Crowton High on Relatively Deep WR Corps

A name that invariably pops up when you ask BYU head coach Gary Crowton who could step up and become an open field game-breaker is wide receiver <b>David Christensen</b>.

"David Christensen is a speed guy and he has the ability to make a guy miss. He's a guy that can help the team score from anywhere on the field with his ability to make guys miss with his speed."

Christensen was off to a great start in 2002 season when his season abruptly ended with a shoulder injury. "Hopefully I can stay healthy this season and play in every game", says Christensen told "I haven't had a lot of luck with injuries in the past and I personally just want to stay in the condition where I can help the team every game. That was the hardest thing last season: To see the team struggle as much as we did – and not being able to help because of a bum shoulder was tough."

His immediate goals include getting his weight down. Coach Crowton noted "David Christensen spent the summer in Chicago working out and wasn't able to workout with the team, so he gained a little weight and came in heavier than I would have liked. I think he was at 202 and I want him at least at 185. He's at 192 right now, so I'm confident that he'll be there when the season starts. He's not as fast right now as I'd like him due to not being as light as he could be on his feet, but he's getting better with every practice and he's working hard to get that weight down and his speed up."

"I'm working out hard after every practice, Christensen says. "I recently got married and I have a kid on the way, so I wanted to work real hard this summer trying to make some money. I'm paying for it a bit now in regards to my conditioning. But lesson learned and I'm moving on. I'll be where I need to be at when the season starts."

Crowton commented on other receivers he's looking to contribute this season, "Toby Christensen is my most experienced wide-out this season, so we're going to count on him a lot again. I'd put (Jason) Kukahiko up there with Toby as a guy with experience that we can count on, he said.

"Chris Hale is the new guy that I'm most excited about. He did some really good things in the spring and that has continued into the fall. Ryan Slater is another guy that I'm looking at to contribute a lot. He has good size and is very precise in running his routes. He's been banged up every year that I've been here, so maybe he'll be able to do some things this season."

Crowton mentioned recently returned missionary Matt Allen as another wide receiver that has been impressive, "He has a redshirt year, but he's playing real well, so soon removed off of his mission. He's doing some real good things in practice and we could still redshirt him, but I haven't made my decision there yet."

The speed guys Crowton is looking at to stretch the field along with Hale and Wilkerson include prep sprinters Brett Cooper and Cody Fonnesbeck. "I like both of those guys with their speed. Cooper isn't running the best routes right now, but he's very good with the ball after he catches it. Fonnesbeck is struggling getting off of the line at times, but once he's in the open field, he can make some things happen."

Walk on freshmen Marc Hansen and Matthew Smith continue to impress in fall practice. "They've been good," Crowton said. "They're both walk on kids who we like a lot. Marc is having a real good camp thus far and Matt had a great spring. They're both trying to work their way in the mix and we'll see what happens. Marc has a redshirt year, so we'll probably use that this season, but he's doing a lot and we could perhaps use him this season."

Crowton summed up his thoughts on his wide-out unit. "We have a lot of guys there looking to step up. I feel comfortable with most of them, but we're just looking at who will shine through as camp goes on as players that can make plays and really open up the field for our offense."

Fall Camp Notes:

* The team had a light workout preparing for this afternoon's scrimmage. They scrimmaged lightly at the close of practice and several wide receivers looked impressive.

* Quarterback Matt Berry threaded the needle over three defensive backs to hit Jason Kukahiko in the back of the end zone, who made a nice finger-tip grab in stride.

* Rod Wilkerson made a shoestring grab on an out-pattern.

* Daniel Coats broke free behind the coverage on one occasion to score on a 60-yarder.

* Berry also hit Toby Christensen on a 40-yard fly-pattern up the sideline.

* Matt Smith made several nice grabs across the middle, utilizing his 6-2 frame effectively.

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