Corps is a year wiser


POSTED: Saturday, August 22, 2009

Greg Salas rated among the Warriors' most productive pass catchers a year ago. The coaching staff hopes a position shift makes him even more effective.

Salas led the Warriors with 832 yards, often drawing double coverage while playing wide receiver last season. In the spring he moved to slotback, where he gives the quarterbacks a bigger target over the middle while possessing enough quickness to create mismatches.

Kealoha Pilares is now a full-time slotback after splitting time at running back last year. The move gives the elusive junior greater opportunity to make plays in space. He added muscle over the summer while working on improving his burst.





        » Returnees: Greg Salas, Kealoha Pilares, Jon Medeiros

» Quick Hit: Receiver corps loaded with speed, depth » Key Stat: Receivers averaged 12.1 yards per reception last season




Senior Jon Medeiros has shown a penchant for making the tough catches in practice and earned a scholarship after spring ball. Junior slots Dustin Blount and Ryan Henry are primed to compete for playing time after redshirting last year.

The coaches are confident the Warriors have upgraded their speed on the perimeter. Stretching the field vertically figures to give the slotbacks more room to operate underneath the coverage. Jovonte Taylor and Rodney Bradley showed off their potential as deep threats during spring practice. Royce Pollard is another wideout with big-play ability.




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Bradley played in a run-oriented offense in junior college, but proved a quick study when he joined the team in the spring and entered fall camp atop the depth chart. Freshman Billy Ray Stutzmann graduated from Saint Louis in time to enroll for the spring semester, giving him a head start on the adjustment to college.


While the newcomers and redshirts possess some practice experience, getting up to game speed could take some time. The preseason plans were altered a bit when graduate assistant Craig Stutzmann, who focused on the receivers last season, took a job at Portland State just before fall camp. Senior Malcolm Lane, one of the team's most experienced receivers, will redshirt this season to concentrate on academics.


The effectiveness of the run-and-shoot rests in the receivers meshing with the quarterback. Making the correct reads at the line of scrimmage under game pressure will determine whether the offense can maximize its potential.





        Coming along nicely

        By Coach Ron Lee

        “;We have some talented athletes, but they didn't play much. ... When they understand what we're doing, they're going to be fast and they're going to be confident. They're coming, they're learning as they're playing.”;