After fighting through a checkered career that included high expectations, injuries and battles to gain consistency, Lyons is ready to show Mountaineer fans that he is ready for his final season in the gold and blue. Following a spring in which he showed the ability that had many colleges competing hotly for his services out of high school, the Pennsylvania native wants to go out on a high note, and keep building on the spring performance that had many observers pointing to him as the breakout player of the season.
"I'm just going to keep working hard," said Lyons, who knows that this is his last chance to make a big mark on the field. "I'm going to go in there with the same attitude. I've always had confidence. I already knew what I could do."
After missing portions of his first three seasons with injuries, Lyons knows that there aren't many chances to prove yourself on the field. He hopes to extend that knowledge to the younger receivers on the team, most notably freshman Logan Heastie, who enrolled in January and joined the Mountaineers for spring drills. Although the two have not worked together yet, Lyons is anxious to practice alongside the highly-regarded youngster, who in many ways is a reflection of himself at the same point in his career.
"I'm working on getting stronger and faster (this summer) and I also want to help the younger guys out," said Lyons. "I want to make sure they're getting the plays down, especially the freshmen that are coming in. I just want to help out to make sure we become a better team. (The freshmen) really need to work to learn the offense. [Heastie] is still finishing up graduating, so we haven't really gotten to sit down that much, but I'm sure we will."
As a unit, the receivers are working with the quarterbacks in the "summer passing league" to work on the connections that are crucial to the success of the passing game. Lyons has talked about his close relationship with senior quarterback Jarrett Brown, and is trying to develop similar friendships between the younger players.
"(The receivers) get together with the quarterbacks," said Lyons. "We do a lot of drills and stuff like that. (Summer is a time) when the older players become like coaches. We help the younger players out."
Repetition is one of the keys to consistency on the field, and it is in these summer drills when the foundation for that is laid. Quarterbacks have to know that receivers will run the seven yard out pattern and cut it right at seven yards, not six or eight. Receivers have to know when the ball is coming in their route and when to look for it, and trust that it will be in the right position. Practice it 100 times, and the seeds for success are there. Do it a thousand, and the chances for success increase. Lyons has even been dedicating extra time to working with Brown.
"All of the spare time, when we're not doing anything, why not go out there and catch from passes (from Brown)," Lyons asked. "I feel like he has become more of a leader. He's become a more vocal person. As a team, he wants us to work hard. He gets us motivated." After three years of frustrating injuries, it looks like Lyons will finally be able to showcase the talent he has always known he's had. His close relationship with Brown can do nothing but help a Mountaineer offense that has promised to see a substantial increase in passing when circumstances dictate. And if he can continue the play which he showed during the spring, West Virginia will certainly have at least one "go-to" combination upon which it can count.