Thinking Big

Kenny Harper is 6-foot, 215 pounds and if there was any question about his primary role this season, Temple's Cherry and White Game at the conclusion of spring drills gave an indication of how he could be used. Harper was handed the ball in most short-yardage situations – even switching sides – and scored a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. Overall, the sophomore carried 15 times for 67 yards.

Kenny Harper is 6-foot, 215 pounds and if there was any question about his primary role this season, Temple's Cherry and White Game at the conclusion of spring drills gave an indication of how he could be used.

Harper was handed the ball in most short-yardage situations – even switching sides – and scored a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. Overall, the sophomore carried 15 times for 67 yards.

Temple is looking for a goal-line back after record-setting running back Bernard Pierce opted to forego his final season of eligibility and enter the NFL draft, where he was taken in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens.

Matt Brown will be the Owls' starter at running back, but at only 5-foot-5 and 170 pounds might not receive the short-yardage assignments.

Asked if he expected to be the goal-line back, Harper said that will likely be his role.

"I think that's what I am, they call me the big back for big-time yardage," said Harper. "Fourth-and-2, fourth-and-1, third-and-2, they need a man who can get things done, get the first down. It's pretty fun for me, because I have to take on the challenge to score to help us win, and it's a good challenge too."

Pierce scored a school-record 53 rushing touchdowns in his three seasons at Temple, and there wasn't much doubt who was getting the handoff on the 1-yard line as long as he was healthy. But once Pierce decided to move on, it opened up possibilities for every running back on the roster.

"We all look at it as a real chance to get on the field, keep pushing each other to out-do each other," said Harper of the Owls' stable of backs.

Sophomore Jalen Fitzpatrick and redshirt freshman Spencer Reid could also factor in to the running back rotation. If Montrell Dobbs gains eligibility, he should push for serious playing time.

But Harper – who was one of five true freshmen to play last year – expects he'll have a role. Temple coach Steve Addazio confirmed the Owls' plans for him.

"We're really excited about our running backs," said Addazio. "Kenny Harper will become a good, strong, short-yardage back. He'll have a real role as a fullback and big tailback as well. We messed with that a little bit this spring and it was exciting to watch."

Harper feels he is ready after a season of watching Pierce and Brown go about their business.

"Watching Bernard and Matt helped me a lot," said Harper. "Being a young back out of high school, you think you know it all until you get to a bigger program, a bigger school. College is much different than high school, it's much faster. You can't get away with the same things you could in high school, so you have to learn to prepare and improve."

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