By Chadd Cripe
© 2010 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football team returns four wide receivers who made 20 or more catches last season, so production isn’t a concern.
Depth is — particularly after the Broncos struggled in the passing game when starters Austin Pettis and Tyler Shoemaker were injured late last season.
This spring, wide receivers coach Brent Pease hopes to develop sophomores Chris Potter and Mitch Burroughs and freshmen Aaron Burks and Geraldo Hiwat into productive, reliable players.
Potter and Burroughs combined for 19 catches last season. Burks and Hiwat redshirted.
“I don’t know if their production was as high as we needed it,” Pease said of Potter and Burroughs. “We started to see some flashes. It’s consistency with them.”
Here’s a quick look at the Broncos’ receiver situation:
Priorities — “Better blocking, develop the youth and polish up just the integrity of each receiver, the route scheme, so they understand how they’re all working together,” Pease said.
Returning starters — seniors Titus Young (79 catches, 1,041 yards, 10 TDs, three rushing TDs) and Austin Pettis (63 catches, 855 yards, 14 TDs) and junior Tyler Shoemaker (21 catches, 345 yards, two TDs) are proven playmakers. Pettis will ease back into action this spring after suffering a fractured ankle late last season. He isn’t participating in 11-on-11 action yet.
Other potential contributors — Potter and Burroughs, who are both 5-foot-9, need to refine their skills to compensate for their size disadvantage. “Chris came on at the end of the year,” Pease said. “… Mitch has to be more productive. He had some opportunities. He’s got to be more consistent.” Burks (6-foot-2), who joined the team last winter, and Hiwat (6-foot-4), who joined in August, have great size on the outside. Hiwat has the potential to be a game-breaker with his speed. They’ll get a chance to shine this spring.
Not practicing — Sophomore Kirby Moore, who had 21 catches as a true freshman slot receiver, is out this spring because of the same foot injury that slowed him during fall camp last year. The lost spring is a tough blow for a player who has shown strong potential. “I think it hurts a lot,” Pease said. “He kind of had the knowledge. He can get faster and stronger and he hasn’t been able to do that. He wants to, he just can’t do it now.”
Also on the roster — Freshman Preston Minter, freshman Jake Johnston, freshman Derek Hill and sophomore Tyler Jackson. Jackson moved from safety to wide receiver last fall.
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick on Tuesday opened the door for the Irish to join a conference and potentially start a massive round of conference realignments.
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