Temple Football: Previewing the running back position

For the Temple Owls 2014 roster, the running back position is one that does not lack depth. The Owls have eight running backs listed on their roster to begin the 2014 season. Who should people look for carrying the ball for Temple when the season is the real question.

Last year for Temple, Kenny Harper and Zaire Williams were the main backs for Matt Rhule and his offense. Harper finished the 2013 season with 136 carries for 613 yards and nine touchdowns while Williams carried the ball 101 times for 533 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kenny Harper will be going into his senior year at Temple and Williams will be going into his sophomore year.

Going into the season it looks as if senior running back Kenny Harper will be carrying the ball just as much or more than he did in 2013. The 6”-0′ back from Gainesville, Fl  was a bright spot for Temple during a rough first year under the head coaching of Matt Rhule. Harper had his first 100-yard game of his career against Fordham in a close 30-29 loss at Lincoln Financial Field. Harper also started every game at running back in 2013 and will look to continue to that stat as the 2014 season begins. Another accolade that Harper was able to accomplish was finishing the season second in the American Athletic Conference with 9 touchdowns.

In 2013 true freshman Zaire Williams saw a good amount of carries to begin his college football career. The 5”-11′ running back out of New Jersey started his career at Temple very well and he can even find his name in the Temple record book after just his freshman year. Williams is 3rd on Temple’s all-time freshman rushing yards list just behind former NFL player Paul Palmer and Super Bowl Champion Bernard Pierce. Williams also had the longest run for any Owl in 2013 with his 50 yard run agains the Mustangs of SMU.

The top two running backs looks to shape up like Harper being number one and Zaire Williams second on the depth chart. But who will follow Williams is the question? It looks as if junior Jamie Gilmore could be the third running back for the Owls.

Gilmore, who is a 5”-8′ junior form Ocala, Fl played in every game on offense for the Owls, just as Harper did but saw significantly less touches because of the Harper/Williams combo. If one of those two are struggling during the year it would not be a surprise to see Gilmore climb up the depth chart. Though Gilmore did not have any touchdowns during the 2013 season, he did finish the year with 179 yards on just 34 carries.

As the season moves closer to the start, the running back position does not look have that much competition going on. It looks as if Kenny Harper will be the number one running back followed by his sophomore counterpart Zaire Williams. Since P.J. Walker is a running quarterback he will also have some runs designed for him as well. Lastly behind Williams, look to see junior running back Jamie Gilmore getting some more carries as the season progresses.

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