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The big 2014 Temple football preview: Owls were downright decent after September

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Temple has a potential star in sophomore quarterback P.J. Walker, but it might take another year for the pieces to fall into place. Despite a 2-10 campaign, there's a future here, but it probably doesn't start until 2015.

SB Nation 2014 College Football Countdown

Confused? Check out the advanced-stats glossary here.

1. There's hope

Temple went 4-42 from 2003-06. We all have a pretty good understanding of how tough this job was in the not-too-distant past, but in case you needed a reminder, there it is. And as a fan of a school that was once bad, then became good, I know that there is a nagging feeling in your gut even when things are going well.

Even when Temple was surging — from 4-42 to 9-15 in 2007-08, to 26-12 from 2009-11 — Owl fans had to have a bit of doubt, a bit of a lingering "What if things fall apart again?" worry. And at first glance, it certainly appears as if those concerns were justified; after three straight strong seasons and a top-25 F/+ ranking in 2011 (the 9-4 Owls were 25th), they fell to 4-7 and 84th in 2012. And after head coach Steve Addazio took the Boston College job, Matt Rhule took over, and Temple fell to 2-10 and 98th.

From a macro view, it appears the cycle is complete. Temple is back to the bottom of the FBS pecking order.

From a micro view, however, there's still hope. First, despite an awful record, Rhule inked the No. 59 class in the country according to Rivals.com; the Owls tied in the rankings with Iowa and Wake Forest and finished ahead of schools like Colorado, Boise State, Utah, Northwestern, and Cincinnati. Granted, they had larger classes than all of those teams (sans Wake), but still, this is excellent major-conference company for a mid-major team that did so poorly last year. It might not mean a lot for the 2014 team, but it certainly sets the table for future seasons.

Second, the 2013 team actually wasn't that bad after September. We'll get into this more below, but while the Owls were almost the worst FBS team in the country over the first month of the season — it takes quite a bit to lose to both Fordham and Idaho — they actually played pretty well once the calendar hit October. They were a combined 13 points from winning their final four games of the year, and it took some incredible, unlikely heroics for eventual AAC champion UCF to survive its trip to Philadelphia on Nov. 16. The offense improved dramatically, and the defense went from horrific to below average. This improvement took place over a long enough period of time (six to eight games, basically) that it could be considered sustainable, especially considering some of the star power that returns in the offensive backfield and at linebacker.

Temple almost certainly isn't going to be a good team in 2014. But there is evidence to suggest that while the Owls did indeed lose double-digit games for the first time since 2006 last fall, they have a future that is far from destitute. They should improve a bit this coming season, and they could improve quite a bit more in 2015.

2013 Schedule & Results

Record: 2-10 | Adj. Record: 6-6 | Final F/+ Rk: 98
Date Opponent Opp. F/+ Rk Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L 5-gm Adj. Avg.
31-Aug at Notre Dame 26 6-28 L 22.6 - 39.5 L
7-Sep Houston 46 13-22 L 21.3 - 30.4 L
14-Sep Fordham N/A 29-30 L 20.9 - 60.3 L
28-Sep at Idaho 116 24-26 L 19.0 - 39.3 L
5-Oct Louisville 12 7-30 L 34.4 - 30.2 W -16.3
11-Oct at Cincinnati 64 20-38 L 41.3 - 30.3 W -10.7
19-Oct Army 100 33-14 W 23.0 - 22.0 W -8.7
26-Oct at SMU 84 49-59 L 43.2 - 50.3 L -2.2
2-Nov at Rutgers 91 20-23 L 29.2 - 35.1 L 0.7
16-Nov Central Florida 21 36-39 L 43.7 - 37.3 W 1.1
23-Nov Connecticut 93 21-28 L 25.8 - 22.2 W -0.4
30-Nov at Memphis 83 41-21 W 39.0 - 23.2 W 2.6
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk Spec. Tms. Rk
F/+ -0.2% 63 -13.6% 116 -2.2% 100
Points Per Game 24.9 89 29.8 83
Adj. Points Per Game 30.3 53 35.0 109

