The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

August 17, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: The ‘inside’ scoop on WVU WRs

MORGANTOWN — Shannon Dawson, West Virginia University’s offensive coordinator, isn’t really a hard man to please.

Make his meatloaf warm and his beer cold and you’ve got his approval.

Even on the football field it isn’t much different, yet here he is, roughly two weeks from the Mountaineers Aug. 31 opener against William & Mary, and he’s not a happy camper.

The object of his scorn is his inside receivers.

“I’m not going to lie,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “I’m pleased with the outside receivers. They’re making plays; they’re being physical. We need inside receivers to step up. It’s nothing I haven’t said to the group. It’s nothing that shouldn’t be known.

“We need inside receivers to step up and start pulling their weight. If they don’t, they won’t play. That’s the bottom line.”

In a way, the inside receivers had little chance to impress this season by comparison considering that they are trying to fill in for Tavon Austin, who may have been the most dynamic player in WVU history, but Dawson swears he’s not looking for another Austin, just a few good men who know how to play the game.

Exactly what is his issue with his inside receivers?

“I don’t know,” he answers, shaking his head.

This was more an “I don’t know” if I can understand how this is happening rather than an “I don’t know” what’s wrong.

“All I’m asking them to do is run fast, and they aren’t doing that. I want to see your feet and your hands moving fast,” Dawson said, that being a rather simple request. “If you run the wrong route and run it fast, I’d be the happiest person in the universe right now. ”

Actually, there is a bit more.

“If it’s a run play or a screen — block. Get on somebody and show some effort. I’m not even going to get into what they’re doing. It doesn’t even resemble blocking,” Dawson said.

In fact, Dawson isn’t sure they even need shoulder pads to go out and do what they are trying to pass off as blocking.

“I don’t know. Playing fast shouldn’t be hard. My brother has five kids and can get them out and they’ll run fast. That should be natural. You’re recruited because you can run fast. Well, run fast,” Dawson said.

The group is a young one that has also battled injury problems.

It begins with little Jordan Thompson, the star of the spring game but a player who always seems to be in the doghouse.

Promising Dante Campbell, a sophomore like Thompson, missed the spring and has fought injuries in camp, as has highly touted freshman Shelton Gibson.

Just breaking into the system are junior college transfers Mario Alford and Ronald Carswell, along with freshman Jacky Marcellus.

Redshirt freshman Vernon Davis sat out last season along with with Devonte Mathis.

So what does Dawson do?

“Ultimately, we are going to try to get the four best players on the field. If we feel the four best players are backed up somewhere, we’ll move them inside,” he said.

He’s done it before. J.D. Woods was running No. 3 at wide receiver but was one of the four best receivers on the team, so was moved inside to take advantage of his ability.

“It’ll have to be a guy that mentally we know can handle it,” Dawson said. “There are some guys that need to be put in one spot and that’s it, and there are some guys who we say, ‘Well, that kid, in talking to him and watching him, he probably has the mental capacity to move around a little bit.’ Those decisions are going to be made between now and the end of the week.

“If there is one of those guys we don’t have a problem moving outside to inside, we have to do it at this point because you don’t want to do it too late to where the guy isn’t given a fair opportunity to learn it. He has to have the mental capacity to do it, and I think we have a couple outside guys who do.”

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter @bhertzel.

 

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads