"I'm coming back home," said Coats with a smile. "I'm a Y receiver now which I feel fits me a lot better. It's a position I feel very comfortable with."
Coats came to BYU after putting up huge numbers on the Utah prep scene from the wide receiver position. After finding his way during a true freshman year in which he redshirted, Coats bulked up and decided with the coaching staff that tight end was where he would be used most effectively during his career at BYU.
s "I gained so much weight," replied Coats. "Last year I got up to 250 which looking back hurt my game a bit. That's not a natural playing weight for me. I feel that I was concentrating really hard at becoming a well-rounded tight end with blocking off the line and everything that it hurt how well I ran patterns and got off the line and stuff like that."
After a successful first season where he was split out a lot of the time, Coats saw fewer and fewer balls thrown his way late in that first season heading into his sophomore campaign.
"I was becoming a blocking tight end," laughed Coats. "It seemed as if I was a sixth offensive lineman a lot of the time. Blocking is good and all, but I like catching the ball."
Enter Coach Anae and the new offense where just about all thes existing tight ends on the team have switched over to the big inside receiver position, or the YR position as it is officially termed by the coaching staff. It is a sort of hybrid between a normal tight end and a slot receiver.
"I love it," said Coats regarding his new position. "It feels natural to me, it just fits me as a player. I feel that this is a position custom-made for me and my skills."
Instead of lining up in a three-point stance and having to deal with linemen and outside linebackers bumping you as you come off of the line of scrimmage, the YR is split out slightly wide of the offensive line most of the time in a normal wide receiver's stance.
"I feel like a receiver again," said Coats. It helps me run my patterns better, getting off of the line quicker and all that."
Another aspect that has helped Coats feel quicker and more comfortable running patterns is dropping some significant weight in the off-season. "I'm about 235 right now which is down from 250," said Coats. "Being this weight helps me run better, turn better and just move better all around. I feel it's closer to my natural weight. So far I think it's really helped me run patterns and catch the ball better."
So far so good as Coats has impressed early on during practice establishing himself as a main target coming off of the line as a YR receiver. "When BYU recruited me, they recruited me because of my ability to catch the ball, not because of how well I blocked," concluded Coats. "I feel I'm a good blocker and it's something I've become good at, but man, catching the ball is what I do best and this new system and new position helps me do that best. I feel great out there now. Better than I have in some time."