Redshirt-junior wide receiver Jadan Blue feels he’s treated like “a son” by Temple University football’s coaching staff.
Before head coach Rod Carey was hired in 2019, Blue was “off the team” and there was a chance he wouldn’t play for Temple again, he said.
“When it comes to this staff, they welcomed me back,” Blue added. “They made me feel at home again.”
Last season, Blue set a school record with 95 receptions and became the first Temple player to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving, finishing with 1,067 total receiving yards.
This season, Blue thinks he can break the records he set despite Temple playing fewer games than last season, he said.
The Owls played 12 regular-season games last season, but their schedule for this year only includes eight games due to COVID-19 protocol.
Because the Owls are limited to only 10 to 12 scrimmage plays each practice, Blue’s worked on learning the playbook and improving his football intelligence, he said.
“The areas I’ve gotten better is my overall awareness and my ability to read the defense,” Blue added. “I feel like athletically I’ve gotten better. Things have gotten better for me on that end.”
This summer, Blue trained to play multiple wide receiver spots because the team will be using a formation with five receivers on the field at the same time this season. This includes playing flexed outside and playing in the slot, he said.
The coaching staff believe Blue’s versatility is one of his biggest strengths, said wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator Thad Ward.
“[Blue] has a lot of different strengths and gifts,” Ward added. “One of his gifts is we feel like we can pitch him the ball out of the backfield. We feel like we can motion him out of the backfield. We feel like we can flex him out wide and inside.”
Although Blue is now a fixture of the Owls lineup every week, he’s come far from not being on the team before last season.
Blue’s fellow wide receivers noticed a change in his mindset when he returned to the team last summer, said graduate student wide receiver Branden Mack.
“He just came back with a strong mindset like, ‘I’m gonna take over this year,’” Mack added. “What helped him is he came back positive. He came back more motivated. You could see him in practice. He just seemed way more motivated.”
The receivers weren’t the only ones to notice Blue when he rejoined the team last summer.
“From the first day I showed up [Blue], stood out,” Ward added. “He stood out as a human being. He stood out as a player. He’s just an awesome individual, super smart and super talented.”
The Owls’ first game is scheduled for Sept. 26 against Navy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Blue is happy he’s earned the trust of this coaching staff and is looking forward to starting the season, he said.
“Coach Ward puts a lot on me,” Blue added. “That’s because he trusts me. You wouldn’t rather be in any situation where your coach trusts you to put you in so many different positions for you to ultimately get the ball.”