Q&A with Coach Eric Yarber

Devils Digest talked with Sun Devils' wide receivers coach Eric Yarber to get his assessment of his group as they approach the season opener next weekend.

Q: Coach, with the season opener just a week away how would you assess the wide receivers group?

EY: "I think they've improved a lot. It was a good competition between the groups. Each and every player made everyone else better. The competition between Gerell and Kerry Taylor has made both of those guys better. Moving Chris to ‘H' has made Kyle better. T.J improved a whole bunch and I think they improved and I think we're going to have a season to remember."

Q: What are some of the improvements this group has made during fall camp and what are some aspects you would still like them to improve on?

EY: "I think their work ethic; they've improved on their work ethic and the guys that learned multiple positions. I wanted them to learn multiple positions before fall camp and most of them know multiple positions."

Q: Coach Erickson said many times that a healthy Chris McGaha makes a lot of difference in the ASU offense. How would you rate his improvement during the preseason?

EY: "It's night and day from last year. Last year he was playing on one leg and he did well. I would love to see what he can do on two legs. He is healthy now and I think you're going to see a real good Chris McGaha."

Q: Kyle Williams had a solid 2007, maybe regressed in 2008, but right now looks to be playing his best football. Would you agree?

EY: "I agree, he is playing very good right now and he is one of those guys who learned multiple positions. He can play X, H and Z. He can play inside and he can play outside. He's had a good camp."

Q: Kerry Taylor is a player that has improved every year he has been here. How would you evaluate his progress in 2009?

EY: "Just like Kerry always does, he has improved this year. He's gotten faster, quicker, stronger. He is more physical, he blocks better so all aspects of his game have improved."

Q: Gerell Robinson is probably the most improved player on offense during fall camp. What has he done in specific that impresses you?

EY: "His route discipline. Last year he wasn't a very good discipline route runner. He didn't sink in his hips; he didn't drop his weight in and out of his breaks. He is much, much better. I think with him being leaner, he went from 230 or 228 to 215. With him getting faster and stronger, it has made him a better receiver and his route discipline has improved tremendously."

Q: T.J. Simpson was one player that had a solid fall camp. How much has he improved from last year?

EY: "Any receiver you ask about, I can say that they've improved, and T.J has improved also. He's worked tremendously on his hands. His weakness was consistency when catching the ball. He trained relentlessly and he has improved his catching skills and he's always been a great route running and he has gotten better at that also."

Q: Jamal Miles has practiced very well for a true freshman. How do you see his chances of playing this year and making an impact?

EY: "If at all possible, we would like to redshirt him. He could help us on special teams and he could help us in the slot position but his injuries have ended his progress so if all goes well we want to redshirt him."

Q: How much as the overall offensive scheme changed in regards to the wide receivers? What are you being asked to do differently this year?

EY: "Route concepts have not changed that much, we're still going to run primarily the same routes but the protection on the routes has changed a little bit."

Q: Has the transition at quarterback from Rudy Carpenter to Danny Sullivan been a smooth one from a wide receiver perspective?

EY: "Oh it's been a very smooth transition. Danny has been very coachable. Everything the coaches have asked him to do, he has done. He is getting the ball out of his hands. He is making good reads; he is accurate so he is making the transition very smooth."

Q: How has this group done in terms of meeting the goals of fall camp?

EY: "For fall camp, I think our goals have been met. We played with tremendous effort, that's one of our goals; we always play with great effort. Guys have learned multiple positions and for the most part they've been playmakers, so our goals have been met during fall camp."

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