Facing questions at quarterback and wide receiver, new Arizona State offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas will have to work his old magic in 2022.
A pending NCAA investigation into recruiting practices forced former ASU offensive coordinator Zak Hill to resign on January 28. No time was wasted in hiring his replacement as three days later it was announced that Glenn Thomas would be the new play-caller in Tempe.
Having been involved in multiple levels of the football world for the past two decades, Thomas brings a wealth of offensive experience from college and the NFL to Arizona State.
Starting his coaching life as a student assistant at Texas Tech in 1998, Thomas has held multiple positions at Midwestern State, Temple, Baylor, and most recently UNLV. In between his stints at Midwestern and Temple he was on staff for the Atlanta Falcons where he was first an offensive assistant before a promotion made him the quarterbacks coach from 2012 to 2014.
In that period with the Falcons, Thomas showed his propensity for elevating the game of quarterbacks with which he worked including, most famously, Matt Ryan. In 2012, Ryan led the league in completion percentage (68.6%) and in the three years he worked with Thomas never dipped below 4,500 passing yards and was selected to two Pro Bowls.
Offensive success at the college level
This will not be the first appointment as offensive coordinator for Glenn Thomas. He has previously served in that position at:
- Temple (2016)
- Baylor (2017-2019)
- UNLV (2020-2021)
His 2016 season at the helm at Temple was part of a very successful season. Their second year in a row with 10 wins, the Owls offensive production increased 12% overall and their per game average eclipsed 413 yards of offense.
In 2017, Thomas followed head coach Matt Rhule to Baylor and continued a successful career as a college OC. Under his guidance, the Bears offense was incredibly potent and was a large contributing factor to the 11-3 season they had in 2017. Thomas was also integral to the development of quarterback Charlie Brewer who won the Big 12 Freshman of the Year after the same season.
At UNLV, Thomas showed his range as a coach and overhauled the Rebels running game. In 2021, running back Charles Williams posted an impressive 1,256 yard/15 touchdown season that cemented his place in the annals of UNLV football history.
How does Glenn Thomas help the Arizona State Sun Devils?
Vast experience with quarterbacks and a track record of successful running schemes make Thomas an incredibly good fit for where this Arizona State program is currently.
The Sun Devils have traditionally relied on a strong running game and the RB room of Daniyel Ngata, George Hart III, Tevin White, and Xazavian Valladay might be the strongest in the Pac-12. Making that a position of emphasis in the offense will certainly help prevent drives from stalling out and keep ASU in games.
With the current question marks at quarterback after the departure of Jayden Daniels, the experience of someone like Thomas is invaluable. From working with NFL quarterbacks to helping construct incredibly productive passing offenses at every school he has worked for all bodes well for that part of the offense.
Thomas will have to work with and, most likely ultimately decide, who in the QB room will be the starter. Recent transfer Emory Jones will have to compete with Paul Tyson and Trenton Bourguet for the starting role and whoever wins the job will work hand-in-hand with Thomas throughout the season.
Thankfully, Thomas’ track record with quarterbacks should lend all ASU fans hope that quarterback will not be a position of concern in the 2022 season.
Unfortunately, the exodus of wide receivers experienced by the program after the 2021 season is still a massive concern. The transfer of WR Cam Johnson from Vanderbilt certainly helps, but does not completely make up for a position that looks, for lack of a more positive term, rough. Thomas will have his work cut out for him.
Overall, this hire seems like the right choice. A rising star in the college football world, Thomas brings a lot of the right things to Arizona State at the right time. Expect him to continue his successful ways in Tempe this upcoming season.