Dorrell Jalloh has heard all the talk before. In four previous fall camps, Jalloh's coaches have played sweet music to the words of wide receivers everywhere.
"We have to throw the ball more," they would say to anyone within earshot of Mountaineer football. "We have to open it up so teams cannot load the box on us."
Year in and year out, Jalloh and his mates at wideout have shared visions of higher statistics, only to see the run-pass ratio worsen from the previous season. Hearing one thing but seeing the complete opposite is certainly frustrating in any situation. For Jalloh, it was no different, especially as a young player.
" I've been here a long time, and every camp, they're saying that we're going to throw the ball more. You see it one game, and then one game you don't see it," he recalled. "Then the next game you might see it or you might not see it."
Through these frustrations, however, Jalloh has learned first-hand the value of patience, and being a good teammate. The final step in this maturation process, his senior year, is now underway. And with a host of young and talented receivers in the locker room alongside him, the wily veteran is able to use his experience and maturity to impart some pearls of wisdoms to young and future Mountaineers.
"You really just have to be patient because as soon as you get uptight and say 'I want the ball', that's when you get frustrated," he explained. "You lose focus at the real task at hand, about being a team and having camaraderie. Sometimes, I have been at fault for that, being selfish and wanting the ball…Now, I've taken into consideration that I have to look at the bigger picture."
This season, under the guidance of first-year offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen and new head coach Bill Stewart, the rumblings out of West Virginia camp again indicate a preference to further develop a passing game. Not that WVU will be mistaken for Texas Tech anytime soon, mind you. Still, both Mullen and Stewart have preached a rhetoric of spreading the wealth, particularly in situations when opposing defenses are stacking the box and all but triple-dog-daring the Mountaineers to pitch and catch.
Having heard similar vows before in these parts, it would certainly be understandable if Jalloh were to view these latest musings with a healthy dose of skepticism. The aforementioned maturation, though, allows Jalloh to view this year's pledge for a more prevalent passing game from a different perspective.
" I would love for them to throw the ball more, but I've learned to just be patient and know that it's going to come to you," he said. "If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. If they say they're going to throw the ball this year, I can only believe."
For the record, Jalloh says he has seen new indications that the coaches will stay true to their word in 2008.
"We've never had a true post, and we've never had a true corner route at the outside position. It was in our arsenal, but it just never got called," he said. "We had it, we never used it. Now, they're actually giving us the opportunity to run a post.
"They'll throw the ball," the well-spoken receiver continued. "They've given Pat and Jarrett the A-OK to go out there and let it loose, let it fly. Now, we've just got to go out there and execute. We've got the receivers, we've got the offensive line, we've got the backs and we've got the quarterbacks."
Will this finally be the year that West Virginia opens up the passing section of the playbook, even going so far as to take the occasional shot down the field? The words of the coaches -- and even the players -- would lead one to conclude so.
If it does return to business as usual, however, do not expect Jalloh to complain so long as the wins continue to pile up. And because of his ability to lead both vocally and by example, expect the rest of his receiving teammates to fall right in line with that school of thought.