Hoover High School
AUBURN, Alabama — It may seem as if coach Trooper Taylor is simply rattling off the Auburn roster when he talks about the wide receivers he’s counting on, until you consider he may have four receivers on the field at the same time, and he’s looking for a core of backups as well.
Taylor named seven receivers after Tuesday’s practice he feels good about heading into the Sept. 3 opener against Utah State. There’s a lot of hope and little experience.
Only one receiver caught more than three passes last year. The senior member is junior Emory Blake and his 33 catches from 2010. After that, there’s hope in DeAngelo Benton, Trovon Reed, Travante Stallworth, Quindarius Carr, Jaylon Denson and C.J. Uzomah.
“If we can get those guys lined up, we’ll be fine,” Taylor said.
It’s no coincidence that four of the seven were high school quarterbacks.
“We love those kind of athletes that you can put just about anywhere and they know what to do,” Taylor said.
In the know from that group are Blake, Reed and Stallworth. In the fast lane are freshmen Denson and Uzomah.
Taylor said the turning point in picking his receivers came when Barrett Trotter was named the starting quarterback last week.
“Now that we have a starting quarterback and getting timing down with routes, it’s really improved a bunch,” Taylor said. “We’ve gotten to the point where we can say, ‘This guy is running this play’ and ‘this guy is running that play’ and ‘how are we going to get the ball to this kid?’ It’s really shaping up for us.”
Taylor didn’t say which receiver would play a specific position since most of them will play more than one.
“They learn concepts,” he said. “It’s not tied into what position they are. You can see Trovon as an outside receiver, but he’ll be an inside guy for ‘this’ play and he’ll be in the boundary for ‘that’ play. As far as depth-wise, we feel good about seven guys I can really count on that we can go out there and win a game.”
A noticeable missing name is freshman Quan Bray, who has otherwise received praise during preseason practices.
“Quan has some alignment things he needs to take care of. He knows,” Taylor said. “That doesn’t mean he won’t be ready for the first game. He’s got to come on.”
Taylor said rookies Denson and Uzomah continue to impress. First up, Denson.
“Every scrimmage he had big plays,” Taylor said. “I don’t think we’ve had a single scrimmage when he didn’t score a touchdown. That tells me the kid can play.
“He listens to details. If I tell him to take a six-inch step, he does that. If I tell him the route is 15 yards to 22 yards, he does it. He’s not afraid to block. He’s physical when he’s on that perimeter. He does that well. He came from a physical program.
“C.J. is the same way. Because he’s so smart — he played quarterback — the speed of the game doesn’t bother him. He gets lined up. He understands coverages. He understands leverage, and that gives him a chance. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s 6-5, 230. He’s a biscuit away from weighing 235. That helps him out a bunch, too.”