Nichol happy with receivers

Arizona's receivers had a solid spring and receivers coach David Nichol is happy with the progress. WildcatAuthority.com spoke with Nichol about starters, Juron Criner, and how he feels about their performance so far.

Saturday was a huge day for the passing attack for Arizona, as the quarterbacks and receivers posted 380 yards and four touchdowns in their final outing of the spring. However, according to wide receiver coach David Nichol, the receivers haven't looked as good as they did Saturday throughout spring practice.

"Honestly, Saturday was probably our best day," Nichol said. "I've been kind of frustrated throughout most of the spring. I thought we've had too many drops and I just think we really need to work on our toughness. Saturday was their best day, which I guess it's not a bad day for it to be their best day, but we still need to get a lot more consistent."

The star of Saturday's game was receiver Richard Morrison, who hauled in four catches for 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Nichol was pleased to see his receiver break out after what was otherwise Nichol feels was a lackluster spring from Morrison.

"He was one of the guys that had a bad spring," Nichol said. "He needed a day like Saturday to get him some confidence, that's his deal. He can make plays, it's just all of that stuff in between. He needs to be more consistent. He shows flashes, but that's my job to make sure I can put him on the field more."

There are lofty expectations surrounding the wide receivers for UA this season, but Nichol isn't quite ready to declare this year's group one of the best in the Pac-12 or the nation.

"The minute we start thinking we're pretty good, in my experience with our group, we all of the sudden get pretty bad," Nichol said. "The reality is that Dan (Buckner) has caught zero balls at Arizona. We have three guys that have played quite a bit with Juron (Criner), Dave (Douglas), and Dave (Roberts). We have some work to do, but we have a lot to work with."

Much of the hype surrounding the Arizona passing attack has to do with the addition of Dan Buckner to compliment Juron Criner. Even though Criner and Buckner will likely get most of the attention, Nichol believes there is much more to the group than just its two biggest names.

"I don't really see it as a duo," Nichol said. "The guy that had the best spring was David Douglas, not even close. It wasn't even close, just because of the way he comes out every day. Dave Roberts is the heart and soul of our receiving core; he blocks, he makes the tough catches. I look at it as hopefully those four can be pretty solid."

Even with what Buckner brings to the team, Nichol still believes that he still has a lot to learn and that two of the returnees from a season ago will be the go-to guys with the game on the line.

"History says we go to Juron," Nichol said. "My second pick is probably David Douglas. Dan has had a good spring, but like I said, he's caught zero balls at Arizona and hasn't played football in a year and a half. Trust me, Juron and David Douglas are that good."

Although Buckner may not be quite at the level he's expected by Arizona fans to be at after the conclusion of the spring, Nichol is confident that he'll continue to work hard get there.

"The thing about Dan is that he loves football," Nichol said. "Dan has worked really hard. He loves football, and because of that I think he's going to be a really good player. We just have to keep working on things; this is really his first semester with us in our system."

Perhaps the most exciting part of Nichol's offseason was the announcement by Criner that he would return for his senior season after posting 82 catches, 1233 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. Obviously it was welcome news for Nichol, who is glad to have one of the best pass catchers in America back this season.

"I never thought it was much of a question," Nichol said. "He's mature enough to know what he needed to do and that he needed to come back. And we're obviously happy to have him back."


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