Shorts(s) Story

West Virginia wide receiver Daikiel Shorts made an impact as a freshman, and now he's trying to put together everything he is being taught to make himself into a more complete player.

A year ago, Shorts came to West Virginia's campus with the goal, shared by many first-year players, of just getting on the field. He did better than most freshmen, catching 45 passes for 495 yards and two scores while starting nine of the Mountaineers' 12 games.

Just a few short months after the end of that notable first year, he's back on the field trying to grasp advanced techniques to make him an even more dangerous threat in the Mountaineer offense. It's a jump that some receivers never make, but Shorts, who has met every challenge to date, believes he is on the way to doing so.

"Coach Galloway is pushing me a lot and trying to teach me all the little things to make me a better player," Shorts said. "I have to learn them in order to be a better player and to make my teammates better."

Among the techniques Shorts is working on is getting better releases off the line and shielding defenders from the ball. Those are some of the items that Galloway emphasizes daily, and that will help the passing game produce more consistently.

Another item on the agenda is blocking, and it too gets daily attention. At the practice in Wheeling, Shorts showed that the receivers are improving, as he delivered a couple of crunching blocks during Oklahoma drills to spring runners. Along with Kevin White, Shorts also combined on a devastating downfield block in 11-on-11 work to pop a running play for a big gain.

"Coach wants us to come out and get physical, and get it going, and that's what we did," Shorts recounted. "It does help us set the tone."

Shorts is also happy to be set at an inside receiver position, and thinks that will also help him be more productive in 2014.

"I feel like I am settled much more on the inside this year," he related. "I just have to work on my craft and work on those little things."

Practices have continued behind closed gates this week, but with another open session slated for Morgantown this weekend, Shorts admits that having support in the stands does help.

"I try to ignore all of that and just practice like it was a regular practice, but it is nice hearing the cheers from the stands," he said with a smile. "It's definitely exciting. It gets us up and gets us going."

BlueGoldNews Top Stories