Search For Backups, Depth at Wide Receiver Continues for WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – It’s been a season of conflicting takes concerning the depth issue at wide receiver for West Virginia. From one interview session to the next, coaches will alternatively praise some items, criticize others, and offer different takes on where the group is as a whole.
Two games into the season, this much is clear. David Sills, Ka’Raun White and Gary Jennings are far ahead of the rest of the group, and Marcus Simms, although listed behind Sills on the depth chart at the X receiver, is adding his name as the four who are the most trusted in games. The battle for backup snaps continues, with some different names bubbling up, then popping, from day to day. Midway between West Virginia win over east Carolina and the upcoming contest against Delaware State, wide receivers coach Tyron Carrier provided another different outlook on the status of his group.
“Reggie [Roberson] and and Ricky [Rogers] — those are the guys that we are really comfortable putting in right now,” Carrier said. “It’s bringing up other guys -Druw Bowen, Dominique Maiden — to where we get comfortable with them also. Dominique has the ability. He’s just at the point where he has to get out of his own way. He has to realize that work ethic has to match the drive. He is learning that now.”
It might be a bit disconcerting to note such lessons are still being absorbed after a couple of months on campus, but that is often the case for newcomers and junior college players. What matters at this point is that those lessons do get absorbed, at least to the point where it allows players to get on the field. From there, though, it’s another big step toward being productive as a pass catcher, which is often the final one in becoming a complete player. Rogers, who has acrobatic body control and good speed, flashed that with a catch against the Pirates where he exploded out of the pack and nearly broke it all the way. Roberson has confidence and competes hard, and it could be just the added seasoning of game experience that he needs to make the jump.
Carrier sees some evidence of necessary improvement, but notes that the circumstances of the East Carolina game weren’t optimal in spurring all out performance.
“Paying more attention to detail,” was his one area for improvement coming out of the ECU contest. That’s a short phrase that covers a lot, but he was also complimentary in some regards. “They were aggressive, and they were hungry the whole game through. It’s tough to get them pumped up for that second half, but I would like to see a lot more. You have to have that mindset to take what you can at any given time.
“You can never get comfortable. We have seen that this year, teams coming back from big deficits to win the game. We never want to be put in that predicament, we just want these guys to come out and every chance they get to get better. If you have the opportunity to put your foot on somebody’s throat you put your foot on their throat.”