Despite big numbers, receivers still have room to improve
Published: Thursday, October 13, 2011
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2011 00:10
The West Virginia receivers have already set several school records in the first six games of the season.
Redshirt sophomore inside receiver Stedman Bailey is currently on a four-game streak with 100 or more receiving yards. He finished the last game against UConn with 178 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The last receiver to record two touchdowns in one game was junior receiver Tavon Austin in last year's Backyard Brawl against Pitt.
"I've felt like I've been capable of doing things like this, so that doesn't really surprise me much," Bailey said about his big games. "I just want to continue to get better."
No. 13 West Virginia averages about 80 plays per game, with the most being 87 against LSU. The large amount of plays allows for several chances for the young, talented receivers the offense has to flourish.
Despite the success the receiving corps has had this season, there is always room to improve and the coaches and players feel they have not performed as well as everyone might think.
The UConn game was not the best performance as far as the little things like blocking and not catching footballs.
"Our receivers are probably reading articles and doing things that make them feel like they're doing an extraordinary job," said inside receivers coach Shannon Dawson. "The bottom line is that our receivers everywhere we've been and everywhere we've put this system in has put up great numbers. To be honest with you, we're doing about average, so they shouldn't have in their mind that they're doing anything above average."
The bye week will be used as a time to practice hard and work on those mistakes, continue to grow into the system head coach Dana Holgorsen has brought in. There are still a lot of games left to play.
"We have to get better in a lot of different areas," Dawson said. "The last week's game we made some big plays that made the game out of hand, but that was probably the worst executed game receiver-wise that we've played all year. Blocking inside receivers was as bad as you could possibly get. We dropped eight balls; we fumbled the ball one time. All that stuff is not acceptable."
Junior quarterback Geno Smith has thrown a ton of passes this year and will use the bye week to recover. He has thrown for over 2,000 yards already this season, but still has to continue to work with his playmakers to get the best of his abilities and be more successful by the end of the season.
The communication between Smith and his receivers have been crucial to the success so far this year. The players are continuing to focus on each other to figure out exactly what they're supposed to do and where they're supposed to go on the field.
"We've been able to talk about it and get better with it," Bailey said.
The abilities of the West Virginia receivers are just beginning to hit full stride and with the bye week here to improve mistakes of past games, the coaching staff knows the players need to work to get better week in and week out.
Coach Dawson has specific goals for his players this week.
"When we go practice- compete and get better," he said. "Don't worry about anything other than the drill you're in, the day you're in and what exactly you're doing at that moment. The one thing that we're going to do as a staff is we're going to get better at executing out offense."