Mr. 1,000

Although the quarterback controversy weighed heavily on the program in 2011, X-receiver Cody Hoffman just missed his sophomore goal of reaching 1,000 receiving yards. With the air cleared of any distractions in 2012, Hoffman has taken up the leadership mantle while refocusing his efforts on reaching that 1,000 yard receiving mark this season.

Looking forward to this fall, Cody Hoffman made it clear that he wants to be "Mr. 1,000" by totaling 1,000 receiving yards his junior season. Although he was named to the Yahoo! Sports All-Independent Team and Phil Steele's All-Independent First Team, Hoffman won't be happy until he achieves his goal.

"Man, you haven't done anything amazing until you reach 1,000 yards," said Hoffman with a smile. "When you do that, then you've done something good."

Hoffman has a simple plan to surpass last season's total yardage performance.

"I just have to work on making sure that I catch every ball," Hoffman said. "I had a few drops last season that killed me, so that's just one thing that I'm really working on and making sure I make every single play that I can. Every time the ball is thrown to me, I have to come down with it. My team relies on me to make the play and that's what I need to do."

The few dropped balls Hoffman had last season kept him from reaching his sophomore season goal.

"I definitely want to hit a 1,000 yards this season," Hoffman said. "I had around 950 or something, so I want to go for 1,000 yards this season while winning all of our BCS games. So, I have to cut down all my drops and make sure I make the most out of every game to help the team win."

Along with catching more balls, Hoffman feels that having a single quarterback in Riley Nelson will further aid his quest for 1,000 receiving yards. Despite the dual-quarterback rotation, Hoffman's sophomore numbers represented a 400 yard increase from his freshman year.

"I think just having a single quarterback will help us a lot this year," Hoffman said. "It was two different styles of quarterbacks last year and even the year before. With Riley being a scrambler and more mobile in the pocket, he constantly changed the perceptions of the receiver and that can help you get open."

Nelson's ability to extend plays with his feet often softens the defense, forcing opponents to take a more a cautious approach on a perceived passing play. As a result, Hoffman noticed that at times the coverage he saw was more relaxed; making it easier for him to get open and to catch passes down field.

"Yeah, it does help," Hoffman said. "I can then adjust my routes and it's harder for the defense to guard because they don't know if he's going to run it on a passing play or just throw it. If I run a route and see him extending a play or moving the pocket, I can tell if the defensive backs are biting or not, and adjust my route around."

Coach Cahoon and Coach Doman work with the receivers on adjusting their routes within an offensive play based on what Nelson does with his legs.

"Yeah, we'll work on things, usually during the season, where we'll work on adjusting our routes based on what he's doing," Hoffman said. "We call it the scramble drill where we'll run a set play and he'll scramble out either way. Then we'll have both receivers and tight ends adjust their routes so we know where to be."

Hoffman is also aware that the 2012 Cougar receiving corps is very young, with several underclassmen in the mix.

"I just feel like we have a lot of youth in the group and we're pretty young," Hoffman said. "Terenn Houk is a freshman and Ross is a sophomore and I'm a junior. Then we have a few returned missionaries like Brett [Thompson] and Mitch [Mathews] who are freshmen, so we're young and just need to get everyone up to speed with learning all the plays. Once we learn all the plays we'll be able to play faster and run our offense with a higher tempo."

Along with Mathews and Thompson, two receivers that have received reps with the first team offense are 6-2, 170-pound freshman Kurt Henderson and 5-9, 173-pound Cody Raymond. Both Henderson and Raymond have had successful spring camps. Hoffman feels the sky's the limit with the current group of pass catchers.

"Yeah, I think we have a lot of upside with our youth," Hoffman said. "We've just got to learn the plays and I think the sky's the limit for us with the two returned missionaries, Terenn Houk and the rest of the guys coming up. I mean we're definitely going to work together in the off-season this year to get better."

In spite of the optimism and goals, the receiving corps has a long way to go before any goal is achieved, either individually or collectively. During Monday's practice, the offense sputtered a bit. As Hoffman explained, that is not uncommon and there is a reason for those struggles.

"Yeah, we kind of struggled a bit because it's Monday," Hoffman said. "That's when we introduce a new script and so that's when we usually don't have our best days because we have a lot of people thinking about the plays and thinking where they're supposed to be type of a thing. As the week progresses on we keep the same script and we learn it better, so the second and third groups start making plays on offense."

Among the receivers, only senior Rhen Brown has more time in the program than Hoffman. When measured by game experience, no current Cougar receiver surpasses Hoffman.

"We only have one senior receiver on the team and that's Rhen Brown," Hoffman said. "It's kind of crazy and I never thought I would be considered more the leader among the receivers my junior year coming from a small town. It feels good."

Hoffman hauled in 61 catches for 943 total receiving yards his sophomore year. He recorded 100 receiving yards in five games including a 138 against Utah and 162 against Oregon State. As the most experienced and successful receiver in the program, Hoffman feels a mantle on his shoulders that wasn't there in previous seasons.

"I have to make sure everyone comes to all the workouts," Hoffman said. "In the past I've dipped out on some of the workouts, which was bad on my part. This summer, I know we have a lot of potential and I feel like I need to be here in the spring and summer to help them out and get better overall. I have to get that 1,000 yards this season."

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