Coach Canales Breaks Down the WR Unit

Three weeks into spring practice Coach Canales tells USFNation where the depth chart stands, how his coaching style has caught on with the players, what he is looking for going into the final week of practice and much more. Only on USFNation.com -- Get it First, Get it Fast!

Coach Mike Canales

Three weeks in to spring practice, do you like what you see out of the receiving unit?
I really do. I think we've established the first team, actually the first 6 guys. Right now we are trying to find a 7th and 8th guy. All those guys play, you never make it through the season with the original group. Some guys are starting to step up into that role. I'm happy with it all.

Have you started to put some of your own wrinkles in this offense?
A little bit. Coach Gregory and I are bringing a little more of a pro-style. We are doing some different things with formations. You don't always have to go 4 or 5 wide to throw the ball down field. If you can get the defense to bring 8 or 9 in the box, then you get one-on-one matchups on the outside. With our receivers we feel that is to our advantage. That is some of the stuff we did when I was here last time.

We noticed you also brought a new saying, "Bring the Juice", where does that come from?
I think that just brings the emotion to the practice field and keep them on edge. If I come out with a lot of excitement and energy they will follow. A lot of the saying is about how much ‘juice' you got? We're gonna bring it every day to practice, can you keep up? It also plays off what coach Leavitt does, he comes out here going 100mph all the time. I think I have the same attitude and energy, that has helped our guys they have learned to practice and play at 100%. I'm always pushing them to play better than what they think they're capable of.

After losing some seniors last year have you noticed anyone stepping up?
I tell those guys everyday to start coming out of their shells and express their selves. I teach them to play aggressive and with confidence. Confidence comes with knowing the offense, what's asked of them and then doing it. Once they have that they can start doing things faster and faster because they feel more confident with the offense, they system and their own abilities. They all had it in high school, now they are regaining that confidence. I quiz them everyday on every position to help them gain that confidence where ever they line up.

The receivers are all talking about blocking down field, getting stronger, is this something you've stressed?
It's an attitude. I tell them its 90% attitude and 10% technique. You got to be able to want to get on people and throw blocks, you don't want to be a timid receiver. I threw a couple of the great names out there and said these are guys who take pride in blocking, it means something to them. They understood that being aggressive on the field opened things up for them in the passing game.

Do you think they are starting to buy into your philosophy?
Yeah I think so. I think they are playing into it, they believe in it. Coach Dawsey did a great job before I got here and that brought a great element to it. I tell them all the time that,. "It's money in the pocket or money out of the pocket". If you learn to block its more money in the pocket, everyone wants a WR that can do it all, you make yourself more valuable. If you can't do it then you are taking money out of your pocket.

Has track practice affected Carlton Mitchell's status on the depth chart?
Well, I get him every Tuesday, so I get him one full day a week. Plus he comes out at the latter part of other practices. He shows me he has a lot of talent and a lot of potential. He has the right mindset, he's humble and he cares. He's like a sponge right now, he wants to soak up every that is being said. He comes in to watch video or take quizzes even when he doesn't have to. He's going to be special. I can't wait till I get him everyday when camp starts in August.

With one more week left in spring practice, what are you looking for out of this group?
I want them to finish strong. I really want to see us finish strong as a group. We have three practices left, we need to clean up some stuff, route running things like that. We got to continue working on our blocking, I want to see them get a little better at that. We aren't perfect, but we're a lot further then where we were before. I want them to be the best in the Big East, that's been our goal. Not individually but as an entire unit.


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