Coach Washington indicated that he expects to play an eight-man rotation at wide receiver. I asked him what he thinks about his receivers?
“I still haven’t seen them in a game! So, I don’t know,” laughed Coach Washington. “They do some good things in practice! But I think that it’s a talented group of guys.”
Coach Washington indicated that he expects to be able to move some guys around. Two versatile veteran receivers, Marcus Lucas and Bud Sasser, provide ample flexibility, as they are each able to play any of Missouri’s inside or outside receiver spots. L’Damian Washington will primarily play on the outside, and Dorial Green-Beckham and Darius White will each play exclusively on the outside. Jimmie Hunt and Levi Copelin will each play both inside spots, and Copelin is also learning to play on the outside. It remains to be seen just how much Jaleel Clark will play, but Coach Washington expects him to see some action.
“To tell you exactly what the rotation’s going to be, I really can’t tell you, but Jimmie (Hunt)’s going to be heavily involved,” explained Coach Washington, an indication that he views Hunt as one of Missouri’s top five receivers.
I asked Coach Washington what percentage of the time will the Tigers utilize a tight end?
“I don’t know,” admitted Coach Washington. “I guess it all depends on as we put our game plan together, as we conclude our game plan, it’ll be just based on what we think those guys can do for us, split out as well as attached.”
Coach Washington talked about the #3 TE, Clayton Echard, who converted to tight end from defensive end this spring.
“Clay did a heck of a job,” said Coach Washington. “He can actually run a whole lot better than what people think. He’s a stronger guy, a bigger, stronger guy.”
Look for Echard as a blocker in short-yardage situations, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be on the receiving end of a play-action pass.
“Don’t be shocked,” smiled Coach Washington.
Then, Coach Washington talked about his prize pupil, Dorial Green-Beckham.
“The thing about (Dorial Green-Beckham) is he’s gotten better,” said Coach Washington. “He really has gotten better since the spring with me. Since the spring, through the fall, he’s been more consistent. He’s been more consistent. He’s been more consistent from the spring until the fall. Right now, I can pretty much rely on him being at the right place at the right time. That’s the most important thing. And, the quarterback’s got to believe it.”
Coach Washington didn’t appear to be concerned about the dropped passes by Green-Beckham that I saw in the scrimmages.
“He’s caught a lot of balls too,” said Coach Washington. “No problem. No problem.”
Coach Washington said that Green-Beckham’s practice habits have improved.
“He’s a talented kid,” said Coach Washington. “He’s a very talented young man………………………………………… There’s no question that his practice habits have improved. He’s gotten better. He’s more consistent, now.”
In the spring, Coach Washington told me that he was trying to teach his receivers to make all of their routes look the same at the beginning of each route. I asked him how that was coming along?
“We’re still working on it,” explained Coach Washington, who said that it’s typical of college receivers to take time to perfect their routes. “They’ve made a lot of progress. But, we’re still working on it. We’ve made a lot of progress, but we’re still working on it. I think the guys are buying in. They’re getting better with it………………………………………………. Some guys, it takes a couple of years to really, truly understand that they need to try to look the same every time they come off the football, because in high school, they were so much better than everybody else.”
Coach Washington laughed about the fact that with college players, by the time they get really good, they’re gone.
“When you finally get it right, and you have that good year, he’s gone,” laughed Coach Washington. “He’s gone! That’s the truth! He says, “Thanks, Coach, I really appreciate it. I’m out.……………………………………….. Then, I got to start all over again. But, it’s fun! I enjoy it. I really do. I enjoy doing it.”