When wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson says something to his wideouts, they listen.
The Owls’ wide receivers like to pick the brain of the first-year coach and former Cleveland Browns and New York Jets wide receiver.
“They’ll come in sit in my office and ask me, ‘Coach what do I have to do?’” Jackson said. “‘What did you do to get where you were?’”
A six-year NFL veteran with the Browns and Jets, Frisman collected 40 catches for 490 yards and one touchdown in his professional career.
He started his college career as a quarterback at Northern Illinois University and then transferred to Western Illinois University in 2000. In 2001, his last season with the Leathernecks, Jackson caught 55 passes for 1,041 and seven touchdowns.
“One thing that’s good about him is he’s a player’s coach,” redshirt-senior wide receiver John Christopher said. “He relates to the players. He’s been in our shoes. He’s been at the next level where a lot of us aspire to be, so it’s good to hear and learn from him.”
Redshirt-senior wide receiver Robby Anderson has 31 catches for 388 yards and five touchdowns in the Owls’ 7-0 start—the team’s best start in program history.
Anderson caught eight passes for a season-high 126 yards and a touchdown in Temple’s 24-14 win Thursday night against East Carolina. It was the first 100-yard receiving game for an Owl this season.
After missing last season due to academic issues, Anderson has paid close attention to Jackson’s words.
“Coach [Jackson] can tell you, I’m always writing notes,” Anderson said. “I’m always asking him questions, learning new things, taking all his coaching and not taking anything for granted.”
Jackson said Anderson is still regaining abilities he lost from the missed time last season.
The first-year coach continues to work with the wide receiver in order to refine his technical skills, like route running.
“He’s starting to get it and get back into his groove,” Jackson said. “Like I told him, I said, ‘Hey man, you missed a whole year of football. You just got in training camp, so it’s a process.’ … I try to talk to him about the individual process. It’s one step at a time.”
Nine different wide receivers have caught passes for Temple through the first seven games of the season. Four wideouts have snagged four or more passes in at least one game this season.
Redshirt freshman Ventell Bryant, who is second on the team in catches with 20 for 196 yards, caught five passes for 40 yards in a touchdown in the team’s 30-16 win against Central Florida Oct. 17.
Freshman Adonis Jennings and Christopher combined for 11 catches and 134 yards receiving in the Owls’ 25-23 victory against the University of Massachusetts.
“Every week it’s been a new guy that’s stepping up and making some plays for us,” Jackson said. “They know how deep the room is. I constantly remind them how deep the room is. It forces each guy to come out and practice everyday as hard as they possibly can.”
Junior quarterback P.J. Walker’s completion percentage has increased from 53.3 percent in 2014 to 59.6 completion percentage this season.
Out of Walker’s 112 completions, no receiver has caught more than 30 percent of them.
“There’s no go-to-guy,” Anderson said. “I believe all of us are go-to-guys. They can call any one of us in to make a play. We’re a wide group. Everyone does different things better.”
Walker, who’s 130.7 passing efficiency is No. 61 out of 107 qualified Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks, said he is confident in all of his targets.
“When you have a group of guys that are that good, that can make plays, you’re going to give them opportunities,” Walker said. “Get them the ball in their hands.”
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Owen_McCue.