Passing Game 'Needs to be Better'

Apparently a quarterback who has a year of experience under his belt and a group of receivers touted by some as the deepest/most talented unit in the Snyder era doesn't mean automatic success in the passing game… at least, Coach Bill Snyder isn't satisfied, anyway.

"We need to be better than we are," Snyder said, when asked whether he was pleased with the passing game.

"It's going pretty good," junior wide receiver Jermaine Moreira said of the passing attack. "But it could be much better… There are a lot of things we need to work on and that's what we were trying to do this off-week."

Snyder said there are a number of facets of the passing game that should improve. "Certainly, when it comes to quarterbacks, you're always worried about the decision making process and about throwing accuracy," Snyder said. "Those are still things that we're growing with, at this particular point in time." Thus far, junior quarterback Allen Webb has completed 58-percent of his passes, compared to 52-percent last season. He has tossed two interceptions against non-conference foes Florida International and Marshall.

"There's no way we can keep turning over the ball and keep coming up with these wins," Webb said. "That's something that we know we're going to have to take care of to continue this winning streak."

Webb said that ball security was addressed during the off-week. "We worked on a lot of ball security," Webb said. One particular area of focus was avoiding interceptions during practice, and Webb said the scout team had done a fine job of giving the offense game-like competition and intensity in going after the ball on the practice field. "(The scout team has) a lot to do with our success on Saturdays," Webb said.

"Pass protection is always a major issue," Snyder said. "That has an impact on some of the statistics that you talk about, in regards to how quickly you have to release the football." The offensive line, featuring four new -and one relocated- starters, has allowed four sacks on the season.

What about the receivers? "Collectively, they are not performing as the perception initially was that they should," Snyder said. Junior wide receiver Jermaine Moreira leads the Wildcats in receptions, with 11 and sophomore Jordy Nelson leads the team in touchdown receptions, with two, but a number of drops, fumbles, and mental mistakes in route-running left Snyder wanting more from the receiving corps.

Moreira said that the offense is much better than it was last season at this time. "Our guys are much more committed – studying film on all our opponents; getting together more and bonding as a unit more."

Moreira said the number of weapons in the offense is the strength of the unit. "We have a bunch of great receivers," Moreira said. "We have Thomas Clayton. We have Parrish Fisher. Allen Webb can do some things with the quarterback run game. It's not a one-man show, or anything like that.

Look for passing game to make strides on Saturday. A solid, turnover-free showing will not only help the team in physically preparing for Big 12 play, but mentally as well.

If Webb can stay in the pocket and avoid interceptions, and if the line can maintain their blocks consistently, and if the receivers can avoid drops and errors in judgment, this facet of the offense could become the perfect complement to a rushing attack that features the nation's leading rusher.

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