The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

March 16, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN: Galloway set for new batch of receivers

MORGANTOWN — There was an unspoken message being delivered on Thursday when the NFL came to town for West Virginia University’s Pro Day, not exactly one Dana Holgorsen wanted to hear.

Last season he had produced a record-shattering passing game with the Mountaineers, good enough so that the NFL scouts were drawn not only to watch quarterback Geno Smith display his ample skills, but also to see a wide receiver talent unlike they could see anywhere else.

Not only were treated to Tavon Austin’s one-of-a-kind skills and Stedman Bailey’s fluid and graceful moves, but they saw in K.D. Woods a solid No. 3 receiver and raw, unpolished gem of an athlete in Ryan Nehlen, who out-tested everyone else on the day and showed an ability to run routes and catch the football.

While Holgorsen could take pride in this, there was a matter of having to send people out on the field next year to replace those talents.

It is not an easy task, the quarterback aspect of it having been debated in barrooms all across the state already, a debate that will go on right up until Holgorsen names a starter for his opener.

But equally unknown is who will move forward as wide receivers and this brings us to a gentleman who watched longingly as Austin, Bailey, Woods and Nehlen performed for the professionals.

His name is Lonnie Galloway and it is a familiar name for he is the new wide receiver coach, a job he previously held under Bill Stewart and into the first few days of the Holgorsen era before leaving for Wake Forest.

The opening had occurred when Holgorsen moved Shannon Dawson from the receivers to offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.

“It happened like four days after the coaching convention this winter,” Galloway explained. “Coach Holgorsen called and asked if I wanted to come back.”

Galloway had no reason not to take the job, especially when it was sweetened with the title of assistant head coach with the responsibility over the receivers. He and his family had enjoyed their time in West Virginia.

“My wife and I discussed it,” Galloway said. “My kids, they think they are from here. We have a lot of good friends here. Once everything got worked out it was great to come back.”

It wasn’t only the university and the city that was drawing Galloway, at native of Eden, N.C., and a graduate of Western Carolina.

There was Holgorsen and his offense, which has to be intriguing to any coach aspiring to become a head coach.

“I wanted to learn this offense and see what was going on. It was an easy choice,” Galloway said.

Actually, Galloway was here long enough with Holgorsen to have his interest raised, something that grew as he saw what Smith and Co. did the past two seasons.

“When I was here I got a taste of it as far as meetings, then to be able to watch it by following it. I wanted to come back and learn it, to watch Coach Holgorsen and see how he calls it, why he calls this and that,” Galloway said.

The only problem is he is starting over really, with a receiving corps that caught only 24 passes combined last season. Jordan Thompson, Connor Arlia, K.J. Myers and Dante Campbell are the top returning receivers while there are a host of newcomers with potential but no proof that they can produce.

It’s up to Galloway to get that out of all of them.

“My philosophy is to go out and work hard, put the extra work in. I’m a practice hard kind of coach. You can’t just practice when we practice and watch tape when we watch tape to be a great football player,” Galloway said. “If you practice hard and make plays, then you will play.”

And that is what he is instilling this spring, while also beginning to make judgments.

The question is can they repeat the production that came from Austin, Bailey and Myers?

“What Tavon and Stedman did over their two years was tremendous,” Galloway admitted. “Can we do it as a group? Yeah. Can one person do it? That’s yet to be known because they haven’t played. So you really don’t know who the guy is going to be.”

Galloway, however, believes it’s safe to assume that receivers will step forward in the offense.

“Over the last 10 years in this offense you had your Blackmons and Crabtrees, but at Houston there were four 1,000-yard receivers, so if you put the work in, there can be four, five or six guys with 60 or 70 catches,” he said.

To get to that point Galloway must reach certain goals in the spring.

“Be fundamentally sound in the offense, running the right routes, playing hard and competing — those are the type things that you look for in spring ball. You put in the right technique. You find out who will compete. Those things are what’s important.”

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

 

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules

    At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.

    April 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads