Greatness Is The Goal

It was almost a dream scenario -- K.J. Myers began his redshirt freshman season with a bang, catching his first career pass, a 3-yard touchdown reception. But Myers caught only one more ball all season, leaving him with an extra dose of motivation heading into the offseason.

It's been almost nine months since Myers caught that touchdown pass in West Virginia's 69-34 demolition of Marshall in the 2012 season-opener, but he still flashes a broad smile when asked about that moment.

But the smile fades, and his tone turns more serious, when asked about the disappointment that came with not being able to make a catch in the team's final 11 games.

"I'm very driven right now. My only mindset is to be great," Myers said. "That feeling was the best feeling. It was a great feeling scoring my first touchdown on my first reception, but that was the first game of the season. I didn't get any more after that. So I feel like I have to work even harder this offseason, this spring and also during the summer and training camp to do great during the season."

To be fair to Myers -- and the rest of this team's unproven receiving corps -- it was a crowded field at the outside and slot positions last year at WVU, with stars Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey drawing much of the attention and a crop of veterans rotating in the lineup as well. Getting into the games, let alone putting up meaningful statistics, wasn't easy.

But Austin, Bailey and so many of the others who were counted upon in the Mountaineers' receiving corps -- J.D. Woods, Ryan Nehlen -- were seniors. Others who figured to potentially be prominent parts of the rotation this year (Ivan McCartney, Travares Copeland) transferred.

And so it is that Myers, heading into his third year in Morgantown as a sophomore in terms of eligibility, feels like he must be a leader this spring despite catching only two passes for nine yards a year ago.

"I feel like I have to step up now and be that leader since those guys are gone," Myers said. "They were kind of showing me the ropes, so now I feel like I have to take their position, step up and do great. I feel like I'm doing a good job at it. It's a tough position, but it's going great.

"I'm feeling real good. I feel like more of a leader right now, because I have been here. I'm a sophomore right now, so I feel like a leader and I'm going to show everybody, and I'm going to show them by doing things, by doing great things. I want to be a leader like that, and also a vocal leader."

It's been an offseason filled with transition for the Jacksonville, Fla., native -- and truly the receiving corps as a whole.

The meeting room is vastly different without the big personalities of Austin and Bailey there. Pressure is much higher, as just about every spot is wide open, meaning each person in the room could reasonably expect to be in the hunt for playing time. Even the man leading the meetings is different, as Shannon Dawson is now coaching quarterbacks thanks to Lonnie Galloway's return to Morgantown as the receivers coach.

"It's very serious," Myers said of the atmosphere, the vibe, this spring. "It's very technical. Coach Galloway is very technical with everything -- routes, the little things, blocking, how you set up your block, how you run your routes, how you catch the ball, making plays. It's very technical and in-depth, and I feel like that's great. It's better for us.

"[Galloway] is great. He's actually the one who recruited me, so when I heard he was coming back, a smile came to my face. He's great. He's always on us -- even little things. Little things matter, so he's always on us. We think we're doing good and he thinks we're not. There's always something, always room to improve, and he's always on us hard."

Galloway, of course, is trying to mint a star or two from this group in the mold of Austin and Bailey. But while expectations for this receiving corps, this offense -- even this team as a whole -- are decidedly low, Myers is cautiously optimistic.

"I feel like overall, all our receivers can make plays. Everyone," Myers said. "I feel like everyone gets open and the quarterback has many options. You don't have to rely on any one guy all the time. ‘Oh, he's going to make a play or he's going to make a play.' No, everyone can make a play, which is better. As a unit, as the receivers, we have to be great. It can't be one man making plays. Everyone has to make the plays.

"During the spring, we've all been competing. We had been working hard in the weight room, and then we finally started practicing, and everyone has been going at it. Everyone is making plays. Everyone is blocking good. It just makes me want to work even harder. I go home every night, and I'm not satisfied with myself from any practice, because I want to be great. There is always room for improvement, always ways to get better and do better."


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