Receivers have high expectations

A year after being part of the No. 99 passing team in the country, A&M wide receivers Howard Morrow and Pierre Brown believe that's going to change. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp visits with the receiving duo in an exclusive interview after practice on Friday.

In 2007, 98 teams in the nation—out of 119 Bowl Subdivision teams—threw for more yards than the Texas A&M offense. Even when the Aggies did throw the ball, it wasn't to the wide receivers very often. The leading receiver in 2007 was Martellus Bennett (49 rec., 587 yards), followed by running back Mike Goodson (36 rec., 361 yards). And even Bennett, the team's leading receiver, was not among the top 100 receivers in the nation.

But senior wide receiver Pierre Brown says that he hopes that's not the case this fall.

"We didn't have a real good passing game last year, but the receivers are getting better, the quarterbacks have a lot more confidence in us and we're starting to get comfortable with the new offense we're running right now," Brown said. "We should have a big year this year. We have big expectations."

One of the biggest reasons for those new expectations are the result of the new pro-style offense being implemented this year that should give receivers a better chance to succeed.

Gone are the days of mirror routes that were easily detected by defenses—which should help A&M quarterbacks avoid interceptions as well—and they've been replaced by multiple formations with multiple routes.

"The new offense is really good," Brown said. "You've got three receivers and anybody can get the ball at anytime. The new offense keeps us on the lookout when we're running our routes because you never know where the ball is going. The routes this year are also a lot more combinations. Defenses won't know what we're going to run. We have several routes that all look the same, but they can be run different ways. That's all new this year."

Junior receiver Howard Morrow, who missed all of 2007 with a wrist injury that required surgery, agrees that the offense being brought in by the new coaching staff should help improve the passing numbers.

"It's more of a spread offense with different routes and there's a lot more timing involved," Morrow said. "We have a more variety of routes and we have a chance to be a receiver with passing and blocking instead of just blocking."

And the Aggie receivers aren't expecting that new offense to help the receivers boost their numbers either. The unit worked out nearly every day this summer with the quarterbacks, working on timing routes and improving their consistency at catching the ball.

"We used the indoor facility every day except Wednesdays this summer," Brown said. "We caught the ball well, we got two brand new jug machines and we used that a lot and did a lot of drills. We caught more with the quarterbacks than I've ever been here this summer. We figured we're better than what some people may think because we didn't throw the ball that much last year and we're trying to prove that. We dedicated ourselves this summer to get better."

Brown also said that he's not worried if people don't expect much from the receivers heading into this season, he likes being the great unknown.

"We want everyone to talk about the running game, then we'll show everybody that we've got a passing game this season," Brown said. "The more we prove that we can catch the ball, the better it will be for the running backs and the receivers."

Morrow recovering from injury

Morrow's injury was extremely gruesome in nature. During the final scrimmage last fall, the back of his hand hit the top of his forearm, separating the cartilage from the bone, requiring surgery on three different sides of his wrist to reattach it, and set together by pins on both sides of the wrist.

"It was the toughest thing of my life," Morrow said. "It makes you even hungrier though, and some of the stuff you took for granted before, you don't anymore. You see everyone else getting ready for the game and you can't do anything about it because you've got a cast from your thumb to your bicep."

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