2. Just about the worst September imaginable

Temple allowed 6.4 yards per play to Fordham and averaged 3.9 against Houston. In the first four games of the year, the Owls gained more than 385 yards just once (410 against Idaho) and allowed fewer than 520 once (478 against Idaho). The Owls started 0-4, but the scores weren't even indicative of how badly they were getting outplayed; their yardage margin was minus-181 against Notre Dame, minus-224 against Houston, minus-135 against Fordham (!) and minus-68 against Idaho. This was a bad, bad team at the start of the year, perhaps the worst in FBS.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 4 games): Opponent 42.4, Temple 21.0 (minus-21.4)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 8 games): Temple 35.0, Opponent 31.3 (plus-3.7)

Though the score and yardage don't really indicate it, the ship began to turn around against Louisville. Against Cincinnati, the Owls actually outgained the Bearcats on a per-play basis (6.7 to 6.0) but couldn't hold onto the ball. The offense came alive against SMU and Rutgers, and the defense showed serious signs of life against UConn and Memphis.

To be sure, Temple still had plenty of deficiencies. Despite improved play, the Owls still managed to go 1-6 in an iffy conference, and overall, they still beat only Army and a Memphis team that had run out of gas. But there was clear, definitive improvement here. And a lot of it coincided with Rhule's decision to hand the reins to a freshman quarterback.

Offense

FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.12 72 IsoPPP+ 99.7 63
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 45.8% 35 Succ. Rt. + 100.9 57
FIELD POSITION Def. Avg. FP 29.8 65 Def. FP+ 97.4 84
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.4 55 Redzone S&P+ 110.4 27
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 18.3 ACTUAL 19 +0.7
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 75 63 58 63
RUSHING 82 37 28 57
PASSING 46 82 86 62
Standard Downs 47 43 61
Passing Downs 89 88 54
Q1 Rk 54 1st Down Rk 65
Q2 Rk 40 2nd Down Rk 75
Q3 Rk 116 3rd Down Rk 43
Q4 Rk 61

3. A pass-first offense that struggled to pass

The offense clearly improved over the final two-thirds of the season, but this was still a situation in which the strengths of the personnel didn't match the intentions of the offensive coordinator. Rhule appointed Marcus Satterfield to the O.C. position when he came to town; Satterfield had previously overseen the spreading-out of a pass-happy Chattanooga offense, and despite Rhule's own run-first leanings, Temple threw the ball a lot in 2013 — about 5 percent more than the national average on standard downs and almost nine percent more on passing downs.

The problem is that the Owls couldn't really pass. The offense's biggest strength was run blocking. Its next-biggest strength was at the running back position. And even when freshman quarterback P.J. Walker began to emerge and show serious potential as a runner, he still averaged 38 passes per game over his final five starts. He was occasionally good at passing, mind you — 20-for-32 for 328 yards, four scores, and one interception against Memphis, for instance — but this was indeed an offense that seemed to play away from its strengths, even as it uncovered more strengths. We'll see how that changes as Walker continues to mature and the receiving corps looks for a couple of new go-tos.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2014 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp
Rate
Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
P.J. Walker 6'1, 200 So. 2 stars (5.4) 152 250 2084 20 8 60.8% 23 8.4% 7.1
Connor Reilly 6'3, 215 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 76 148 771 2 2 51.4% 7 4.5% 4.5
Clinton Granger 6 16 58 0 1 37.5% 1 5.9% 2.7
Thomas Rumer 6'3, 212 So. NR
Frank Nutile 6'4, 199 Fr. 3 stars (5.5)

4. A world of potential

The Connor Reilly experiment just wasn't working out. Against Notre Dame, Houston and Idaho, Reilly threw 44 passes per game but completed just 50 percent of them at just 10.3 yards per completion. If you're passing first, you need to be gaining more than five yards per pass to be effective. (Actually, that goes for if you're passing first, second, third, or ever.) Against Louisville, Satterfield and Rhule decided to give the lion's share of the signal calling to a freshman from Elizabeth, N.J. The result: barring injury, Temple has its quarterback for the foreseeable future.

