2006 Fall Preview: Wide Receivers

Miami's passing offense ranked 71st nationally, the worst passing ranking in over seven seasons. The receivers have not lived up to their potential thus far, but they have not been put in situations to allow for them to excel and utilize each player's strengths.

New offensive coordinator Rich Olson plans to spread the offense out and put the ball in the receivers' hands so that they can make plays in open space. The receivers and quarterbacks were excited about what they saw from the offense last spring and will look to build on that in the fall.

Miami has plenty of experience returning in its top three receivers, but not much production. With a new, aggressive passing attack the receiving corps will look to produce in 2006.
DEPTH CHART
SE
85 Ryan Moore (6-3, 225 Sr.)
9 Lance Leggett (6-4, 188 Jr.)
87 Khalil Jones (6-2, 218 Soph.)

FL
8 Darnell Jenkins (5-10, 190 Sr.)
20 Terrell Walden (5-10, 168 Jr.)
15 Brian Monroe (6-2, 210 Sr.)

TE
82 Greg Olsen (6-5, 252 Jr.)
88 Chris Zellner (6-2, 238 Soph.)
90 Richard Gordon (6-4, 254 Fr.)
11 DajLeon Farr (6-5, 248 Soph.)
46 John Rochford (6-1, 275 Jr.)

Ryan Moore
Moore has been an enigmatic player ever since his breakout freshman season. Moore has the most talent of any wide receiver on the roster, but for whatever reason (injuries, playcalling, and suspensions) he has not been able to put together a successful season since his freshman year. Moore is reportedly still in Coker's doghouse, which could mean that he will miss the opener versus FSU. Olsen came away very impressed with Moore's ability last spring and don't be surprised if Moore is thrown to a lot more this season than the previous two seasons.

Spring quote Offensive Coordinator Rich Olson: "He has run some routes that make you go wow, that is what a guy in the NFL does. Especially when it is a true one-on-one situation against a defensive back, he is getting separation."

Darnell Jenkins
After weighing 178 pounds during the 2005 season, Jenkins reports to UM in 2006 weighing 190 pounds. Jenkins credits the weight gain to more of a focus on the upper body in the weight room. Jenkins is a receiver that will grind a cornerback down during the course of a game with crisp routes. He is also one of the faster players on UM's roster. He believes there will be a greater emphasis on putting the ball in the receivers hands.

Spring Quote: "The role of the receivers this year is to just have the ball in our hands. In situations other than third down, they are going to be getting us the ball on first and second down to open up the offense more. More balls are being thrown our way and more plays are being made. We are spreading it out more and taking it one day at a time."

Lance Leggett
Whatever distracted Leggett during the 2005 season appeared to be a thing of the past for Leggett during spring practice. Reports from the spring practices were that Leggett was burning the secondary with the deep ball. Both Coach Coker and offensive coordinator Rich Olson were pleased with Leggett's progress and noted that his confidence is back. Leggett has all the tools and measurables to be a great receiver for UM and he needs to be put in position to make plays that are suitable for him.

Spring Quote: "The deep ball is what we were missing last year. Everyboy was saying we weren't making plays, but now the {Coach Olson} is giving us chances to make big plays."

Khalil Jones
Jones is one of the hardest working and hungriest players on the Miami roster. After almost every practice Jones can be seen working on his routes and timing with the quarterbacks. At 6-foot-2, 218 pounds Jones has a nice combination of size and speed at the wide receiver position. As soon as Jones becomes consistent catching the ball, all his hard work will without a doubt pay off.

Spring Quote: "All of the great receivers who came through here, Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, and all the rest of them, they didn't just do it on the field in practice. It takes every little minute you can get to yourself to focus on specific drills because practice is fast-paced from drill to drill,"

Terrell Walden


Spring Quote: "One thing I like that he (Olson) is doing is that he gives a lot of opportunities to get the ball in the receivers hands with quick passes and he likes to take a toss down the field," said Walden. "If we are in a one-on-one chance, he likes us and is going to give us a shot at it."

