Maze Confident In Receivers

Julio Jones is gone, but not forgotten. Senior Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze says that Jones will be missed, but that the Crimson Tide receiver corps expects to be able to get the job done in 2011.

Alabama has been through two days of practice in helmets and shorts. The pads go on Friday as spring practice continues with its 15 days of work. Spring training concludes with the A-Day Game on April 16.

Marquis Maze said that he and fellow seniors Darius Hanks and Brandon Gibson feel a greater responsibility since Jones opted to leave for the NFL following his junior season. "The young guys are looking up to us for leadership, and we're talking to them," Hanks said.

"We'll miss Julio, but I think we can fill the void."

Jones was noted for his size (6-4, 220) as a receiver, a big target and an efficient downfield blocker. The 5-10, 182-pound Maze doesn't see himself and Hanks (6-0, 184) as being at a disadvantage.

"The offense is based on certain plays," Maze said. "Size doesn't matter. Julio will be missed, but the receivers we have are capable. If you look at the film you'll see that Julio, Hanks, myself, all of us did a good job blocking. We want to help our running backs."

Receivers have a new position coach this year (as do offensive and defensive linemen). Mike Groh was a graduate assistant at Alabama in 2009, but didn't work with receivers then. Maze said, "He's a real good coach. We haven't seen him in a game, how he'll be on the sideline. But he's a real good coach, a real good guy."

Maze said the young receivers are responding well to the challenge. "They are competing, working hard, studying their playbooks," he said. "It has been only two days so it's hard to name one, but they are all doing good."

He had the same assessment of new quarterbacks who are competing to replace Greg McElroy. "All of them are competing," Maze said. "It has been only two days of practice, so I can't say who is ahead. We miss Greg not being out there, but all the quarterbacks are capable."

Maze said during the off-season Fourth Quarter Program, the quarterbacks were "finishing first and speaking up. That's about all they could do."

Maze doesn't know if the bobcat will be a part of the offense. He ran from the wildcat position and had a touchdown pass to Michael Williams in the Florida game last year, then pronounced it the "bobcat, because, you know, a bobcat is faster than a wildcat."

He does now that he would like to return punts and kickoffs in 2011.

Maze said there was a rumor near the end of last season that he would declare for the NFL following his junior year. "I don't know where that came from," he said. He said he never wavered in his decision to be back at Alabama. ‘It wasn't close. I was injured in the Georgia State game, so I knew I wasn't going to go out."

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