In eight games as Temple's No. 1 quarterback, P.J. Walker managed a passer rating of at least 150.0 five times. He also rushed for 92 yards against SMU and 59 against Memphis. He took quite a few sacks, as mobile quarterbacks are wont to do, but his per-attempt yardage (including sacks) was still almost 60 percent better than Reilly's. And in his last six starts, his completion percentage rose to 63 percent.

Walker has some serious tools here, and people are noticing. He's heading to the Manning Passing Academy in July, and he gives Temple a marketable star for potentially the next three years.

Like so many mobile QBs, Walker has to better learn when to throw the ball away instead of trusting his legs to get him out of trouble. And while his interception rate was acceptable for a freshman, it will still need to improve. But he's shown far more potential than a two-star true sophomore is supposed to have revealed at this point.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
Opp.
Rate
Kenneth Harper RB 6'0, 225 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 136 612 9 4.5 4.2 37.5%
Zaire Williams RB 5'11, 195 So. 3 stars (5.7) 101 533 3 5.3 4.8 40.6%
P.J. Walker QB 6'1, 200 So. 2 stars (5.4) 67 470 3 7.0 8.4 43.3%
Jamie Gilmore RB 5'8, 190 Jr. 3 stars (5.7) 34 179 0 5.3 4.5 47.1%
Connor Reilly QB 6'3, 215 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 27 168 1 6.2 3.8 55.6%
Clinton Granger QB 8 49 1 6.1 3.1 50.0%
Chris Coyer TE 7 42 0 6.0 3.7 42.9%
Bashir Lee RB 5'9, 180 RSFr. 3 stars (5.7)
David Hood RB 5'11, 190 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)




Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Target
Rate
%SD Yds/
Target
NEY Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Robbie Anderson WR 78 44 791 56.4% 20.1% 60.9% 10.1 220 10.9 104.8
Jalen Fitzpatrick WR 5'11, 180 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 75 38 429 50.7% 19.3% 60.6% 5.7 -94 5.9 56.8
Ryan Alderman WR 57 40 548 70.2% 14.7% 53.8% 9.6 84 9.2 72.6
John Christopher WR 5'10, 185 Jr. NR 54 31 331 57.4% 13.9% 50.9% 6.1 -67 6.3 43.8
Kenneth Harper RB 6'0, 225 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 33 26 241 78.8% 8.5% 54.8% 7.3 -45 6.8 31.9
Chris Coyer TE 28 20 277 71.4% 7.2% 58.3% 9.9 47 10.7 36.7
Zaire Williams RB 5'11, 195 So. 3 stars (5.7) 18 11 128 61.1% 4.6% 62.5% 7.1 -9 5.9 17.0
Nate Hairston WR 6'0, 185 So. 2 stars (5.3) 12 7 62 58.3% 3.1% 33.3% 5.2 -27 6.9 8.2
Romond Deloatch TE 6'4, 225 Jr. 3 stars (5.5) 11 3 35 27.3% 2.8% 54.5% 3.2 -26 3.2 4.6
Chris Parthemore TE 10 6 51 60.0% 2.6% 33.3% 5.1 -24 5.3 6.8
Tyler Karpinski WR 6 4 22 66.7% 1.5% 100.0% 3.7 -26 3.1 2.9
Clinton Granger QB 3 2 37 66.7% 0.8% 100.0% 12.3 13 6.9 4.9
Samuel Benjamin WR 6'0, 195 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 2 2 12 100.0% 0.5% 100.0% 6.0 -8 3.3 1.6
Khalif Herbin WR 5'7, 170 So. 2 stars (5.4)
Delvon Randall WR 6'0, 190 Fr. 3 stars (5.5)
Brodrick Yancy WR 5'11, 184 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)
Ventell Bryant WR 6'3, 160 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)
Derrick Ingram WR 6'1, 193 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)

5. Might want to run more

In 2013, seven Temple wideouts and tight ends were targeted more than 10 times. Only three averaged better than a paltry 6.1 yards per target; all three are gone. Without Robbie Anderson (18.0 yards per catch as a freshman before basically flunking off of the team), Ryan Alderman (70 percent catch rate), and Chris Coyer (71 percent catch rate), Walker's receiving corps might have some inexperience issues in 2014. Jalen Fitzpatrick is a potentially decent possession receiver, but when it comes to stretching the field, Temple might be relying on sophomore Khalif Herbin or a newcomer. Three-star receiver Deivon Randall enters the fold, as do quite a few high-two-star targets. But this is a young group.

