Temple Football’s Jahad Thomas Leaves No Doubt

At the end of last season, Temple’s football team was one of six qualifiers left out of a rather large feast where everyone but the poorest of the poor seem to be invited and they call it college football bowl season.

When there are only 126 teams and 76 go to bowls, even the six left out have to look introspectively and figure out what they had to do to join the club.  Even though the Owls qualified for a bowl, they knew they had to do better and it was left for a departing team leader to carve out this year’s rallying cry: “Leave No Doubt.”

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Kenny Harper, a fullback converted to tailback for the 2014 season, made a speech that left an indelible impression on his returning teammates, saying things like that even though 6-6 was good enough for a bowl it was not good enough for Temple and to “leave no doubt” next year.

This year is next year and it fell to Harper’s replacement, the appropriately named Jahad Thomas to be the chief doubt-buster this season. In a 27-10 opening-game win over Penn State, Thomas rushed 29 times for 135 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns. In what could be the marquee game of the season, a 34-26 win over AAC pre-season favorite Cincinnati, Thomas rushed for 197 yards and added a 102-yard kickoff return. Temple led, 34-12, in the fourth quarter before holding off a late rally by the Bearcats.

There is no doubting Thomas’ impact on the Owls’ offense, which was the worst in the AAC a year ago. With a renewed emphasis on the run to set up the pass, the Owls have now soared to near the top of the league in every offensive category. Last year, they tried to spread the field with five wide receivers but that approach never was going to work, but Temple’s coaches tried forcing that square peg into a proverbial round hole. Even after Thomas rushed for a season-high 157 yards in last year’s 35-24 win over Tulsa, the Owls went back to the five wides the next week and Thomas inexplicably joined witness protection and disappeared the rest of the season.

Now that the coaches have figured out they have weapon in Thomas, there can be no doubt that they are going to keep feeding this beast in what could become a very special college football season in Philadelphia.

Will never understand why the coaches went back to five wides last year after Jahad went off against Tulsa, but we are glad the coaches were flexible enough to understand that error and fix it this  year.

Will never understand why the coaches went back to five wides last year after Jahad went off against Tulsa, but we are glad the coaches were flexible enough to understand that error and fix it this year.

Tomorrow: Photo Essay

Tuesday: National Reaction

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32 thoughts on “Temple Football’s Jahad Thomas Leaves No Doubt

  1. I never even heard of him til this yr. I dodnt know they abandoned the run so badly. Maybe he couldve been doing this last yr.

  2. Phil Snow is the mastermind on D, good thing he is still with us. Better than Denofrio or Heater by far. Can adjust on the fly and had a different game plan each week based on who they are playing.

    • yes, better than D’Onofrio but Heater is a national championship DC who did a good job in 2011 at Temple and the last 2 years at Marshall. I think they are about equal now and that’s a huge compliment to Snow, who I hope becomes a NC DC.

      • Chuck Heater is a good DC, but he is not a National Championship DC. He was on the defensive staff when Florida won those two National Championships, but Charlie Strong was the DC of those teams under Urban Meyer.

      • “Chuck Heater is a proven winner at every stop he’s been,” said Boston College head coach Steve Addazio. “He’s been a part of three national championships as a position coach and as a coordinator. He’s one of the most respected football coaches in the country. He brings a tremendous amount of energy and passion and has a unique ability to get his players to play really hard. As great a football coach as he is, he’s even a better person. He’s a true family man who will treat every player like he is his son.”

        He was DC on Florida’s last championship team (Teryl Austin was listed as co DC) but Urban Meyer gave Heater credit with being the real DC at the end of the season, calling him “a miracle worker with that unit.”

      • Again, Mike, I am not disputing that Chuck Heater is a very good DC. And yes, he was on the staffs of 3 National Champions. But Florida’s LAST national championship was in 2008 and Charlie Strong was the DC, NOT Chuck Heater. Heater became the co-DC in 2010, after Strong left for Louisville. Look it up.

  3. Props to the coaching staff for remaining adaptive and open to change. MR still has a lot to learn as a HC but he’s made huge strides in his two plus seasons which portends well for his future.

    I rarely go to this place but the officiating was pretty brutal which created another obstacle for the owls. Despite the challenges and late comeback it’s great to see the resolve in this team. I think this really could be a special season and we just might see the owls getting ranked for the first time in my life. Go owls!

    • great point about the officiating … just posted this on the temple fan facebook page but it bears repeating:
      “To me,great win just on the surface (I would have taken a 1-point win coming in) but also because we got homered on two substantial calls. Cincy kid made a catch, took 2 steps (not 1) and fumbled. How that wasn’t overturned I will never understand and Champ got blatantly (not subtlety) pushed off on 80-yard TD.

  4. Here’s another: If you look at the second Wells’ interception, he had one fat kid to beat but kept going down the sideline … one cut toward the middle of the field and it is 41-19 at that point, not 34-19. I know Sunday is for film review and that will be pointed out.

