Temple's Adonis Jennings conceded that he expected more of himself last season, and he plans to remedy the situation this year.
A junior wide receiver, Jennings spent his freshman year at Pittsburgh and transferred last year to Temple. He received an NCAA exemption that meant he didn't have to sit out the season in accordance with transfer laws.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Jennings has good size and speed, but he was never able to hit his stride a year ago. Even though Jennings appeared in all 14 games, making three starts, he had just 14 receptions for 146 yards and two touchdowns. This came after catching six passes for 55 yards as a freshman at Pitt.
"I wasn't satisfied at all with my personal goals, but as a team I thought we did well," Jennings said after Tuesday's lengthy practice, referring to Temple's 10-4 record. "Personally for myself I feel I will do way better than I did last year."
In the offseason, besides perfecting his pass-catching ability, Jennings also worked on the mental aspect.
"I worked on my confidence," he said. "That is something I lacked."
That's hard to believe since Jennings had enjoyed great success in high school. As a senior at South Jersey's Timber Creek, he had 83 receptions for 1,434 yards and 15 touchdowns.
But performing in high school and college are two different things.
"Some get acclimated to college football faster than others, but I feel I am definitely getting it now," Jennings said.
So does Temple coach Matt Rhule.
"From the end of the season to now, he has gotten a lot more confident. He is big, strong and physical," Rhule said. "His physical tools are limitless, and I think he is going to be a deep threat for us."
Rhule said one of the goals is to have his receivers stretch the defense more this season, so Temple could be throwing more deep balls, and Jennings is more than willing to fill this role. Last year, his biggest game was in a 25-23 win at Massachusetts in the third game. Jennings caught four passes for 62 yards, including his first college touchdown on a 23-yard pass from Phillip Walker.
"I am a deep threat and a guy who can run routes as well," Jennings said. "I am just trying to do what I can to help the team win."
Freshman defensive back Linwood Crump, from Piscataway (N.J.) High, rolled his ankle at practice. Before that, Rhule said that Crump had been one of the young players who had been impressive. . . . Temple had the entire team practice together on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Rhule said he will return to having the veterans work in one session and the younger players in another. That is how Temple has been running most practices early in camp as a way to teach the younger players. . . . Freshman receiver Isaiah Wright, who Rhule has praised in the early going, looked like he more than held his own in the brief time the media was able to view practice. . . . Rhule continues to praise redshirt sophomore linebacker Jared Folks, who missed last season due to a shoulder injury. Folks is expected to backup senior Jarred Alwan in the middle. Alwan, a product of Camden Catholic High, has made 18 career starts, including 13 last year.