Meanwhile, running backs Kenneth Harper and Zaire Williams both return; they were lacking a bit from a big-play perspective, but their efficiency numbers are strong, especially when accompanied by the threat of Walker running. Plus, Bashir Lee, a one-time Tennessee commitment, also joins the fold. Temple once again seems to have more potential on the ground than through the air; we'll see if this impacts the offensive philosophy.

It does bear mentioning, by the way, that a very good offensive line must replace four players who had combined for 56 career starts. Five players with starting experience return, and star recruit Aaron Ruff joins

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 110 3.19 3.26 41.6% 67.3% 20.5% 83.3 4.9% 8.8%
Rank 29 25 65 40 70 78 89 74 93
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Career Starts Honors/Notes
Jeff Whittingham LG 22
Kyle Friend C 6'2, 305 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 21
Zach Hooks RT 6'6, 300 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 21
Pete White RG 14
Cody Booth LT 11
Sean Boyle RT 9
Brendan McGowan LG 6'4, 300 So. 2 stars (5.3) 3
Jacob Quinn C 6'5, 295 Jr. NR 2
Dion Dawkins LT 6'5, 325 So. 2 stars (5.4) 2
Leon Johnson LT 6'6, 300 RSFr. NR 0
Adam Metz RG 6'5, 295 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 0
Eric Lofton RT 6'5, 300 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 0
Aaron Ruff OL 6'4, 295 Fr. 4 stars (5.8)
James McHale OL 6'6, 298 Fr. 3 stars (5.5)

Defense

FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.24 103 IsoPPP+ 92.5 104
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 46.3% 99 Succ. Rt. + 84.7 112
FIELD POSITION Off. Avg. FP 27.0 111 Off. FP+ 90.6 124
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.3 76 Redzone S&P+ 92.1 83
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 14.2 ACTUAL 13.0 -1.2
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 110 115 112 110
RUSHING 77 94 86 97
PASSING 121 118 123 117
Standard Downs 114 104 116
Passing Downs 107 109 47
Q1 Rk 107 1st Down Rk 115
Q2 Rk 120 2nd Down Rk 102
Q3 Rk 101 3rd Down Rk 90
Q4 Rk 94

6. Opponents knew to pass

I spent a lot of words on the offense, mainly because the offense is potentially exciting and interesting. The defense still has quite a bit of work to do. Temple had one of the least-efficient pass defenses in the country, with an ineffective pass rush and mostly feckless secondary. The run defense wasn't terrible, but opponents knew they could get yards through the air anytime they wanted. Louisville, SMU and UCF combined to complete 89 of 129 (69 percent) for 1,290 yards, 10 touchdowns and no picks, and for the season, opponents threw 24 touchdown passes to only three interceptions.

