5 Reasons To Roll P.J. Out

Click on this great photo of P.J. Walker for details.

When I first saw P.J. Walker play quarterback for Temple University, I had two overriding thoughts.

One,  he reminded me of a fellow AAC quarterback at the time, Teddy Bridgewater, and, two, I thought there was a good chance he would be gone by his senior season.

That’s how good I thought he was and that’s how good I thought he was going to become. He took over as a starter a few games into his true freshman year and compiled 20 touchdown passes against only eight interceptions. If the numbers kept going up, I imagined he’d have 25 touchdowns as a sophomore and 30 as a junior and 30 touchdown passes is a ticket to getting drafted.

A couple of things happened on the way to him not declaring for the NFL draft a year early. One, he was the victim of a horrific coaching scheme as a sophomore that gave him no pocket protection from a tailback or fullback and plenty of empty backfields. It was not his fault that he regressed to 13 touchdowns against 15 interceptions. (And I told him that after the next Cherry and White game.) He bounced back nicely as a junior with 19 touchdowns against eight interceptions, but that was in 14 games. He had better stats in nine games his freshman year and he started only seven games that season.

That was P.J. Walker and I want the old P.J. Walker back. As Phillip Walker, he has only eight touchdown passes against nine interceptions. To get the old P.J. back, the Temple coaches are going to have to roll him out—if not all of the time, at least 80 percent of the time.

It should be a no-brainer and should have been done about six games ago.


Here are five reasons why you do that:

He Sees The Field Better

At 5-foot-11, when he drops back, guys who are 6-foot-5 are running  and jumping at him. It’s only logical that he sees the field better when he leaves the pocket and rolls out to his right. It also opens up the other side of the field for wheel routes and throwback passes to the tight ends (hint: Central Bucks School district products Colin Thompson and Jake O’Donnell).

The Threat of Running

By rolling out, P.J. brings up the linebackers and the safeties to cover the threat of him running.  The linebackers and safeties have to make a quick decision. Quick decisions lead to bad decisions.

If Temple rolls the pocket and throws off play action, it will win. If it keeps asking P.J. to throw into tight windows, it will lose. Simple as that.

If Temple rolls the pocket and throws off play action, it will win. If it keeps asking P.J. to throw into tight windows in the pocket over taller linemen, it will lose. Simple as that.

Coverage Mismatches

Those linebackers and safeties have pass coverage responsibilities and, by coming up on run support, they leave the Temple receivers they are assigned to cover. P.J. can then see the field and toss the intermediate pass to Temple tight ends or wide receivers who now are running free through the secondary.


By rolling out, P.J. is no longer the sitting duck he is when protection breaks down on a more conventional dropback pass. He now has the option to run in open space and pick up a first down should the linebackers and safeties stay back. That leaves the No. 1 reason why P.J. should roll out.

Red Zone Offense


Nothing drives defenses more insane than the threat of a running quarterback near the goal line. They are damned if they come up in run support because the option of throwing to the back of the end zone is always there. They are damned if they do not come up on run support because P.J. has the speed to get to the pylon.

Temple becomes a much better team if the Owls stop trying to jam Phillip Walker into a square Tom Brady peg when P.J. Walker fits more nicely into a Russell Wilson hole.  The sooner the Owl coaches realize that, the better their chances of getting out of the quicksand of mediocrity where Phillip and his teammates are mired now.

Thursday: Meet Your New Kicker


13 thoughts on “5 Reasons To Roll P.J. Out

  1. If he has another crappy game against a mediocre team they should consider rolling him out to the bench and giving someone else a shot.

  2. The coaches have had 4 years to realize Walker is a better QB rolling out. Probably not going to start using him as a rollout, mobile QB now (unfortunately). The same coaching staff decided to waste Sharga at FB, instead of playing him at his strongest position, LB.

    • If Rob Ritrovato did not exist, Sharga would be more needed at fullback. Rob Ritrovato lives. He’s a good blocker. Sharga is more needed to blow up the run before it becomes a 70-yard touchdown against us.

  3. I know you have been telling us that the Temple coaching staff has been making poor decisions for a long time, but I just can’t get by those plays on the 5 or 6 yard line against Memphis. What were they thinking? As you explain rolling Walker out seems to have such advantages. Why won’t they move in that direction?

    • They were not thinking. That’s the point. I’ve seen some empty backfields come back this year and that’s just not Temple football. Temple football is establishing the run behind your best player (Jahad) following your best blocker (Sharga/Ritrovato), then faking it into Jahad’s belly once the run is established and throwing the ball–just not from the pocket with this quarterback. The next quarterback, yes, this one, no.

      • we should re-think the entire Temple offense from top to bottom next year…, we have been one dimensional and less than average over the last 10 years.., we won 10 games last year with an offense ranked in the bottom half of the conference..,

        over the last several years our identity has been in a perpetual state of flux.., five-wide-outs, empty backfield; I-formation; pro-set; spread; .., etc.,,

        what system do we want to run? then find the best QB for that system and build around it is an approach that is working for many Top 25 teams.

        last Spring at a fund raising dinner Tre Johnson asked Pat Thomas what is our identity on offense.., his answer was, “well, we are going to run a little bit of everything”..,

        I went home that night knowing we were in trouble

  4. Absolutely right. Glen Thomas is a pro-set guy, but this is Temple, not the Falcons, and PJ is a dual threat quarterback, not a drop back passer like Tony Russo. Taylor the offense to the guys you are playing. As you said before, put Jahad in the slot and Ryquel at the tailback position with Gardner and Hood to back him up. Rabbi Dick White (Salisrab)

    • that is one of the issues.., Walker is not a duel threat QB because of a bum shoulder and an inexplainable loss of running quickness.., he can’t run effectively and is extremely inconsistent from the pocket, so where do we stand..,

      opposing teams want the ball in Walker’s hands because they know they can’t get beat with the pass; and, he can’t run effectively.., there is a reason we are running the wildcat with Walker as a wide-out..,

      • … and hopefully that reason is a throwback pass to P.J., who tosses it downfield to Ellick for six.

  5. Get the staff to look at how Alabama’s offense has morphed from a straight-ahead ground attack to RPO’s, jet sweeps, slots, then can bring in 3 TE’s or a DT to lead blocking. Kiffin is using the talent he has to create advantages. Nevertheless, Saban will still demand during certain stages of the game that he “run the damn ball” and that happens…because they can. Nothing like a 7:00 minute drive late in the game for a score to seal a win and demoralize the opponent.

    As for rolling out, PW seems at times to move too quickly toward the sideline and boxes himself in when receivers stay covered.

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