Making a case

The Cougar offense is looking for a wide receiver to step up and take hold of the fourth receiver spot. While there are a few candidates that have made a case to see the field, 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound sophomore Brett Thompson has been working hard to be one among them.

After seeing action in 12 games his true freshman season in 2009 and then serving a mission, wide receiver Brett Thompson has had a rather quiet but steady performance in fall camp.

"I'm having a blast this fall camp and it feels good to compete and just keep pounding through," said Thompson. "I'm getting all the reps I can while trying to stay healthy. I think right now it's about just staying consistent each and every day, and when you do make a mistake it's about how you can bounce back the next day."

The Cougar offense has quite a few arrows in its quiver to shoot downfield. If Thompson doesn't make his case this year, he can redshirt until he gets himself back to pre-mission form.

"The one thing that I like about our receivers is that everyone is pushing each other to get better. That is why you see everyone getting better as a wide receiver corps," Thompson said. "We're very motivated, watching film together and the level of talent has increased too. When you put all that together with having fun, that's when you see good things happen. We're deep at the receiver position."

The projected starting receivers are Ross Apo at z-receiver, Cody Hoffman at x-receiver and J.D. Falslev at y-receiver. There is still a battling mentality among the remaining group of pass-catchers to.

"Ross and Cody and J.D. have already proven themselves on the practice field and in games," Thompson said. "The mentality right now is, ‘What do I need to do to be that fourth guy to get on the field?' That's when it comes down to the individual battle that everyone is engaged in right now."

While maybe not the most notable wide receivers on the roster, Skyler Ridley, Dallin Cutler, Cody Raymond, Kurt Henderson and Jordan Smith have been competing as though they have something to prove. Cutler has battled and was poised to be that fourth guy in the rotation until a hamstring hampered him. Raymond has been steady and consistent, while Henderson has done the same.

"Those group of guys are probably the most consistent and they definitely know the playbook, and when they're out there they're not thinking as much," said Thompson. "They're going at it as though they've got something to prove, and I think that's what those group of guys are doing and it creates great competition. You're seeing more and more guys getting reps and making plays, so I think that makes it tough for the coaches to decide on things."

A couple of receivers that have raised a few eyebrows are Mitch Mathews and Alex Kuresa. Mathews has battled a minor shoulder injury during fall camp, while Kuresa's reps have consistently increased throughout fall camp.

"Yeah, Mitch is really talented and is someone that creates a lot of problems because of his size and athleticism," Thompson said. "He's learning and is really motivated to always improve, and when you have someone like that in your group it pushes you to never let up.

"Alex has been doing a great job and it's amazing to see how quickly he's picked things up. He's a really good athlete who understands the offense and I think that has really helped him. He's someone that I think will see the field at some point in time this season. I think that can be the case for a few guys besides Cody and Ross."

So who will eventually be that fourth guy to come in? It might not be just one receiver, but a few that could see time based on how the offense is played.

"As you can see, everyone is getting reps and that allows everyone to shine," said Thompson. "It's allowing everyone to show what they have and I think it's going to be tough for the coaches to decide who's going to be on and off the field. I think we could see a few guys get the chance to see the field at various times because of how we run our offense this year. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds and it should be a lot of fun this year regardless of how things end up. We're all really close and supportive of each other so it should be fun to see how it all plays out during the season."

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