The Owls were terribly young in 2013 — just look at the number of returning sophomores and juniors below with lofty tackle totals — and did improve as the year progressed. They have a potentially strong set of linebackers and all sorts of newcomers in the secondary, but as we saw last year, the offense will come around before the defense does.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 90.3 2.66 4.32 39.3% 55.3% 19.1% 56.3 3.5% 3.7%
Rank 106 28 126 66 7 64 121 94 116
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Matt Ioannidis DE 6'4, 285 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 12 24.5 3.3% 7.5 3.0 0 0 1 0
Kamal Johnson DT 12 15.0 2.0% 3.0 1.0 0 2 0 0
Hershey Walton NT 6'4, 300 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 12 14.5 2.0% 2.0 1.0 0 1 0 0
Levi Brown DT 10 14.5 2.0% 2.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Haason Reddick DE 6'1, 215 So. NR 9 12.5 1.7% 4.0 1.0 0 1 0 0
Sean Daniels DE 3 10.5 1.4% 3.0 2.0 0 0 0 0
Averee Robinson NT 6'1, 285 So. 2 stars (5.3) 11 8.5 1.2% 1.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Shahbaz Ahmed DE 6'3, 255 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 10 7.5 1.0% 3.0 2.0 0 0 1 0
Kiser Terry DE 6'3, 250 So. 3 stars (5.5) 6 6.0 0.8% 2.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Shahid Paulhill DL 5 5.5 0.7% 1.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
Brandon Chudnoff DE 6'2, 250 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 9 5.0 0.7% 2.5 0.0 0 0 0 0
Bryan Osei DL 6'2, 250 So. 2 stars (5.4) 6 3.0 0.4% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Avery Ellis DE 6'2, 235 So. 2 stars (5.3)
Michael Dogbe DE 6'3, 223 Fr. 3 stars (5.5)
Freddie Booth-Lloyd DE 6'3, 225 Fr. 3 stars (5.5)






Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Tyler Matakevich WLB 6'1, 230 Jr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 121.5 16.5% 11.5 1.0 1 0 3 0
Nate D. Smith MLB 6'0, 230 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 12 56.5 7.7% 6.0 3.0 0 4 0 1
Blaze Caponegro SLB 10 38.0 5.2% 5.5 0.0 0 1 0 0
Sharif Finch SLB 6'4, 218 So. 2 stars (5.4) 11 26.0 3.5% 4.0 2.0 0 1 0 0
Rob Dvoracek SLB 6'2, 230 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 8 17.5 2.4% 3.0 0.0 0 3 0 0
Jarred Alwan MLB 6'1, 230 So. 3 stars (5.6) 12 17.5 2.4% 2.0 1.0 0 1 0 0
Michael Felton LB 6'0, 215 Jr. NR 12 6.0 0.8% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Avery Williams WLB 5'10, 200 So. 2 stars (5.3) 9 5.0 0.7% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Buddy Brown LB 6'3, 215 RSFr. 3 stars (5.6)
Jared Folks LB 6'2, 218 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)






7. Quality at linebacker

Again, there were some strengths in the front seven. Temple was fantastic against short-yardage rushing, and the top six linebackers combined for 32 tackles for loss. Tyler Matakevich was one of nation's best tackling-machine linebackers, Nate D. Smith is a developing play-maker, and tackle Hersey Walton is a nice roadblock up front.

As you see here, most of Temple's high-quality recruiting came on the defensive side of the ball; if three-star prospects like Freddie Booth-Lloyd, Jared Folks, or 2013 signee Buddy Brown came make an early impact, Temple could have the depth for an improved run defense overall. There's nothing saying the pass rush will improve, however.

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Abdul Smith FS 12 63.5 8.6% 2 0 1 2 2 0
Tavon Young CB 5'10, 160 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 12 46.0 6.3% 1 0 1 5 1 0
Anthony Robey CB 5'10, 190 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 12 43.0 5.9% 2 0 0 3 0 0
Jihaad Pretlow SS 5'11, 190 So. 2 stars (5.4) 12 33.0 4.5% 2 0 0 4 0 0
Stephaun Marshall SS 5'11, 190 So. 2 stars (5.4) 12 30.0 4.1% 1.5 0 0 2 0 0
Zamel Johnson CB 12 30.0 4.1% 0 0 0 2 0 0
Brandon Shippen CB 5'11, 185 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 12 14.0 1.9% 0 0 0 1 0 0
Will Hayes DB 5'9, 182 Jr. NR 10 13.0 1.8% 0 0 0 0 1 0
Jahad Thomas CB 5'10, 170 So. 2 stars (5.2) 10 4.0 0.5% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Brian Burns DB 9 4.0 0.5% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nate Hairston CB 6'0, 185 So. 2 stars (5.3)
Nate L. Smith FS 6'1, 185 So. 3 stars (5.7)
Boye Aromire
(Virginia Tech)
DB 6'0, 192 Jr. 3 stars (5.7)
Artrel Foster DB 6'0, 170 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)
Shahid Lovett DB 6'2, 205 Jr. 3 stars (5.6)
Khiry Lucas DB 6'1, 185 Jr. 3 stars (5.5)
Alex Wells DB 6'0, 202 Jr. 3 stars (5.5)
Anthony Davis DB 6'1, 175 Fr. 3 stars (5.7)
Cequan Jefferson DB 5'11, 175 Fr. 3 stars (5.6)
Sean Chandler DB 5'11, 173 Fr. 3 stars (5.5)
Shamir Bearfield DB 5'11, 175 Fr. 3 stars (5.5)

