Temple quarterback P.J. Walker understands that his job in the Owls offense, if done effectively, is to "bring excitement."
Walker succeeded in doing that as a freshman, but at a season-ending news conference Monday, he made it clear that his plans now are to "lose a few pounds" and "get quicker."
When Walker was thrown into the fray early this season, he figured he had 15 to 20 plays at his disposal, a very limited playbook. By the end, Temple's coaches were comfortable giving him closer to the full arsenal, maybe 75-80 plays, Walker said.
Now, Temple coach Matt Rhule said, it's Walker's job to go back to the beginning and learn it all from scratch.
"I think P.J. can be whatever he wants to be," Rhule said. "I think he's got a hungry spirit, which I think is important. Sometimes you have a kid who has a great freshman year and that usually leads to a sophomore slump.
"But P.J. can get coached really hard. I went from like patting him on the head and saying, 'Hey, hang in there,' to patting him on the head and saying, 'Don't do that again or you're coming out.' He's able to handle all those things."
Walker said it was a learning process. But setting freshman passing records at Temple meant a lot to him, he said. He ended up with the fourth-highest passing total in Owls history (2,084 yards) even though he played only 71/2 games.
"I learned a lot each week," Walker said. "You can't react slow to anything that's going on out there. . . . I can learn a lot more."
Personnel changes. Rhule said that defensive line coach Brandon Noble was leaving the staff for personal reasons. . . . On bringing in junior-college players, Rhule said, "We'll always look for three, four, five players like that, at most. . . . The biggest thing for me, I came here to build the program the right way. There's nothing wrong with junior-college transfers, but we don't want too many two-year guys." . . . Rhule said he plans to recruit a kicker to compete with Nick Visco for the job.