Opposition Danger Men: Temple

Now that spring practice is in the rearview mirror, and that summer is quickly appearing on the horizon, it is time to turn our eyes to the fall. We will eventually get around to full previews of all the Mids opponents for 2014, but before that we are going to take a closer look at a couple of difference makers who Navy will come up against each week when the season gets started.

These are the guys that the coaches must game plan for if the 2014 Navy football season is going to be a success.

Temple

Offense: QB – P.J. Walker

The Temple offense was inconsistent last fall, but with a returning quarterback as the unit's best player there is hope for a more steady output in 2014. P.J. Walker is the unquestioned leader of the team entering just his sophomore season, and if he can improve on his numbers from 2013 then he will have a number of Owls records in his sights as soon as this season.

Walker threw for 2,084 yards and 20 touchdowns as a freshman, despite his team only winning two games. The hope is that with a full year in the offseason program, and attendance at the Manning camp among other things, he will be able to develop his dual threat capabilities and give Temple a real weapon at the quarterback position. His performance against SMU, where he threw for almost 300 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 92 yards and another score, shows just how much of a talent Walker is.

Defense: LB – Tyler Matakevich

The Temple defense was just plain bad in 2013. The Owls only held one opponent under three touchdowns (Army) and gave up thirty points or more in almost half of their games. Most of this was down to issues with the defensive line, issues that they hope to have fixed with the appointment of a new D-Line coach. What the issues with the line did bring about though was the emergence of a star at linebacker in Tyler Matakevich.

Matakevich led the nation in solo tackles last year with 99, while leading the American Athletic Conference (Navy's future home) with 137 total stops. In addition to those gaudy stats Matakevich also led Temple in tackles for a loss (11.5), quarterback hurries, forced fumbles (3), and fumble recoveries (2). What this shows is that in no uncertain terms Matakevich is a football player. He is always around the ball, he has outstanding sideline to sideline range, and that he can take on and beat blocks in tight spaces to make a tackle. To get that many stops behind a failing defensive line is outstanding and the Mids must be sure to put a body or two on this superior run stuffing linebacker when they play the Owls this fall.

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