Leggett to Excel in '06

A new offensive coordinator means more opportunities junior Lance Leggett.

Bottom-line is this:

The 2005 Hurricanes did not attack opposing teams down the field. They did not air it out and did not let their talented receivers make plays.

Gone is offensive coordinator Dan Werner, whose teams averaged 29.4 points per game (21.5 against ranked teams) in his two years as the coordinator at Miami. UM averaged 36.8 points per game in the previous three seasons.

After the 40-3 loss to LSU in the Peach Bowl and Werner was let go, head coach Larry Coker brought in Rich Olson. Olson, a former NFL offensive coordinator, has brought a renewed excitement around the program starting with the receivers.

No receiver should be more excited than Lance Leggett.

Leggett, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior receiver from Bartow, is ready to put '05 behind him and get 2006 started as soon as possible.

After 17 catches, 349 yards, and 4 touchdowns as a freshman, Leggett had 15 catches, 204 yards, and 2 touchdowns last season.

Not exactly the numbers he was hoping for.

But with Olson as the coordinator, Leggett is sure to excel in 2006.

"I love this," said Legget, about the new system. "It gives me a chance to go downfield and that is what I like to do. I think I am going to have a lot of chances this year."

After the sub-par performance last year, Leggett does not feel any added pressure this season.

"There aint no pressure, I expect that," he said. "I know I have to go out there and make plays. It is time to step up."

In the spring, he had one of the best performances by an offensive player. He was also busy with track, something he loves to do.

"If I wouldn't have gotten hurt, I know I would have made it to nationals," said Leggett, who pulled a hamstring prior to the event. "The boy who came in second at nationals barely beat me at the tape at ACC's."

Leggett took first place at the ACC Championships in the 400 meter hurdles (51.83) and second in the 110 meter hurdles (13.79).

He will use his outstanding speed and his 6-foot-3 frame this season which will cause matchup problems for opposing teams. In addition to talent, he does not lack confidence.

"I am real confident right now," Leggett said. "I am going out and making plays every day. I am doing what I need to do."

Head coach Larry Coker thinks Lance is doing well this first week of practice.

"He is doing really good," Leggett said. "I have been very pleased with Lance. He has done a great job and I am really encouraged by his progress. He has really worked hard at it. I have seen a lot of toughness and a lot of improvement."

Leggett is expected to start the opener along with senior receiver Darnell Jenkins. Freshman Sam Shields is expected to be a key contributor in the offense as well as senior Ryan Moore, who will miss the first two games due to a suspension.

Those four are expected to be the top receivers on the team.

"All of us are dangerous," Leggett said. "That is the one thing I can say. The thing about it is all of us can run. Everybody can do the same thing. We can all catch short passes and take it the distance or just go deep."

Khalil Jones and Terrell Walden are also expected to contribute this year as well.

"I think we (the receivers) are going to be way stronger than what we were last year and I think this is the best group of receivers since I've been here," Leggett said.

Leggett, the receivers, and the rest of the team resume practice morning. It will be their first practice in full pads.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

Canes Time Top Stories