One of the strong points of the returning receivers is their athletic ability. "We have a couple of guys that can flat out run." When the defense is pursuing against the option, their athletic ability will be use to counter that by using their speed on the end around.
The receivers have entered the spring bigger and stronger. "All of them are making improvement in their strength which allows them to be more successful out there and being able to make plays when it counts."
While it seems that Melton and Stephen Hill have secured the starting job at receiver, Preston thinks that they still must prove that they deserve to be the starters. "Every day you have to come out and compete like you're not the number one guy," said Preston. "When you get comfortable then you're not going to get better."
Two of the additions to this year's receivers are Kevin Cone and Jeremy Moore. Kevin is returning from an injury and Moore from a redshirt freshman season. On the subject of Moore, Preston commented…."He's coming along and making some improvement but he still has a long way to go but he's doing some good things out there." Moore is learning the intensity, how to go about things and learning the scheme of things.
Last year, Thomas was the player making the plays and was the go to guy. This year the receivers will have to prove that they can be that guy. "If everybody is making the plays then everybody gets to touch it," said Preston. "If only one guy is doing it then it's only going to be one guy."
One of the receivers with that opportunity is returning starter Tyler Melton. "Everything is about opportunity and the opportunity has presented itself," said Melton. "It's up to me to take advantage of it." Melton has gotten stronger and it's helped him out on the field. "I'm able to come off the line harder and faster and I'm able to fight off blockers."
As touched on by Coach Preston, Melton also sees progress being made by the other receivers. "I think everyone has progressed," said Melton. It's amazing how everyone has grown up and taken accountability upon themselves to get better."
The receivers have also been putting in extra work after practice. "We all stay after practice working on our routes, catching the ball and putting the extra time in." The experienced receivers are trying to pass this work ethic down to the younger receivers.
Opportunity is the key word for this year's group of receivers as they work this spring. They all know that now the opportunity is theirs with the team's number one receiver no longer around. The spring should give us answers on which receiver that might be.