P.J. Walker Appreciation Day

newestpj

P.J. Walker will have nearly every Temple QB record.

Old habits are hard to break but because of my admiration and appreciation of the young man, I tried to grant P.J. Walker’s request to call him Phillip.

For a while, I was able to do it.

No more. He will always be P.J. to me, Matt Rhule and I suspect the great majority of Temple fans. I am no more able to call him Phillip than a Saints’ fan is apt to call Drew Brees “Andrew” or, more precisely, a Giants’ fan is likely to call Y.A Tittle “Yelberton Abraham” Tittle.

So he is going to be P.J. henceforth, period, end of story, but that’s not why today is P.J. Walker Appreciation Day in this spot. It’s because he is the only winning quarterback (25-18) over a four-year period in Temple history and, to me, that’s the most important statistic.

Here are some others:

walkergraph

To be good enough to be a four-year FBS starter in college football is almost unheard of these days because three-year starters usually head to the NFL early, so that’s one point. For a school that has played college football since 1894, being the only four-year starter and one of the few winning quarterbacks in that school’s history is a really special achievement.

That’s the brand he has established, and it is not a bad one to have. Going to the numbers, a strong case can be made that he is the greatest Temple quarterback of all time. While some will say Walker is a compiler as much as an achiever, I will say that his sophomore year was wasted by an ill-advised multiple wide receiver scheme that often left him in an empty backfield unprotected by a fullback or a tailback and running for his life. I told P.J. as much on Chodoff Field after the next Cherry and White game and told him to keep his head up, that help was on the way and he would become an all-time Temple great. He shook my hand and thanked me for believing in him.

That all has come true with two games left in his final regular season.

The numbers do not lie. If you want to make a case for Brian Broomell, who really only started two years (1978 and 1979), no one can argue with you because Broomell was 17-5-1 as a Temple starter and that’s a higher winning percentage than Walker. The same case can be made for another two-year starter, Maxwell Award-winner Steve Joachim, who was 17-3 as a Temple quarterback.

Still, Walker’s resume is superior to everyone else near the top of the list. The Owls have a special quarterback in Walker and, if he hoists the overall AAC trophy in December, he will have the most important trophy none of the other great Temple quarterbacks have and that will be a league championship.

Phillip schmillip, P.J. is a mighty good name to me and always will be.

Wednesday: What Have We Done (Part II)?

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18 thoughts on “P.J. Walker Appreciation Day

  1. Walker deserves credit and praise for his achievements, his greatest legacy will be establishing Temple as a QB destination for kids who have pro ability..,

    playing on the national stage, and playing in two straight conference championship games captures the attention of highly ranked QB recruits..,

    Temple will be great when we have a kid under center with the ability to play on Sundays.., we are getting closer in our search for ‘that guy’.., maybe Russo is special, maybe not.., the coaching staff now realizes we need a special player with pro potential under center to get to the next level

    • Russo is definitely a next-level guy but these numbers P.J. set are almost unreachable and P.J. deserves all the credit in the world for putting them up. I’ve seen Anthony play 15 high school games and I believe he is the next great Temple quarterback, maybe the greatest. He has all the intangibles, which are just as important as the “tangibles.”

  2. Spring ball is going to be very interesting because this team will have holes to fill. It will also allow grading of last year’s recruits and will tell us whether the class was as good as claimed. The team is going to have to develop a run-stopping d-linemen, some offensive tackles, a pass-rusher and a qb. 6-6 will be a good record given what the team is losing and the difficulty of the schedule which includes Navy, Houston, and Tulsa along with Army and ND, and SFU on the road. Rhule better grab some three star plus kids who are ready to play or else TU is in trouble. So far the class is rather weak. Winning a championship will alleviate the problem some with any luck. A bowl loss to anything other than a P-5 team will not help the Owls.

