that the Temple defense continues to be very "meh." Tyler Matakevich is very good, the rest of his teammates are much more hit or miss. I like individual players on that group like Hersey Walton, Nate D. Smith and Tavon Young. But collectively I remain underwhelmed. I was much higher on this group after the Vanderbilt game, but the lack of focus and attention to detail against Navy (and the very NSFW performance of the Dore's against Ole Miss) has me rethinking that. I need to see more before I could sign off on an endorsement of the Owls winning with defense. Unfortunately that confirmation wouldn't come until October the 11th at the earliest.