On Monday following practice, Temple coach Matt Rhule made it clear that freshman quarterback P.J. Walker has as good a shot as any of the quarterback on the roster to start the season-opener at Notre Dame on Aug. 31.
“Oh, yeah, absolutely,’ is how Rhule responded when I asked him on Monday afternoon if the Newark Star-Ledger’s 2013 Offensive Player of the Year might be his starting quarterback when the season began. “”He’s a very talented kid and he’s got the right demeanor and work ethic.”
Rhule said that sometimes he’ll walk in on the quarterbacks and put a certain protection scheme on the board – one that he thinks is pretty advanced - trying to stump his quarterbacks.
“Some guys struggle with it,” Rhule says, “but he just consumes it, studies it and comes back. So besides his ability he also has the right approach. And that’s what you’re looking for. You’re looking for a guy whose approach is that he’s hungry to be a leader and he is. So I’m excited about his future – whether it’s this year or not I don’t know - but we’re trying to prepare him to be the starter along with those other two.”
Connor Reilly started training camp atop the depth chart. However, Reilly – who has yet to start a game for Temple – has fallen back to the pack and is now battling Juice Granger and Walker.
As a senior at Elizabeth High School, Walker completed 107 of 156 passes for 2,012 yards, 23 touchdowns and just one interception. Walker led Elizabeth to a 37-33 victory over Piscataway in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 championship game. He completed 14 of 23 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns in that game; his final TD pass was the game-winning, 49-yarder with 32 second remaining.
NOTE: Former Monsignor Bonner standout Anthony Becht, a 2000 first-round draft pick by the New York Jets, who currently serves as an analyst for ESPN, was at Temple’s practice. Brecht will be doing a number of American Athletic Conference games this fall.