  5. Just thought everyone would like to know that Temple is tied for 25th in ESPN’s power rankings.

  6. I’m glad they won. Wish they had changed the offense last season when a few of us here were calling for the change. Even now though they call that quick out. Haven’t seen it work once. Kudos to Matt Rhule for seeing the necessity of fitting the offense to the talent. Use of time outs still a concern. Tuberville deserves criticism for going for two and his failure to clock the ball to save a time out at the end of the game. As far as the D goes, saw a little too much bend but don’t break in the 4th quarter and had flashbacks to Fordham, Rutgers and CFU (twice).

    • What we are seeing is a coach evolve his thought process. For the first 2 years, I thought he was too stubborn to do so. At the end of last year, I heard a lot of positive things about a change in philosophy and much of it sounded like things we were harping on the first two seasons (run the ball, use a fullback, roll p.j out of the pocket, 2 tight ends, then complete passes off play action). the pass to the fullback for six was pure genius. the rollout of p.j. that resulted in 6 to robby also very clever. Your welcome, Matt. Love to see that those words at the end of last season were not empty ones and that he was serious about change. I wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats dreaming they went back to five wides. Thank God it was only a dream.

      • Agree on all points but let’s also realize we’re damn lucky to have discovered Jahad. A little more of him last year may have resulted in some different outcomes and under the right offensive sets helped PJ’s numbers and saved him some beatings.

        Great to see the owls coaching evolving. Kudos to MR, Snow who initially looked like a disaster and Satterfield. BTW the defensive backfield looks really impressive. Nice job recruiting for what was until recently a glaring weakness.

      • “Your welcome, Matt”? How do u say “delusional”? here is the breakdown of Temple first offfensive series against Penn State.
        1st Down – 3 WR – 1 Back in the backfield
        2nd Down – 5 WR – No backs PJ in the shotgun
        3rd Down -4 WR – 1 Back in the backfield PJ in the shotgun

        so that smashes your “if they come out in a 5 WR set we are doomed” or “they need a fullback in the backfield to block theories. Rhule listens to u as much as he listens to me.

        how about your they gotta throw the bus at Hackenburg to get to him? did u see that 2 man rush that got to Hackenburg? of course u did.

        and for u not to give Rhule any credit for our first 2 wins shows just what kind of hack u are. i asked a few months ago that if Rhule is able to turn this program around what would u do since u already pushed all your chips in against him. last week was a huge accomplishment and for u not to acknowledge the great job Rhule did of having the team prepared (for the 2nd year in a row) shows that u will never give our coach any credit. but if we lost, Rhule name would have been dragged though the mud like no other.

        as someone stated on Philly.com “If Gibson has a shred of integrity, he needs to man up and eat some crow”. b4 the Penn State game all u posted was how inferior of a coach we had compared to Franklin. u questioned everything about Rhule and said that coaching was the only question u had entering the game. and for u not to give Rhule his props shows want type of person u are.

        this site has vilified Rhule since the day he was hired. u never heard from me during the 2-10 season bcuz the criticism was just. but i also knew that we had a very young team. last year i saw improvement and a team growing up. a team that a year b4 lost to Idaho now was beating Delaware St 62-0. but even during last year Rhule was still vilified. we beat Vandy but they say the weather helped us. we beat ECU and they say the rain helped us. the beating that Rhule took on this site was enormous. and for him to start the season 2-0 against 2 teams that were favored against us (including the AAC favorite) deserves some kudos.

        Trust The Process because most Temple fans did.

      • they changed the process this year. even “Matt” said they did, ditching the five wides. A fullback caught a touchdown pass at Cincy. I guess you didn’t see that because it doesn’t fit your narrative. I’ve been applauding those changes all season.

      • Mike I advise not arguing with fools. Take solace in the fact that the coaches admitted that they made mistakes. Also, most of the criticisms on this site had nothing to do with Coach Rhule personally and everything to do with how bad the coaching was. Having four Hail Marys completed against you in a decade is bad enough but four in a season is a catastrophe. And yes, the criticism after the Vandy game was warranted because the offense sucked and left 30 points on the field. On top of that, the win was not as significant as was first thought given how bad Vandy turned out to be. Finally, the East Carolina win was clearly assisted by the weather (See UConn-CFU that same day) not only because ECU players couldn’t handle it but also because Rhule relied primarily on the run abandoning that sickening offense.

      • Good advice. I think I’ll follow it. All I know is that “Matt” said at the end of last season watching us line up with five wides at the goal line in the Houston game made him physically ill and that he was changing the approach back to Temple tough. What have I seen this season? A fullback catching a touchdown pass. … emphasis on the running game … two backs at the goal line that resulted in an easy pitch to Thomas for 6 … almost no (zero) 5 wides …. plenty of play-action …10 sacks, only one of which came off a 2-man rush … in other words, themes we’ve been harping on until we’re blue (or cherry) in the face for 2 years now.

