New Back City

Kenny Harper

Kenny Harper has been labeled the big back or power back in the Temple offense. And while Harper has shown his ability to convert in short-yardage situations – he has all three of Temple's touchdowns this season – he has also shown an elusiveness and ability to make a tackler miss that wasn't always apparent in his game.

Kenny Harper has been labeled the big back or power back in the Temple offense.

And while Harper has shown his ability to convert in short-yardage situations – he has all three of Temple's touchdowns this season – he has also shown an elusiveness and ability to make a tackler miss that wasn't always apparent in his game.

"The more opportunities you get, the more you get game experience," said Harper. "The more game experience you get, the more you know how the defense reacts and the more experience I get the better I get."

The Owls have been blessed with standout running backs the last four years. For three seasons, Bernard Pierce – now with the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens – shared the primary carries with Matt Brown. When Pierce left a year early for the NFL, Montel Harris transferred from Boston College and shared the spotlight with Brown.

This season, Temple knew it was starting over at a critical position, but the tandem of junior Harper and true freshman Zaire Williams have been solid replacements.

Williams has 18 carries for 90 yards, a 5.0 average. Harper has 20 carries for only 2.8 yards per carry, but he has the three scores and is also the second-leading receiver with seven catches for 67 yards, a 9.6 average.

"(Harper) has a couple touchdown runs, is catching balls out of the backfield and is making people miss," said head coach Matt Rhule. "Him and Zaire are really starting to understand their roles."

On Saturday against Houston, Harper often found himself in the open field after catching screens in the flat.

"The defense was trying to focus on the pass rush and it opened up those screen passes for us," said Harper.

Harper said he has been impressed with Williams in the early going and believes they can be a good tandem going forward.

"I think we complement each other pretty well, he comes in and slashes, the second quarter (against Houston) he was pounding the ball pretty well," said Harper. "If he has any questions he asks me and I tell him how to do things better, what he's missing or what he should see.

"We can come a lot further. With every game we play have to improve on something we did. I think offensively I did all right (against Houston), I did pretty good, but I have to do better. There's a lot of things we have to pick up on in terms of pass progression and making more plays on the field, but it was OK."

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