INSIDE SLANT: The 2007 Vandal Receivers

In a continuation of last months interview with Idaho wide receivers coach Luther Carr, we take a closer look at Idaho's receiving corps as they prepare for the 2007 season. We asked coach Carr about several of the athletes in his stable, and his comments are inside. With such a huge influx of freshmen, including 2006 grayshirt freshman STEVEN BROWN out of Florida, this update is crucial.

The Vandals will be fielding an extraordinarily young wide receiver depth chart this fall. How young? Try the following on for size.

- Junior Lee Smith missed most of last season with an injury.
- Sophomore Max Komar earned a starting role last season - and a scholarship for the former walkon - at slot as a redshirt freshman all last season.
- Of the 14 athletes we list in the WR depth chart, seven are freshmen (two redshirts, two grayshirts, three true).

"Veteran" leadership will be provided by junior Lee Smith and sophomores Max Komar and Raymond Fry. Both Komar and Fry played extensively last fall, and are expected to play major roles in the Idaho attack this fall. Smith has been a reliable athlete and he will also be expected to be among the starters at Flanker or Split.

Looking it the chart from a pure depth perspective, it is a situation primed for the freshmen to come in and make an immediate and significant impact. We've seen the impact already with Fall Camp having started last Friday, and we expect several of the freshmen to be active in the two-deeps throughout the upcoming season.

Below is a discussion we had with wide receivers coach Luther Carr last month regarding each athlete in his arsenal for 2007.

#15 Cary Jensen-Madison
PAT HAUGE: You have three redshirt freshmen in the depth chart – Cary Jensen-Madison, Daniel Hardy, and Steven Brown. Do you expect these players to play a prominent role this fall? Are they developed enough to play a prominent role in your attack?

LUTHER CARR: Well, again I've only worked with those guys for three weeks, and…..they're going to HAVE to play a prominent role in order for us to get better. They're going to have to get better, they're going to have to play a role. If they're not starters, they're going to have to push the starters so that the starters - when they're out there on the field on Saturday - are putting out a good product out of fear that one of the young guys are going to take their position. So they're going to have to perform – we don't have a choice, or else they just won't play.

#81 Steven Brown
PH: What can you say about Steven Brown? What does he bring to the table?

LC: Well, he's only a freshman. But, for me, as he progressed this spring he gave me the confidence to put him out there on the field more, just because he was making plays. He still needs to get bigger, stronger, faster – and he still needs to learn the offense thoroughly. But I felt comfortable to put him out there because he made a couple plays out there this spring that really opened my eyes. I don't really know at this time what he brings to the table, other than I know that there is a pretty good percentage chance that he'll be where we need him to be.

PH: He comes from a bit of a football family, doesn't he?

LC: Yeah, he had a brother that played in the NFL. He comes from an area where they love football. Playing football to him is just natural. You don't have to get him excited about playing football…he comes from an area where that's what they do. It's like Canadians and hockey.

#88 Daniel Hardy
PH: Does he have pretty good speed?

LC: I've never seen his forty speed, but he plays fast when he knows what he's doing. He had a long catch in the spring game. If he gets better, we get better. If Cary Jensen gets better, we get better. If Daniel Hardy gets better, we get better.

[EDITORS NOTE: Fall camp is just getting underway, but all three have been getting significant reps in the Vandal offense, with Hardy making an impressive grab during drills Saturday morning. We expect all three to get serious looks this fall.]

PH: Can you tell us a little bit about Raymond Fry and the position that he's going to be playing this fall.

Raymond Fry (NOTE: Fry changed his jersey to #8 this spring)
LC: The position that Raymond plays asks that the receiver be very dynamic. He has to be agile enough to work the middle of the field because a lot of the passing routes are going to be in the middle of the field. He has to be strong enough to be able to block a linebacker. And obviously he has to be fast. We're asking the guys the that play that position to not only be dynamic, but that is the "it" position for the wide receivers as far as the opportunity to make a big play. The other positions are just as important, but the slot sets a lot of the plays in the system.

PH: Is there a size that fits the formula of what you're looking for in that position?

LC: When it comes to great football players, I don't know what the actual size is. I'm sure there is a formula. I'm sure that someone sat down and looked at every NFL wide receiver and came up with 5-11, 170-pounds, and 4.5 or something like that. But good is good. Good is good.

#22 Max Komar
PH: Is Max Komar going to move back to the Slot position and work it with Raymond Fry this fall?

LC: We're going to ask Max Komar to know everything. Realistically, by the end of the season, Raymond Fry should know what to do when he's outside. And the guys that are outside should know what to do if they're inside. I should be able to play every receiver at every spot, and there should not be a let down in play. In some instances there might be a let down in ability, but there shouldn't be a let down in play. Meaning, everybody knows what they're going to do and how to do it, and what to do once they've got it.

#86 Lee Smith
PH: Lee Smith, is he mostly an outside guy in your offense?

LC: Yes, but there will be times, via motion, that he could line up being a slot. Or via alignment, that he could wind up being a slot. So he needs to have those same dynamic principles as the person who regularly plays that position.

PH: Wesley Williams, is he out for this year?

LC: As far as I know, he's out for this year. [EDITOR'S NOTE: We've recently learned that Wes may be able to rejoin the team in some capacity this season, but that is unconfirmed at this time. We will continue to monitor the situation and report back soon as possible]

THE FRESHMEN: #1 Eric Greenwood (6-6, 210), #16 Dewey Hale (5-10, 180), and #2 Maurice Shaw (6-2, 190).

PH: You signed some pretty good freshmen in this last recruiting cycle: Dewey Hale, Eric Greenwood, and Maurice Shaw. Are you expecting all three to give you some minutes this fall?

LC: I expect all three to play. I expect them to all come out and compete. If they're not "playing", they better do exactly that – they better compete. What they do is only going to affect the other receivers. One of the reasons I always pushed myself [Coach Carr was a starting wide receiver for the Eastern Washington Eagle], is because the guys behind me when I was in college were always pushing me. They made me better. One of those three might end up starting…who knows?

PH: Do you have an idea of what position they're going to play, or are you going to just let them see how it all falls out when they get to Moscow?

LC: Naturally you're going to want the two taller receivers outside and the shorter guy in the slot, but who knows? I've even been influenced by things in the past – tall guys outside, short guys in the middle. But, let's just get the best players on the field.

#12 Quin Ashley
PH: Quin Ashley – is he going to work at wide receiver, defensive back, or quarterback?

LC: I'll just say he is a "slash." He's got skills. He's a good player, he's a very good player.

[EDITORS NOTE: We expect to see an athlete of Quin's caliber get looks all over the field this fall. He's pictured here working with the defensive backs, but it is likely he will get his reps at QB, wide receiver, and any other position where he can make an immediate impact and help the team.]

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