Post spring look: Receivers

One of the main concerns during the month was finding a go-to receiver. Unfortunately that question is still unanswered. There are several candidates in Sammie Stroughter and Anthony Wheat-Brown among others, but both were slowed by injuries. Stroughter was having the best camp of the receivers dominating the sidelines on curls and slants before injuring his knee and missing a weeks worth of drills.

Depth chart beginning of April:

SE: Sammie Stroughter, Marcel Love, Anthony Crosby
SL: Anthony Wheat-Brown, Brandon Powers, Taylor Kavanaugh
FL: Ruben Jackson, Zach Tarver, Brain Davilla, Kyle Brown

 

Depth chart end of April:

SE: Sammie Stroughter, Anthony Crosby, Bill Banash
SL: Anthony Wheat-Brown OR Marcel Love, Brandon Powers, Taylor Kavanaugh, Steve Cooper
FL: Ruben Jackson OR Anthony Wheat-Brown, Kyle Brown, Zach Tarver, Brain Davilla

 

Injuries:
  • Sammie Stroughter missed the last week of practice with a left knee injury
  • Anthony Wheat-Brown missed a week with nagging left ankle and hamstring sprains

 

Overview:

One of the main concerns during the month was finding a go-to receiver. Unfortunately that question is still unanswered.

There are several candidates in Sammie Stroughter and Anthony Wheat-Brown among others, but both were slowed by injuries. Stroughter was having the best camp of the receivers dominating the sidelines on curls and slants before injuring his knee and missing a weeks worth of drills. Stroughter is expected to be running at full speed by the end of the month if not sooner.

Wheat-Brown is fearless over the middle and he has paid the price with numerous leg injuries that just won't go away. Ruben Jackson was thought to be one of the front runners for a playmaker but he didn't perform well in the second half of the month.

Keeping Wheat-Brown healthy is essential if the Beavers passing game is going to be a success. Right now Riley doesn't know weather to keep Wheat-Brown in the slot or move him to flanker. In the slot he is very effective, but is always injured, putting him at flanker would protect him more.

If Wheat-Brown is moved to flanker he and Jackson would compete for a starting spot while Marcel Love would move into the slot position. With Wheat-Brown's history of injuries and Love's proven worth in the slot this is the most likely scenario.

If nothing changes then Love would be played at all receiving spots. Love is still getting back into football shape and mentally he is fine, he just needs to get his legs under him. Expect to see him step in fall camp.

Behind the four starters there is plenty of talent although mostly unproven. Redshirt freshman Anthony Crosby showed a ton of potential and had a sensational diving catch in the last week of practice that reminded this Beaver fan of Chad Johnson's catch in the 2000 Civil War. He has loads of proven game tested talent in front of him which will prevent him from starting, but he will one of the first ones off of the bench.

Freshman Kyle Brown is one of the bigger, more physical receivers on the team. He does a good job of going up and getting the ball, he just has a hard time getting off the line of scrimmage. Brown is definitely a player you will want to keep on eye on. He could even get some playing time this year in the redzone. Junior Brandon Powers could also sneak onto the field.

Out of the four walk ons - Bill Banash, Steve Cooper, Brian Davilla and Taylor Kavanaugh - Kavanaugh was the most impressive. He was the favorite target of Sean Canfield and he just knows how to get open. Kind of reminds me of a young Mike Hass.

In an effort to find playmakers other players from other positions have offered their services. Cornerback Keenan Lewis ran one route and came up with a 40-yard reception. Linebacker Derrick Doggett also ran a fly route and just about had a touchdown in the spring game. Lewis played receiver in high school and he says it is his dream to play on both sides of the ball.

As a starting cornerback Riley doesn't want the offensive side of football to distract Lewis from his defensive duties. And while he said Lewis won't be starting on both sides anytime soon Riley didn't rule out that he wouldn't use him. Same goes for Doggett, who also played some wide receiver and running back in high school.

The most telling sign of the receiving group at the conclusion of spring was the group's inability to get open. With Stroughter and Wheat-Brown out, no one stepped up. There were lots of dropped balls and the passing game was inept. Despite the somewhat down note that the group finished on the coaches like the talent level and expect the competition to ratchet up come fall.

 

Top spring performer:

Sammie Stroughter. Matt Moore's favorite receiver got open with precise routes and dependable hands. He uses his body well and is not afraid to go over the middle.

 

WR spring summary in three sentences or less:

Sammie Stroughter and Anthony Wheat-Brown are the two best receivers on the team as Marcel Love gets back into shape. Ruben Jackson faded while a host of backups competed for playing time. When the starters went down with injuries the passing game stalled.

 

Notable quotes:

WR coach Lee Hull - "Everything is coming together. It's on schedule. They are working hard and competing. Sammie Stroughter has really stood out and played well. Anthony Wheat-Brown has made some plays, and Ruben (Jackson) has flash, too. We're excited about those guys."

Matt Moore on Kennan Lewis - "He'll (Lewis) run them forever,'' said Moore. I'll tell him, Keenan, I can't throw anymore! And he'll say, just throw another one. ... I think he honestly, really wants to play (WR). And, you know, he's pretty good."

Keenan Lewis on playing WR - "Our receivers were doing pretty well, but we're low on depth without Stroughter and Wheat-Brown, so I asked Coach Riley to give me a play."

 

Who's coming in the fall:

 

Additional links :

 

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