Spring Practice Review: The Receivers

With the departure of both WR Doug Gabriel and Jimmy Fryzel, Coach Sean Beckton is looking for a new leader for his wide receiver crop. Knights News caught up with the wide receiver coach to get his assessment on the receivers in spring practice.

The first part of preparation for the 2003 season has closed out, but it seems a coach's job is never done. Coach Sean Beckton will begin his eighth seasons with the Golden Knights as the wide receivers coach this coming fall, and even as time passes, the job does not get any easier.

Some assistant coaches can't fulfill their dreams of returning to their prospective alma mater to coach, but the same can not be said about assistance coach Beckton. Back in his day, coach Beckton played the same position he is now coaching. Over the years, he has grown to understand the system intricately. Expectations rest on Beckton's shoulder this fall, and his goal is to transfer his knowledge of the scheme over to the young wide receivers; a task t coach Beckton welcomes. Thus far, most of the wide receivers seem to have grasped the system; but they still have a long way go.


The last few years, the Knights wide receivers have given themselves the nickname of "play makers," but to earn that nickname, they must first prove themselves worthy. The receivers not only run the routes, but they must also do the little things to help the team. One of the requirements is blocking. Yes, blocking. You would never imagine that would be one of the prerequisites for receivers, but it is in fact a necessity. Just take a look at some NFL players and you will see the expectations of a quality WR. Some great WR still struggle to be complete players at their position. Take Randy Moss of the Minnesota Vikings for example. Although Moss is a great WR, he's still being criticized for not giving his best effort when blocking opponents.

Coach Beckton knows he does not have an NFL type superstar in his receiving core, but what he expects form each and every player is effort. Beckton wants and expects his wide-receivers to be tougher when they're asked to block cornerbacks. Coming out of spring, Beckton's only criticism of his receivers was their lack of toughness in the blocking schemes. "When they're blocking the defensive players, they need to bring that toughness in blocking, just like how Jimmy Fryzel did it last year," said Beckton. Coach Beckton knows that his wide-receivers will have their weaknesses exploited in the fall if not prepared, and they must be ready to take on the challenge.

One of the wide receivers who will tackle the challenges coach Beckton will implement this fall is Brandon Marshall. Marshall was a QB in high school and his transition to wide receiver has been a smooth one. His athleticism has helped him tremendously, switching from QB to WR. Coach Beckton expects Marshall to step-up in the fall to battle for the starting job and solidify the position. Marshall has had a good spring; a foundation which will help him come fall.

The other wide receiver that will be in the mix this coming fall is Al Peterson. Coach Beckton saw Peterson's improvement, and things his tough work ethic has really payoff. "Al Peterson has improved a lot," said coach Beckton. Thus far, Peterson's good showing in the spring has helped the receiving game to run smoothly and efficiently.

So the question is "who is the surprising horse in the spring?" "Andre Sumpter was a surprise this spring," said coach Beckton. Sumpter might not be capable of starting just yet, but time and time again in the spring; Sumpter proved to coach Beckton that he will battle for a shot at the starting job in the fall. "Sumpter ran the routes well and has an understanding for the game and system," said coach Beckton.

Coming out of spring ball, one of the receivers who will likely have a monster season is Tavares Capers. Capers is the only Knights' wide receiver who has had his starting job guaranteed to him by the coaching staff. Not that the coaching staff reserved the staring spot for him because they like him, but because he proved time after time last year in big games that he can get the job done. Reliability is the key word. Capers might be the only so called "reliable" receiver UCF has this year. Throughout spring, he showed that he not only can catch the ball but also that he can hold on to it. The ability Capers displayed on the field not only earned him the starting spot, it also gained him the respect from other receivers. "Capers is the leader of the wide receivers," said coach Beckton. Going into the fall, Capers will have to lead by example, and prove to the other receivers that he's at the tip of the spear of the wide receivers corp. If he does so, everyone else will be battling for the starting job at the other side of the offensive set.

On another note, Coach Beckton has planned to visit two NFL teams to learn their system this summer. Beckton has contacted the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers camps. He is still waiting for confirmations from both camps.

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