Q&A with coach Steve Broussard

Wide receivers coach Steve Broussard discusses the performance of his group in fall camp and his expectations from that unit going into the 2011 season.

DevilsDigest: Fall camp is behind us and the season opener is just a week away. How would you assess the wide receivers group at this point?

Steve Broussard: "I'm feeling pretty good about the group. We still have some things we need to clean up. But for the most part we have progressed and did some good things in camp. Guys are doing a better job with the depth of their routes and attention to detail. They are doing the little things better than they did a year ago and we are playing much faster.

"Having a year under our belts (under a new offensive scheme) has helped them. So, we are moving at a much faster pace than we have been a year ago. We still need to get better at the run block part of it. It's always going to be an issue of just getting guys wanting to do it and finding the right combination of guys that gel together."

DD: There is more emphasis this year incorporating longer routes in the passing game. Do you feel that your group has done well in camp concerning this specific aspect?

SB: "Without a doubt. The guys have picked up what we are doing and that's important. We think this part of our offense will create problems for defenses in stretching the field."

DD: Let's talk about some specific players and how they did in camp, starting with Mike Willie. He missed spring practice but he didn't seem to show any rust in camp...

SB: "I'm pleased with the way he came back. He worked very hard on the things he needed to do. He missed the spring but he came back and learned the offense that much more."

DD: Aaron Pflugrad was never 100 percent healthy last season and on top of that missed large portions of the spring. Yet, just like Willie you could never tell that by his performance…

SB: "He's doing an excellent job and he is one of our most consistent guys across the board. He understands the game and knows what he's doing. He's a leader by example."

DD: Jamal Miles is the most versatile and explosive player on offense and sometimes he naturally lines up at wide receiver. How would you rate his skills in that role?

SB: "Jamal is doing a great job with everything we are asking him to do. It's just a matter of him staying focused and he's doing a good job of that at all the positions we having him play at. He has progressed very well."

DD: Gerell Robinson obviously missed quite a bit of camp with a hamstring injury, yet he did perform very well before being sidelined…

SB: "Even though he missed a few weeks of camp he knows the offense and I think he will pick up where he left off. He's definitely going to be a big part of what we do on offense."

DD: George Bell was a disappointment last year, but this fall camp appeared to go much better for him compared to last's years camp …

SB: "He's done well and he has been battling a little knee sprain. He is doing a great job. I thought he had a good spring and it just carried it over to fall camp. We expect a lot of good things from him this year."

DD: Some of the reserve wide receivers such as Christopher Coyle and Kevin Ozier really stepped up in camp. Can you talk about what you saw from them in terms of their performance?

SB: "Those guys are marathon guys. I don't think they missed a practice. They have run a lot of reps and they still look fresh. We expect them to help our depth in the inside slot position and allow us to move guys around. They have picked up the offense very well and had a great camp."

DD: We talked about having more emphasis on the longer routes. What other changes will we see in the passing game this year?

SB: "We're just going to do what we do. With a veteran offensive line and Brock's (Osweiler) maturity and his grasp of the offense, (offensive coordinator) coach Mazzone will be able to open up the offense a little more. Last season as the first year of the offense, so we had to curtail it a little bit. But now coach Mazzone will stretch the field but also keeping what we have been doing offensively, move guys around and give our playmakers some space."

DD: Before fall camp started many were concerned about the lack of depth and experience at both at quarterback and cornerback. After going through fall camp what is your opinion on how those groups preformed?

SB: "Those young quarterbacks are starting to be field generals, and they tell guys if they are not hitting their right spot. That quarterback position needs to do that with the receivers to feel comfortable with them. That is one thing that I have seen and have been impressed by – how confident the quarterbacks are with the wide receivers and that has to do with the time they have spent in the off-season working out.

"At cornerback you have Osahon (Irabor) who was a backup last year. He had a wrist injury and he hasn't shown any remnants of that. He's playing great. (Alden) Darby is a physical guy who moved to that position and he's doing a great job. Then you have young guys like Devan Spann and Rashad Wadood and they are doing a good job. All those players will help us become better route runners, and play the game a lot faster and be more physical."

DD: Outside of run blocking what other improvements would you like to see from your group heading into the season?

SB: "We just need to do our job and make the big plays. That's all you can ask a wide receiver: catch the ball and make a big play after you catch it. You need to be assignment sound, execute and let the chips fall where they may."

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