Q&A with Scotty McKnight

One of the Buffaloes making his game debut in the CU-CSU contest on Sept. 1 will be wide receiver Scotty McKnight. The redshirt freshman could even be in the starting lineup in the game. Inside, McKnight talks about coming back from a broken ankle, staying positive during the process, and the toughest defensive back to face in practice day in and day out.

BSN: Tell me again when you broke your ankle.
Scott McKnight
: It was the first week of spring practice. It was during a drill. It just kind of got twisted up and I broke it.

BSN: Were you injured last August, too?
: A little bit. It wasn't so much that I was injured. I have a lower back thing, and my legs just started to give out. I wasn't up to speed that way.

BSN: What did that do for you to redshirt last year?
: I talked to Coach Hawkins before (deciding to redshirt). I think it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I really needed it to kind of catch up to speed of the game, learn how to read coverages more, and just in general being away from home. I think it helped to go on scout team and prepare guys like Thaddaeus (Washington) and J.J. (Billingsley). To go against guys like that in practice every day, that got me a lot better.

BSN: How much goes in to reading a defense? We always hear about a quarterback needing to do that, but what does a wide receiver look at when you come up to the line?
: Pretty much, there's different options to the route. You go out there and if it's a certain defense, you're going to run this. You've got to look if the safeties are shifting, if the corners are going back, who's pressing the flat. Any given defense you could run on a play – you've always got to be aware and run the right play because I may not be getting the ball, but by converting my route to something else, it might be setting up the ball for someone else.

BSN: How much fun is that part of the game?
: It keeps it interesting. I definitely take a lot of stock in that, watch a lot of film, pay attention in meetings. Just know where every different position is supposed to be and how they play off each other. I like that part of the game a lot.

BSN: What do you have to do to be successful against CSU? What do they do well?
: They have a real strong pass defense. I guess we just have to go out there and play our game, do everything the coaches say. I think we've got a good game plan ahead of us.

BSN: Coach Hawkins said the other day that you have optimistic countenance about you. What does that mean?
: I guess he was saying I'm a positive person. I think he was probably referring to my ankle injury and recovering from that.

BSN: He was.
: That's one of the things I'm big on. The first couple of days I was down in the dumps, but Coach Hawk made it a point to rally around me. And the team rallied around me, and my family. I'm the type of person that realized I'm not going to get better if I just stay in the hole and mope about it. I started working out and getting better was the first thing on my mind.

BSN: How much were you able to work out with the injury before you could run?
: Actually, a lot. I did all the upper body stuff with the team. And then when we did other stuff, I'd do things with my (un-injured) leg. Coach Hawk actually told me the first day that he's seen studies where if you work out your other leg it benefits the leg you're not working on.

Surprisingly, after a couple weeks, there were things I could do with it. I jumped up to speed pretty quickly.

BSN: I know Coach Hawkins doesn't make a big deal about depth chart, especially at receiver where a bunch of guys will rotate in, but you're probably going to play against CSU. How excited are you?
: Definitely, I'm really excited to get out there. Taking a year off from actually playing in a game kind of gets your hunger back. We do a lot of rotating with the receivers, so everyone will be fresh, and we're in good shape. I'm excited to go out there and hopefully make a couple of plays in Week 1.

BSN: How are the young receivers doing?
: They're doing awesome. The thing I noticed about them — Josh (Smith) and Kendrick (Celestine) actually stayed with me this summer. And then Markques (Simas) came later. Those guys are all real mature football players. Really into studying the game, which is something that some freshmen don't really understand right away — how big a part of the game it is. Those three, they were always up studying the plays. They caught on really, really quickly. Athletically, there's no question they're really good athletes. They're really fast and they brought a lot of competition to this team. It was real beneficial to have them out here.

BSN: Last thing. Who's the toughest defensive back for you to go up against out here these days?
: I'd say Terrence Wheatley is up there. The guy is so fast and so quick and so strong. And Chapelle (Brown) comes to mind. Chapelle Brown's always making plays and has great technique.

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