Brian Monroe
Monroe showed flashes of his athleticism to the fans in attendance at the mid-spring scrimmage and spring football game, but he is extremely raw at the position. I don't see Monroe playing in many games at receiver for UM, but he will no doubt help at the position during practice.

Spring Quote from Darnell Jenkins: "Monroe is just an athlete man. He is like Hester, just a different breed. Hester is just a little quicker than Monroe. Monroe just has to get more reps and learn how to adjust when the ball is in the air. When he learns the coverages, he will be just like a regular receiver."


TIGHT ENDS

Greg Olsen
Olsen is ready to have a break out season in 2006. This offseason Olsen was finally healthy from nagging injuries and reports are that the junior was a complete monster in the weight room. Olsen may be Miami's greatest weapon on offense and cause opposing defenses headaches with his incredible size and speed.

Spring Quote: "Everyone on offense is trying to get used to the new offense and terminology. Once everybody understands the offense, I think we can make some good strides. Some of the terminology is different, but other than that, we just have to get back to the fundamentals; blocking and catching the football."

Chris Zellner
Zellner is only hanging on to the second tight end spot ahead of Gordon because of his understanding of the offense and blocking ability. Because of his strong blocking ability, Zellner is a perfect fit at the H-back position for UM. Zellner may also be moved to fullback if Jerrell Mabry is not able to produce.

Spring Quote: "{The coaches} said the role of the tight end will be a lot greater than it was last year. They are putting in a lot more routes for us. They are saying that we may use more H-back, so I am pretty excited about that. That is something Greg Olsen and I have been working on this spring. Hopefully they can make some trick plays for us. But, for now we need to work on blocking and catching the football."

Richard Gordon
Gordon excited the coaches last spring with his raw athletic ability at the tight end position. Gordon combines a freakish size-speed combination that has all the offensive coaches drooling. During the mid-spring scrimmage and spring game, Gordon was used in a lot of two tight end sets along with Olsen. Gordon's hands weren't bad considering he hadn't played tight end since high school. In order to see significant playing time Gordon needs to become a better blocker. If Gordon can learn the offense and improve his blocking, he can be an impact player for UM as a freshman.

Spring Quote: "Coach, he really knows a lot," Gordon said. "He has been coaching tight ends for a long time. I just sit back with him, Greg Olsen, and Chris and listen to everything that they have to teach me. They are two great guys. I just sit back and watch their steps and the way they run their routes. I have to work on my routes a little bit more."

DajLeon Farr
Farr had a tough time adjusting from high school to college in 2005. Farr missed spring the spring football season due to shoulder surgery he had on January 25. Farr is big, fast, and strong enough to play for UM, but he needs to gain a better understanding of the offense and improve his pass catching.

Spring Quote: "It was a big difference coming here from high school. There weren't any routes that I ran, just mainly drag routes. I didn't have to worry about certain breaks. Coming here where they make the tight end a big part of the offense is a big difference, but I am coming along with it well."

John Rochford
Rochford will be a purely blocking tight end for UM in 2006. He will come in as a blocking tight end on short yardage and special teams situations. Rochford wants to play a position that he will be able to contribute most to the team and for now, that is at tight end.

Spring Quote: "The coaches switched my position. I am playing fullback, H-back, and tight end on short yardage and goal line situations. It is just a good opportunity for me to get on the field. I am so excited, I like to play and I like to hit people, so they are giving me a chance."

Freshmen:
All three freshmen could see the field this season. Sam Shields has reportedly been accepted at UM and has impressed the fellow players during 7-on-7 drills during the summer. Shields has a lot of speed and could have an impact for UM this season. At 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Dedrick Epps is physically ready to play for UM. If Epps does play in 2006, it will most likely be as a fifth wide receiver rather than tight end. George Robinson is a freshman that has a lot of speed, but has extremely raw route running and pass catching ability. Robinson is the least likely of the freshmen to see playing time.


David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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