    • I could see digging in the heels and defending him if he had said, “I don’t care what everybody else says, I’m going to use 5 wides, have no pocket protection for PJ, use no blocking fullback anywhere on the field and drop 8 guys into coverage all of the time.” Instead, it was very clear he went running to the bathroom and puked when he saw the five wides at the goal in the Houston game and vowed that “process” was flawed and would never be repeated. He’s doing a great job this year. I’ve said that from the jump and even said it when he recognized it in the offseason.

      http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/2015/05/14/temple-football-matt-rhule-admitting-flaws-in-offensive-philosophy-is-encouraging/

  7. can anyone imagine how good this team would be if the offense was as good as the defense? every now and then PJ must complete passes down the field…, Austin Jones looks like a different kicker

    • He looks a helluva lot better than Cody Parkey did. To think the Eagles could have had Brandon McManus when both Parkey and McManus became available at the same time. I really think Parkey is a one-year wonder. McManus will stick.

  8. I’m glad to see others thought the officiating sucked because I thought it did but wasn’t sure if I was seeing things right. The pass rush wasn’t working at all (a couple hurries and one sack all game – Cincy’s O-line was terrific) so I can see why temple switched to the 3 rushers and put everyone back to defend the pass in the 4th quarter. What I couldn’t believe was how Kiel was still able to complete one pass after another to wide open receivers. Was it because Temple was playing a zone pass D instead of man? I just don’t get how its possible for all those completions with so many back playing the pass. Somethings not right there. Also, Temple needs to not have any letdowns against the next couple teams. They should try to kill them, not just get by, to build a resume for the top 25. Go Owls, this season could be special!

  9. Where did my message go? I’ll try again, briefly. Thought the officiating sucked but wasn’t sure I saw it right – glad others felt the same. Why when we rush only 3 and everyone else is back to defend the pass are there receivers open all the time? Dejavu to last year when we lost several games at the end. Is it because we’re playing zone and not man? Thomas is awesome but that one mistake sure helped Cincy close the gap. Jahad was probably tired at that point. Go Owls, this season could be special!

  10. I don’t understand the argument about what has been said here and what the team is doing this year. In the 3 plays listed, I only see 5 wrs one time. Last year it was almost every down. So far this season we’ve seen a fullback catch a TD pass, more pistol formation as opposed to the deep shotgun, more double TE, etc. All in all, so far a more balanced attack this year than last which was pretty much what was being said here during the season.

    • That’s just a MRA fighting a fight that was over when Coach Rhule admitted he had made a mistake running the offense the team ran last season. Given the success the team is having this year no one is criticizing the coach and in fact, most comments have been quite laudatory of him. The problem with MRA’s is that they still are defending his coaching the last two years even though it was pretty bad for the many reasons outlined in this blog numerous times. In 12 games the Owls had 1293 yards rushing last season. The team already has 364 yards rushing this season. Had the team run more last season they would have had at least another win and likely would ahve beaten Fordham and Idaho the previous year. Running also would have shortened the game and given the defense a rest. The MRAs can’t understand or accept the fact that we were right the last two seasons as is evidenced by the success the offense is having this season by running a balanced offense.

      • The process as Rhule talked about was the building of the team via recruitment, adding dept. and maturing. He has done that. I remember an article on here about there being no defense for hiring Snow. All this innuendo about Rhule hiring his buddy etc. Anyone remember that? Snow was dumb three years ago and the last two years he somehow got smart? John you have to stop with MRA cliché, it makes you look petty, vindictive and stubborn. Coach Rhule, the coaching staff and the players have given us some great victories early this season. Let’s enjoy the ride and let the coaches call the games and we can cheer for them and support them.

  11. Badley-Snow almost blew it the other night by going to prevent and zone coverage. Kiel was so relaxed at times he could have taken a nap and when he awoke he still would have had time to throw the ball. How do you go from ten sacks to zero. He should have devised new blitzes and used man to man. If Snow sticks with this philosophy much more, the Owls will get burned. Cincy had over 500 yards passing. We’ll see at the end of the season if things are better. Had Cincy had a little more time and had TU not had Matakevich, who knows what would have happened.

  12. One more thing for the MRAS. There is no one on this blog who wants TU to fail. Having had to endure a string of bad coaches, any criticism aimed at the way Rhule coached the first two years had its basis in those horrendous years during which the administration let the mediocrity go on for years. TU football would not have been able to continue to exist had things not gotten better and given how the team was playing and the coaches were coaching things did not look like they were getting better despite the six wins last season, which were not enough for a bowl game. To Rhule’s credit, he recognized the problem, something which everyone who criticized him in the past acknowledged and praised.

    • Again, this whole thing that we “hated” Matt Rhule is a complete fallacy. Both John and I love the guy. We can separate that from our criticism of the schemes. I did not like his “process” the first couple of years. I have no problem with the “process” now. It’s clearly been changed. Clearly. We saw nothing like that pitch to Thomas for 6 at the goal in the first two years. Nothing like the the pass to the fullback at the goal line. Nothing like Nick Sharga lining up as a fullback like we did at PSU. Nothing like the rollout by P.J. that found Robby in the corner of the end zone against Cincy. I applaud all of these approaches because they represent not just plays but a whole different offensive philosophy. Keep it up, err, “Matt.”

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