Aug. 31, 2010
WASHINGTON - There might not be a group on the 2010 Georgetown football team with more depth than the Hoyas corps of wide receivers and slots. Overall, 13 players are vying for time between three or four positions depending on the personnel on the field. The wealth of talent has created a competitive atmosphere that has pushed the group to raise the bar each day of practice since the spring.
"The great thing that I told these guys when we first got here is that there is going to be at least three of you guys on the field, maybe four, and we're going to throw it 40 times a game," offensive coordinator David Patenaude said. "Those guys did the math and realized there are a lot of opportunities for everyone. They have all stepped up, they all have a great understanding of what they're doing and will be in a position to make plays."
While the Hoyas offensive coaches do not anticipate leaning on one particular target in the passing game they are excited about the talent of senior slot Keerome Lawrence (New Haven, Conn./James Hillhouse). Lawrence, who started the 2008 season at quarterback has found a home in the slot after making 33 catches for 344 yards a year ago, flashing big play potential throughout the season.
"Keerome is dynamic, I think he has the chance to be a very special player in this league," Patenaude said. "We need to be able to find ways to get him the ball, whether we're throwing it to him, handing it to him or playing him a little at quarterback, just trying to manufacture ways to get him the ball. He's dynamic, he's multi-talented so he can do a lot of different things."
Though Lawrence is quick to point out the talent surrounding him and the scheme that should help utilize the vast array of abilities within the group.
"The coaches are putting us all in a position to make plays and that goes a long way," Lawrence said. "The whole slot and receiving class have been pushing each other and at the end of the day we're all going to be so much better because of it."
Junior slot Jeremiah Kayal (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) agreed with Lawrence's assessment. "I think we've all learned how to work with each other, we have awesome depth. "I think we have 13 receivers now and the coaches are comfortable playing every single one of them."
Kayal (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills), himself will be one of the receivers looking to make an impact during the 2010 season. After a promising sophomore campaign that saw him catch 17 passes for 92 yards, Kayal is expected to provide a steady presence in the slot, as the coaches have been pleased with the overall package that he brings to the field.
"Jeremiah Kayal has been consistent. He's going to be the guy that gets all of the little things done, whether it's blocking, cutting somebody off, running a screen, catching balls in traffic, he's that hardnosed kind of guy."
The Hoyas will have plenty of other options in the slot with sophomore Max Waizenegger (Fairfax, Va./W.T. Woodson), freshman Zack Wilke (Boca Raton, Fla./St. Andrews), junior Drew Herma (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield Central) and freshman Brandon Durham (Mesquite, Texas/Dallas Christian).
"Max Waizenegger has come a long way," Patenaude said. "He showed flashes in the spring and he's having a really good camp. He can be a guy that can play in the slot of outside."
"Zach Wilke has come in and is pushing us because he hasn't dropped a pass the whole camp," Lawrence said. "That is making everyone else better because he's setting the bar so high." On the outside the Hoyas' quarterbacks will have a strong corps of untested, but talented wide receivers. The varying sizes and skill sets of each of the pass catchers also range, giving the Hoyas the ability to give opposing team's different looks. Junior Patrick Ryan, a transfer from Miami (Ohio), was the Hoyas most improved player in the spring and gives the team size at 6-3 190. Kenny Furlough is another player who gives the Hoyas another big target at 6-4, 185.
"Pat Ryan has really stepped up," Patenaude said. "He's a transfer and was here in the spring, he's very consistent, big body, good route runner. Kenny Furlough is a great athlete, his top end is really high, but he's really learning the position right now. We're happy with Jamal Davis as a transfer, I think he's going to be exciting, he's shown some good signs and Jeff Burke has done a really good job. He had a back injury in the spring, but he looks like a totally different player."
Like other positions on both sides of the ball, the coaches have made the effort to get the players to hold themselves more accountable for each other. This is something that has certainly been present in the team's pass catchers.
"We encourage the guys to say something to their teammates on every rep," wide receivers coach Matt Dence said. "We want the guys to help coach each other on every rep. I say something to a guy on every rep and Coach Patenaude says something to a guy on every rep. They should be doing the same thing, mostly encouragement, but also getting after them if they're not working as hard as they can, or asking about coverages, but it all starts with the older guys like Jeremiah (Kayal) who gets everyone lined up, or Keerome (Lawrence) who plays with a lot of energy."
Kayal and Lawrence have taken the leadership roles within the team seriously, something that has also pushed their play to another level.
"We're pushing each other, we're competing with each other and the coaches are watching, so that doesn't let us slack off," Kayal said. "The coaches are comfortable playing any of us, so if I take a play off, coach is going to put someone else in and that competition is awesome for the team."