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:
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)?