Too Close To Call

With less than two weeks to play before the opener, the Temple football team is still without a starting quarterback. Senior Juice Granger, junior Connor Reilly and freshman P.J. Walker have a few more days before Coach Matt Rhule likely names a starter on Thursday.

With less than two weeks to play before the opener, the Temple football team is still without a starting quarterback. Senior Juice Granger, junior Connor Reilly and freshman P.J. Walker have a few more days before Coach Matt Rhule likely names a starter on Thursday.

Reilly went from fourth string before the spring to the top of the depth chart. After starting slow in training camp - admitting the pressure of expectations got to him - he has settled in.

"During the spring I didn't have a care in the world," said Reilly. "Camp started, there was a little pressure being No. 1 and everybody's after your job. I played a little tight, and they just told me to relax. From there it's been pretty good.

"I've done a much better job of just playing football, trying to revert back to what I did in spring. My anticipation of throwing the ball, recognizing defenses and knowing blitzers are coming. ...I've stepped up a couple levels learning the game of football. My feet are still awful - awful - but I can only go up from there."

Granger, who started the last two games of the 2012 season, admitted he was motivated when he came out of the spring the clear No. 2.

"I feel confident," said Granger. "Whatever decision the coaches make is best for the team. It's just about me finishing camp strong and doing what I need to do to be the guy - have fun and just be on top of your assignments, be a leader and move the team.

"(Being No. 2) definitely gave me motivation to prove everybody that doubted me wrong. The hard work I put in during the offseason and summer I feel is paying off a little bit."

True freshman P.J. Walker has thrust himself into the competition. He still is the long shot in the race, but he's opened eyes.

"He can throw, he can really throw the football," said Reilly. "He's picking up the offense pretty quickly. As a freshman thrown into a lot of different scenarios, he's done a pretty good job. He's much further ahead than I was at that age."

Rhule saw on ESPN five or six coaches said they wouldn't pick their starting quarterback until Game Day. But the first-year coach expects to have a starter on Thursday following the last scrimmage on Wednesday.

"All three are playing really well and we're coaching all three," said Rhule. "I feel good about where we're at. They're all doing some things better than the others.

"Connor and Juice played really well in Saturday's scrimmage. P.J. is young, but we're bringing him along so he's ready to play next week, in two weeks, five weeks or next year."

The quarterbacks are ready to put their best foot forward and see what happens on Thursday.

"I've always been used to working for what I have to do," said Granger. "It's a challenge I accepted. I control what I can control. It's not my decision, all I can do is just play lights out."

Added Reilly: "Coach Rhule said the best quarterback that shows up the next three days will be the starter. Everybody's been given a fair opportunity. The last three practices are what it comes down to.

"The best quarterback will be on the field August 31."

Matt Rhule:

Juice Granger:

Connor Reilly:

Owls Daily Top Stories