Offense seeks identity

Wide receiver is a position that lacks proven playmakers and it mirror's other skill positions on the offense such as running backs and quarterback.

Wide receiver is a position that lacks proven playmakers and it mirror's other skill positions on the offense such as running backs and quarterback. The offense will be seeking an identity and as Joker Phillips has said the defense will have to carry the team until that identity has been established.

What is meant by identity? It simply says there is no established stud running back to rely upon to be the bell-cow of the offense. There is no established wide receiver that has proven himself to be a go-to-guy. To a lesser degree, but the same thing can be said for the tight end position that is very deep in capable bodies and no identified #1 at the present.

Wide receiver coach Tee Martin has expressed his excitement about his wide receivers. But they are going to have to show they have the stuff winners are made of. Until that happens for the wide receiver corps, a proven guy like Gene McCaskill is a valuable commodity to have around. He struggling to regain the form he was beginning to show before he went down last fall camp with an ACL tear in his knee. He has subsequently has two other surgeries on the same knee. During this fall camp he has been day to day and he said he is presently 90% and he feels the every other day practice regimen will eventually get he to 100%. "My experience will be big for this team," McCaskill said. "I know all the positions of the wide outs and one of my strengths will be the ability to teach the young guys." He said a lot of teams are going to put seven and eight men in the box to forced them to throw the ball but they welcome that strategy. "We have 4.3 (forty-yard) guys now and outstanding freshmen."

The veterans have to some degree been silenced on who the outstanding freshmen are but McCaskill said they have two freshmen wide receivers that are legit. Those that know the roster would not find it hard to guess who they are.

Another veteran receiver that is in his fourth year in the program is E. J. Fields another guy that hasn't established himself as a playmaker. He was seen out on the field putting in extra work long after others had left. We asked him what was he working on. "I want to do everything I can to get on the field from scrimmage," A dogged Fields explained. "And if that don't work out I can say I've done all I can do. This summer I worked on my route running and now I'm working on catching the ball over the top at the end of my route." On the competition he is seeing everyday he said he has got to be on his toes everyday because if you come out here and make mistakes you won't see the field. He likewise said he has been here long enough to know the entire system and all of the wide receiver positions. Fields said he would be lying if he said the first hot day this fall didn't get to him. This is where you've got to fight through it. They are now approaching the dog days of fall camp when the legs start to get heavy and Fields said, "now it's mind over matter."

Steve Pardue's running backs are trying to establish an identity and he is mum on the front-runner. He maintains he's not seeking the best back in the conference but to have the best set of backs in the conference.

Joker Phillips said both the young backs (Josh Clemons and Marcus Caffey) are pushing for time. Joker said he had a special team scrimmage today and he's got to see who can help them on coverage teams. He said he's got three or four freshman that he definitely needs to find a place for. The coach said he has not seen a miss (recruiting) on the freshmen class. There are some he said he would like to do with such as has been done with Collins Ukwu, who came in as at 205-pounds and is now a 270-pound violent pass rusher.

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