    • dogbe, webb and fbl are back; sharif finch is likely to get a medical redshirt and him and Jacob Martin starting at the ends would be a nice bookend. I think our dline is ok. LBs will be a problem if Sharga remains at fullback. DBs are good. Offense has most of the receiving corp back but loses two te’s. Russo is the x-factor. I had a longtime Temple fan come up to me at the last tailgate and say, “we don’t know how good Russo really is?” Yeah, I do. He’s really good. Really.

      • Walker has put himself in the position to lead this team to a conference championship, bowl win and Top 25 finish.., he may wind up being the only QB in Temple history to achieve the NCAAF triple crown.., history adorns major accomplishments

      • I don’t understand why we don’t seem to go to the tight ends very often. While I understand they have an important role in blocking I had expected a bigger role in the passing game. When we do go to them, we seem to have success.

      • If Sharga is moved back to LB next season I think he and Folks can be a good core there

  3. Hopefully Walker can cap off his career with 4 more wins!

    As an aside, I would give Lee Saltz some recognition on this thread too. 3 year starter through probably the program’s toughest schedule year in year out. And he was my brother’s QB so, personal bias….

    • Saltz was indeed a very good QB who replaced another very good QB in Tim Riordan. The Owls schedules were brutal in those days but we always acquitted ourselves quite well when BA was coach.

  4. Good Grief. The start of the TFF Cover Curse.

    • oh no! hit the delete button and erase, pretend Mike never published.., wait until the season is over to re-visit…, this is sports where superstition has a permanent residence

  5. No, I just saw the venom and vitriol directed at P.J. on some of the social media sites for throwing the two picks and thought it was an appropriate time to give him some well-deserved props. A lot of things go into interceptions and they are not ALWAYS the quarterback’s fault. Why were they throwing into the corner when they had success over the middle earlier, for instance? To me, that rollout to one side draws the defense to that side and it is the perfect time to throw over the middle or to the other corner on a throwback. That seemed to be a designed play sent down from the booth.

    • I agree with your assessment about the vitriol directed at Walker, it is the same vitriol directed at the coaching staff when the team doesn’t perform well. When something goes wrong, there has to be blame and the QB and the head coach are usually the lightning rods. Fans are very fickle, you can be great one week and suck the next. I like to take the long view of Walker, he has been a key driver in the resurgence of the program. He does have his limitations, he needs to have a good running game and needs to use play action to be successful. He has at times this year been careless with the ball and has made some head scratching throws and other times he makes some beautiful throws like against USF and UCF. I think he is the perfect QB for this offense and his overall career has been solid. He won’t make it in the NFL but he will be looked back on as a really solid college QB who did what was asked of him while leading his team.

      • The coaching staff sometimes deserves the criticism. I do not see criticizing paid professionals when warranted (certainly the criticism of the game plan against Army was warranted) as vitriol. I do see criticizing an amateur kid like Walker for throwing a couple of interceptions as vitriol.

  6. When considering GOAT, Joachim’s 17-3 record (85%) Maxwell Award, and First-Team All-American status cannot be overlooked. Numbers alone do not always measure greatness. Perhaps “sweetest” of all credentials is he transferred from Penn State to Temple! 🙌 😁

    • Hard to compare players from different eras, different competition, style of play etc.

      • Steve Joachim could play in any era. First-team all-state at Haverford High in basketball and football. 6-5, great athleticism, great arm, terrific runner, who scored twice as many touchdowns on the ground in two years as P.J. has in four. Player of the year in college football. Ohio State’s Archie Griffin won the Heisman, but Joachim took home the prestigious Maxwell.

  7. I do admit I often went deep on the criticism of QB # 8 P (J) Walker.
    So does that make me a bad guy, a bad fan , what conclusion can be reached?
    It is the deep desire to see TU Football to progress just a ‘smidge’ every year now that we seem to be OK, and that means not an embarrassment like I saw vs Army this year.
    Walker is fine, really quite fine as QB, but I still see himas lacking in a type of Luck the lucky ones do have.
    He should have taken some dance lessons or something to train his feet because mostly he is awkward when he begins to run, takes big goofy strange strides. he reminds my of some of my torment dreams where my legs are frozen and I can’t get away….. Siggy Freud, where are you ?

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