Options Open

With the status of wide receivers Logan Heastie and Deon Long in serious doubt, wide receivers Coach Lonnie Galloway is looking all options when working with his charges this spring.

"For the most part, we just have to go with the guys that we've got," said Galloway. "Last year, I played with three guys. (Alric) Arnett, Wes (Lyons) and Bradley (Starks) were the main three that we played with last year and you throw Jock (Sanders) in there. It's not the pros where we can pick somebody up. We will be alright."

With the loss of those players, Galloway has had to look for talent on other areas of the field to recruit into his position. Two players that have recently made the move to wide receiver are sophomore Tavon Austin and redshirt junior Eddie Davis. Davis, who is no stranger to moving positions, is working on learning the offense after making the switch from defensive back. He could see reps at both positions this spring.

"Eddie wanted to come over and we talked it over with Coach [Lockwood] and for right now, Eddie is a receiver," said Galloway. "Eddie can run fast. Eddie is a smart, smart kid. He's picking up the offense fairly well it's just sometimes we get out there on the field and things speed up a little bit. He will mess up every now and then. He'll be fine."

The other "addition" is Austin, who will move out from the slot position he manned behind Sanders a year ago. Now in his second year with the Mountaineers, the coaches have weighed their options as to how they can get him on the field and allow him to get as many touches of the ball as possible. After impressing last season, the offensive staff decided to move Austin to an outside receiver position.

"Everything except size he pretty much does have," said Galloway of the speedy Maryland native. "Jock plays wide out and they're the same height. Tavon is a little taller than Jock. Jock is pretty good at receiver. They're not Steve Smith but Steve Smith is 5'8" if that. We just have to find a way to get him the ball, and putting him at running back behind Noel [Devine] is not the best way to do that. Tavon is going to be a great player for us and with the different things we have set up for him he will be up able to set up a bunch of mismatches."

While Galloway is hoping to see big things from his players which are new to the position, he is also hoping that some of the younger guys that have been in the wide receivers room in past years will step up. As he has been saying all of the offseason, Galloway is hoping to see big things from redshirt freshman J.D. Woods in his second year.

"This is a huge spring for J.D.," said Galloway. "We're counting on him to develop. He's shown flashes. He just needs to become more consistent. He's a good athlete. He can jump, run. He just needs to become more consistent with what he's doing and what he's seeing and hopefully the light will come on for him this spring."

Despite the hopeful outlook, there remains a great deal of doubt, or at least 'wait-and-see' at the wide receiver position. In addition to the moves, new positions and hoped for development, WVU's progress at the spot is also hampered by Brad Starks' continued battle with his shoulder, which often has him wearing a green jersey during practice. He is still getting repetitions, but it's just one more concern at the position that has not been nearly as productive as the coaching staff has hoped. With things rather up in the air at wide receiver, the spring has Galloway working with a variety of options with his players so that he can find his best fit.

That's not the final resolution however. Once again, Galloway is hoping that some of the incoming freshmen will be contenders for starting positions as well.

"I'm waiting on the ones that are coming," said Galloway. "Hopefully they will come. We have a couple of good ones coming in. Hopefully they can come in and play, but if not we will play with the ones we've got."


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