8. A total transfusion in the secondary

So ... do you think Rhule may have felt the need for an upgrade in the secondary? In the 2014 recruiting class, Temple added three three-star junior college defensive backs and four three-star freshmen. Virginia Tech transfer Boye Aromire is also eligible, and former star recruit Nate L. Smith could potentially be ready for a larger role.

Whoever ends up actually playing, Temple clearly needed an upgrade. There were certainly some youth issues in this unit, with two freshmen and a sophomore among the top five in the rotation. But even taking a bad pass rush into account, the secondary was lacking. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow has options now; we'll see if he can find four players who can take a little bit of pressure off of the front seven.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Paul Layton 61 42.8 3 16 24 65.6%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB OOB TB%
Jim Cooper, Jr. 6'1, 195 So. 45 58.9 6 0 13.3%
Paul Layton 6 55.2 0 2 0.0%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Nick Visco 32-35 3-5 60.0% 0-0 N/A
Jim Cooper, Jr. 6'1, 195 So. 1-3 0-2 0.0% 0-1 0.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Jahad Thomas KR 5'10, 170 So. 24 19.8 0
Robbie Anderson KR 10 21.5 0
Ryan Alderman PR 10 5.8 0
Robbie Anderson PR 4 4.3 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 100
Field Goal Efficiency 125
Punt Return Efficiency 34
Kick Return Efficiency 67
Punt Efficiency 24
Kickoff Efficiency 81
Opponents' Field Goal Efficiency 37

9. A special teams reset

Temple was awful in the place-kicking department, strong at punting and decent at punt returns in 2013. This means nothing, as the chief place-kicker, starting punter, and lead return men Ryan Alderman and Robbie Anderson are gone. Experience is minimal.

2014 Schedule & Projection Factors

2014 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
28-Aug at Vanderbilt 58
6-Sep Navy 67
20-Sep Delaware State NR
27-Sep at Connecticut 86
11-Oct Tulsa 64
17-Oct at Houston 41
25-Oct at Central Florida 24
1-Nov East Carolina 72
7-Nov Memphis 95
15-Nov at Penn State 38
29-Nov Cincinnati 54
6-Dec at Tulane 90
Five-Year F/+ Rk -3.4% (68)
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 72
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -6 / -4.1
TO Luck/Game -0.8
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 13 (6, 7)

10. Like the Big East was, the AAC is loaded in the middle

And that might be a problem for teams like Temple and others (like Memphis) looking to move up in stature.

Temple might have the pieces in place to sustain last season's late improvement, and make no mistake: after September, Temple was a better team than the record would suggest; the Owls were a small handful of plays (including a mini-Hail Mary) away from a much better record, going 0-5 in games decided by one possession.

With players like P.J. Walker and Tyler Matakevich getting supplemented by an exciting recruiting class, things are shaping up for Temple in 2015. But with a rebuilt receiving corps and offensive line, not to mention uncertainties in the pass rush, pass defense, and special teams, the Owls probably can't count on improving beyond about 75th or 85th in the F/+ rankings. That's a problem considering eight opponents project no worse than 72nd.

There's potential for a strong start here, with home games against Navy, Delaware State and Tulsa and a less-than-intimidating trip to UConn. But anything less than about a 4-1 start will probably doom the Owls' postseason chances ... and I don't see a 4-1 start. Temple should improve this fall, but with so many sophomores and juniors (and, potentially, freshmen) playing key roles, 2015 is the year for the breakthrough.

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