Apo Focusing On A Breakout Season

A year older and more experienced, highly touted wide receiver Ross Apo expects a lot out of himself this year. After a solid freshman season where he scored nine touchdowns, Apo expects to have a breakout season in 2012. He has set goals to reach his full potential while complementing close friend Cody Hoffman on the Cougar wide receiving corps.

In an effort to become a more dominant receiver, Ross Apo reviewed his game film from last season, critiquing his routes and overall play. Apo concluded that he had ample room for improvement and a lot of work to do to fix some of his mistakes from last year.

"I just have to try and get more and better numbers this year than I did last year," Apo said. "I looked over the film from last year and saw some things I needed to improve on and there were a lot of things. This spring is really important to me to fix those problems and grow as a receiver to put up better numbers this year."

So, Apo met with his position coach, Coach Cahoon, to set some goals. Those goals included increasing his yardage numbers considerably this season.

" "I sat down with Coach Cahoon and we came up with some reasonable goals that he wanted both me and Cody [Hoffman] to have," he said. We want to be 1,000 plus yard receivers and the touchdowns will be up to us. We feel that Riley [Nelson] isn't afraid to throw the ball anywhere, so we expect to have much better numbers this year."

Not being afraid to throw the ball to the receivers means there is a greater sense of trust between passer and catcher. The chemistry has been building between Nelson and the receivers, raising that level of trust.

"Oh yeah," Apo said. "The second Riley stepped in during that Utah State game we trusted him. Every day in practice he's always drilling guys and when he messed up he takes full responsibility. I think that's one thing the guys really like him and trust in Riley a lot."

With Jake Heaps having transferred and no longer in the picture, there won't be a dual-quarterback situation to complicate, break rhythm or cause the receivers think of route adjustments. Apo feels the new stability will further increase his chances of reaching his person output goals.

"Just having one quarterback in like Riley, you don't have to guess where the ball is going to be," said Apo. "You just kind of know what to expect because those two guys were two different throwers and everybody could see that. Now you can just run your routes knowing how that quarterback throws the ball.

"It's kind of different because you'll just be getting into a rhythm and you'll look back and see it's a different quarterback that's in. I would be looking for Jake [Heaps] and it was Riley that was behind center or visa-versa. You know, it's good to have Riley back there and he's a guy I can trust."

Last year, Apo didn't work that much with Nelson and so the chemistry wasn't as strong as it is now. He now knows Nelson's strengths and his weakness to be able to better compensate as teammates.

"We really didn't work too much last season, so we took it upon ourselves to work with each other more," Apo said. "I think this is what's going to really help us even more because we're better familiar with each other.

"With Riley, you know, he's not perfect but he's going to put the ball where it needs to be or in the area, and so far he's done as good of a job as anybody else in the nation. I feel like it's good just to have one quarterback rather than the two quarterback thing."

Along with having a better connection with his quarterback, Apo has also inquired a greater understanding of the playbook that, when coupled with more reps this year, should help broaden his role within the offense.

"I would have to say a greater knowledge of the playbook and having more reps," said Apo. "It's just me and Cody now as opposed to having McKay [Jacobson] here, so we're getting more and more reps now. I think those are the two biggest things this year with me. I know the playbook more and understand the concepts of what each play is trying to do."

So this year, the plan for Apo is to take everything the new season has provided him and have a breakout year on the opposite side of Cody Hoffman.

"Yeah, I need to have one," Apo said. "Cody [Hoffman] had one last year and so it's my turn to have one this year. It's good to have Cody here competing with me because we can compare numbers. I want to have a breakout season. I need to do that this year. I have to."

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