Invisible Man

Lake Forest - Justin Gage showed great promise as a rookie, but has taken a step back in his sophomore season.

"Sure I want to get the ball more," Gage said. "I felt that I was making good progress during camp and preseason, then with all the quarterback changes early in the regular season, things kind of changed. I block for the runs and I'm a good pass play decoy, but I'd like to be making catches as well."

Through eight games, Gage has 7 receptions for 93 yards for an average of 13.3. Last year he made most of his impact in the second half of the season. He was inactive for the first 5 games of his rookie campaign, but finished with an average of 19.9 yards on 17 catches.

Gage's height and vertical leap give him a decided advantage over defenders when he works as a down field threat. Recently, however, it's been Craig Krenzel and Bernard Berrian that have hooked up on the deep ball.

"When Rex was in, he and I had something going," Gage said. "We worked well together in training camp and it continued through the preseason. I felt that our strengths meshed. Rex enjoyed throwing the long ball and I felt comfortable going after it."

With Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn at quarterback, Gage has taken a backseat but still feels optimistic that he will have the opportunity to once again become an impact player.

"I have to be patient and let things come as they will," Gage said. "I'm working on keeping my skill level high. My confidence is there. I feel that I am a good fit for this offense and will be a play maker when given the opportunity to do so."

One factor that has raised Gage's spirits recently has been the positive results achieved by rookie Krenzel.

"I remember what it was like being new and coming in here," Gage said. "The pressure can be really tough. And at the quarterback position, all eyes are on you. You have to perform well immediately. Craig has stepped into his role with ease. He's 2-0. He knows what he is doing out there and has the respect of the entire team. Craig is intelligent and is making good decisions. I've enjoyed working with him and hope to see my role increased as his receiver in the future."

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