Q & A With Wide Receivers Coach Todd Monken

OSSR: How do you feel the team is coming along overall during spring practice? <BR><BR> Monken: Like anything, with every practice that you get in you get more comfortable with your offensive and your defensive scheme. We've got a lot of young, talented players, and like I've told you and told others, I think where we struggle is where we have mature players going against younger players.

Obviously, we're mature in the secondary, and I think they've done a great job against our young perimeter players on offense.Up front, I think we're mature with our tight ends and our offensive line, and I think our defense would say they are younger up front and have some work to do.Up front, I think we're mature with our tight ends and our offensive line, and I think our defense would say they are younger up front and have some work to do.That's why you have spring practice to get better, and I think it's going great. I think our guys our competing and I think they feel positive about what we are doing. I think we have a chance to have an outstanding team.

OSSR: Two straight years of having the added 15 workouts to prepare for the bowl game have been a big bonus, havn't they?

Monken: No question, just having the opportunity to be out there to coach them. It's like everybody says, it's not practice makes perfect, it's perfect practice makes perfect. Even though our young guys can work out in the summer it's not like us being out there holding them accountable and teaching, coaching, and helping them learn. Hopefully, we've had an impact with that. Having the bowl practices and them having them in the spring gives them the opportunity to have us out there and working with them learning, have them in meetings, and making them better players.

OSSR: How are your receivers developing?

Monken: Right now in my estimation, we've got D'Juan Woods and we've a pack of other guys. The good thing is that they all have ability, but they are all young in some aspect. Either they are young in age or they are young in playing time on the field. Some of them do somethings better than others. Our starters right now, if we were in a three receiver set, would be Chijuan Mack, Tommy Devereaux, and D'Juan Woods. Your talking about currently two true freshmen and a redshirt freshman, so they have a lot of learning to do and a lot of strength development. Right now, Chijuan is seriously, seriously in need of some strength training. He's not strong enough to be physical. If it's cushion and everything is easy, sure, he can run and jump and catch, and gosh dang, you'd go recruit him again, but he has a lot to continue to prove. Samething with Tommy, he shows flashes of being tremendous. Everything is new to these guys. They need to play hard, be coached hard, and learn the offense. I think Eric Allen, Kenny Williams those guys are coming along, they'll be fine. John Wohglemuth, if we could just keep him healthy, his shoulder is now bothering him and he's out. I don't know, but he steadies things because he gets in the right spot and catches the ball. You can trust him in everything you do. You just don't know if you're going to have him healthy. Obvsiously, Chay Nease is not with us any longer (injuries forces him to go on a medical scholarship). One of the surprises I guess you could say is Luke Frazier. Nobody has talked about him. He's a 200 pound kid that is a walkon. He's tough, can run a 4.5, and he will catch the ball. He understands the game, and he's going to play for us this year and he's a special teams guy,just because of that physical maturity and toughness. He's a 200 pound guy that doesn't get knocked around. He's from Skiatook. He said he went to NEO to start to play baseball and then ended up here last spring. He first came to the morning workouts, and we saw him do somethings, but I didn't know if he could play. We went down to time the guys and he ran in the low 4.5's. I said I'll just keep him around a while because he's a pretty good athlete and a pretty good student. He wasn't going to embarrass you. He's gotten better and better. Last year he had problems catching the ball and you couldn't play him because of that. This spring he has been a lot better. I think he brings some energy and physical presence to the position. Last would be Phillip Jones. Phillip Jones is still in the process of rehabing his knee. He won't bend and won't put pressure on it. He won't get in and out of cuts. He does show a burst and the ability to really snatch the ball with his hands. Whether his knee will come around to allow him to as quick and as athletic with him weighing only 170 pounds only time will tell. You'd like a guy that had a knee injury to be a little bit bigger where his speed and burst isn't as critical, but for him he's going to need it to come around full circle. We're happy he's here. He's a great kid that works hard at it, and if anybody can do it, he can. I don't anticipate this fall for him being able to help us.

OSSR: How is the quarterback situation playing out in practice?

Monken: Donovan Woods started off the spring as the starter. Nobody works harder and nobody has a better grasp of our offense right now. We'd love for Donovan Woods to be our starting quarterback and we'd love for Robert Reid to be our starting quarterback. The hard part is when you have two great athletes like they are and they are both great competitors, and that's not anything against Al Pena, Beeghley, and Friess. Those two kids, athletically, are capable of playing another position, and that obviously, is going to be a big factor in our decision because neither one is going to want to sit the bench. You can all you want, you need two, you need this, but no way either one of them is going to sit. Both of them have outstanding qualities. You just have to see which one of them has the best spring. We all know Donovan Woods works his butt off. He is a tremendous competitor, has tremendous ball skills. Robert Reid the same way. He's a tremendous athlete, tremendous thrower, and brings a lot to the table there. That is to be determined the next few days. We had a staff meeting this mroning and with these two young men that are athletes I really believe that it won't go into the fall. I think when you're talking about these two men, who see themselves as players and want to be on the field, the longer you go you keep them from learning another position where we can get them on the field. You're going to want them to stay on offense where they can be involved with what we do. You want one or the other to be available to learn what they are going to do, whether it's a running back, tight end, receiver, so they can get ready for the fall. They both are going to want to be on the field

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