With elusive senior Harry Douglas and big-play junior Mario Urrutia unquestionably established as Brian Brohm's No. 1 and No. 2 options in the passing game, the 6-foot-2, 220 pound Long is trying to cement himself as Brohm's third option.
"I'm battling for the third receiver position and I think it's pretty much down to us three," Long told InsideTheVille.com. "There's a lot of competition out there day in and day out. Guys are going out and making plays and trying to contribute. But my role is definitely going to increase this year and hopefully I'll make a lot of big plays."
a breakout season.
Long made several big plays during the first three days of camp when practice was open to the public and the media. He continued to make plays during the Cardinals lone open scrimmage at PJCS.
What does Long, who played sparingly last season, attribute his improvement?
"Just hard work in the off-season," Long said. "I was up here putting a lot of extra work in and really working on the jugs (machine) and hand eye coordination, working on tucking the ball quickly and bursting after the catch with the ball. And I did a lot of extra route running out here with the quarterbacks over the summer."
Long seems to have made a smooth transition to new coach Steve Kragthorpe's offense. He's big, strong and fast and he's proven himself a reliable down field target. He could prove the perfect complement to Douglas and Urrutia this season.
"The routes are the same with this offense. It's all about stretching the field and getting the ball downfield," Long said. "We're going to take a lot of shots (downfield) this year, as we did last year. I think this offense is better actually."
Though Kragthorpe has turned his team's full attention toward preparing for the the season-opener against Murray State, Long said he and his offensive teammates will still continue working to improve their fundamentals and techniques.
"There are some areas for improvement, like blocking out on the perimeter with the receivers," Long said. "We had a couple of penalties during the scrimmage that kind of hurt us and stopped some drives. If we just get everything cleaned up the only thing that can stop us is ourselves, really."