Coach Speak: Chris Briggs and Jhyryn Taylor

What is Southern Miss getting with WRs Chris Briggs and Jhyryn Taylor? gets the answers from Franklinton head coach Shane Smith.

Franklinton High School rarely experienced success on the football field until Shane Smith took over as head coach several years ago. During the Smith era, the Demons became a perennial Louisiana powerhouse, culminating in back-to-back Class 4A state title appearances (and a 2010 championship) the past two seasons.

Both Jhyryn Taylor - a Franklinton grad - and Chris Briggs - an FHS senior and recent USM signee - are headed to Southern Miss to play wide receiver for the Golden Eagles, and spoke with Smith about the tandem.

"With Jhyryn, the thing that comes to mind is his ability to run after the catch," said Smith. "He's extremely quick and was a great player for us as early as his sophomore year. If you and Jhyryn are in the same room, he would be able to keep you from getting out the door because he's so quick. He can take a short slant and turn it into an 80-yard gain.

"He does a great job of releasing off the line. He's physical and will catch the ball in traffic. He'll catch the ball in the middle of the field. He's physical and blocks well. That's something that we require of our receivers; they have to be physical on the perimeter because our offense runs a lot of jet sweeps."

Smith then discussed what Briggs brings to the table.

"The thing that immediately comes to mind with Chris is the amount of improvement that he made in one year," said Smith. "As a junior, you'd look at him and sort of see a baby giraffe out there. He had the potential, but he wasn't able to make the big plays yet.

"Last season, the plays Chris made in the clutch were unbelievable. He would catch the ball with people hanging all over him in coverage. His upside is tremendous, and he should continue to make progess over the next three-to-four years.

"What's also great about that he's a pretty strong student academically. He's very good at expressing himself. He's very mature and understands things that many kids his age don't understand.

"He needs to get faster, but he'll do that. In one year, he made so much progress, and you have to think about it like this...he grew so much during his sophomore year that it took another year for his body to catch up.

"Last year, he really made the plays in the big games -- the Salmen game, the Haughton game -- the ones where the action was going back-and-forth."

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