Longhorns lack experience at wide receiver Print
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Wednesday, 06 August 2008 23:01
NCAAF Headline News

 AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -The list of proven, dependable receivers at Texas reads like this: Quan Cosby, Jordan Shipley and - OK, so it's a short list.
Finding a third, fourth, fifth and maybe even a sixth reliable pass catcher for quarterback Colt McCoy is a top priority for coach Mack Brown during training camp.
``You've got two who have played and whole lot of other guys you're looking at,'' Brown said this week.
You have to go back several years to find a Texas team so lacking in proven receivers. McCoy has 51 career touchdown passes over the last two seasons because he had plenty of solid veterans who could find the end zone.
But gone this season is Nate Jones, who had a team-high 70 catches last year. So is Limas Sweed, the big target who stretched defenses until he was injured midway through last season and is now with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And athletic tight end Jermichael Finley surprised many when he skipped off to the NFL draft after his sophomore season.
That leaves Cosby and Shipley, both seniors, to carry the load.
Texas is counting on them to not only make plays, but to nurture the younger players through the mental rigors of the playbook and the season.
Cosby is the oldest player on the team at 25. He signed a baseball contract coming out of high school and spent a couple of years bouncing around the minor leagues before giving it up. He has 120 career receptions for 1,475 yards and nine touchdowns. He's also the Longhorns' best punt and kick returner.
Shipley, a fifth-year senior, was one of the greatest receivers in Texas high school history, but has caught only 43 career passes after losing two seasons to serious injuries. Brown says he wants to petition the NCAA to get Shipley a sixth year of eligibility.
``Those two guys are the stabilizing forces,'' Brown said. ``They can play any position. We feel like they can go all day, they can both return kicks, they both hold for the kicker, and they're really, really good leaders on this team.''
So who else is there?
Offensive coordinator Greg Davis said this week he's been impressed with redshirt freshman Malcolm Williams. The Longhorns also signed five receivers last spring in anticipation of needing the immediate help.
Toss in the likelihood that Texas may sometimes put backup quarterback John Chiles in the slot or at wide receiver, and the Longhorns like their chances of developing some quality depth in time for the Aug. 30 opener against Florida Atlantic.
``We have to help them come along, me and Shipley,'' said Cosby, who marvels at how young some of his teammates are. ``Man, ya'll are so young. You were in middle school when I was a (high school) senior.''
McCoy hopes to find the next Sweed, who was 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and a nightmare for defenses on deep routes.
``Who is going to step up, take responsibility and be somebody I can feel confidence in throwing the ball to on third down?'' McCoy said. ``We'll find out.''
 

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