Temple's Granger could step in for Reilly at QB

Temple quarterback Juice Granger. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Temple quarterback Juice Granger. (Steven M. Falk/Staff Photographer)
Posted: September 12, 2013

With starting quarterback Connor Reilly's availability for Saturday's game against Fordham unclear, Temple began its work week Tuesday with backup Clinton Granger preparing to make the start for the Owls, who are trying to avoid dropping to 0-3.

"He didn't practice today, so he'll be day by day," Temple coach Matt Rhule said of Reilly, who was injured in the fourth quarter of the Owls' 22-13 loss to Houston on Saturday. "But if the game were today he wouldn't have played - he wouldn't have even suited up."

Reilly suffered an unspecified injury to his right knee in the fourth quarter against Houston when he was tackled. Granger replaced Reilly for one play. Reilly returned and finished the game.

On Tuesday, Reilly did not participate in practice. He was not made available to the media after the Owls' morning practice, and he wore a knee brace. Granger took snaps with the first unit and freshman P.J. Walker was with the backups.

A redshirt junior, Reilly started Temple's first two games. Granger went 1-1 when he started the final two games for the Owls in 2012. They were locked in a battle for the starting job that wasn't decided until the final day of training camp. Reilly has completed 43 of 84 passes for 428 yards with no touchdowns for the Owls (0-2, 0-1 American Athletic Conference). He has been intercepted twice.

"When I made the decision, I meant what I said," Rhule said. "We went with Connor because we thought we had something there, but we also said we felt just as good about the fact that we thought Juice [Granger] had come a long way. I think Juice will go out there and play well. He's started a college football game before. I have complete confidence in Clinton if he goes."

Granger, who played at George Washington High School before attending Pierce College in Los Angeles, appeared in seven games last season, spelling starter Chris Coyer. For the season, Granger completed 31 of 55 passes for 370 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He also rushed 42 times for 370 yards.

Granger was visibly shaken on the day it was announced that he was not the starter. But he said he has continued to prepare as if he were a starter so that he would be ready if called upon.

"He told me to prepare like a starter and do what I know how to do when my number is called, and that's to go out there and win. He knows I'm a winner," Granger said of Rhule.

Rhule said that Granger and Reilly are similar enough in their style of play that he will not adjust the play calling.

Temple goes into the Fordham game trying to avoid losing its first three games of the season since it dropped five straight to begin the 2007 campaign.

"It's important to us because we need to get on a roll," Granger said. "It would be great to get our first win, but that won't be our only win this season. Once we get the ball rolling, I'm sure we'll keep building on it."


Contact John N. Mitchell at  jmitchell@philly.com. Follow on Twitter @JmitchInquirer

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