Arkansas QB Mallett has plenty of receiver choices

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 44 views 

story by Gary Brown, president of College Sports Matchups (CSM is a content partner with The City Wire)
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When Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett found Greg Childs for a 75-yard touchdown pass against Florida last season the most impressive part of the play was not the toss Ryan made while stepping toward the line of scrimmage. It was not the speed Child’s demonstrated on his way to the end zone either.

It is what wide receiver Jarius Wright does at the 5-yard line that trumps the two players you primarily notice on the Razorback touchdown. If you watch closely you will see Wright fly by Childs at the 15-yard line only to pivot at the five where he lays a monstrous block on a pursuing Gator defensive back.

Joe Adams had two plays in the Texas A&M game which speak volumes about his toughness. One occurs on a play where Adams is the recipient of a long pass from Mallett. He makes the catch and is hit right away by an Aggie. Instead of going down, the 5’10” receiver shoves his would be tackler away and speedily high steps away from two others until the A&M players manage to use the sideline to chase him out of bounds at the 15.

The other is a reverse where he picks up about 12 yards. When Adams takes the handoff he accelerates around the corner for the first 8 yards. He then picks up defensive players that hang on for the next 4 yards. When the play is blown dead six Aggies are hanging on to the small receiver, but he is still on his feet.

Why are these plays the ones that stand out when talking about Wright and Adams? These are two guys who average an eye popping 17 and 19 yards per catch, respectively, last year. They combined to haul in 12 touchdowns. They both go about 5’10” and weigh around 180 pounds.

They stand out because they speak to an element of Bobby Petrino’s offensive attack that is often overlooked. He wants receivers who can make plays, but he also wants guys who will block downfield and are not afraid to be physical with the other team.

The third member of their gang is the guy who actually scored on that long touchdown in the Swamp, Greg Childs.  He has a future in the NFL catching passes and has a more impressive frame than his running mates at 6’3” and 215 pounds. He is also the one with the most immediate name recognition as a result of his 48 catches last year.

Childs had many highlight moments last year, but his laying-out in the end zone touchdown in the first quarter against Georgia demonstrated the completeness of his skills. His pure speed is evident in the step and a half he gains on Georgia’s cornerback, while the softness of his hands is displayed as he pulls in the ball by his fingertips. Want toughness? Hang onto a football while diving forward from a full speed sprint. The field is not as soft as you might think.

Here is the benefit to having an abundance of receivers like Arkansas has on the roster. It makes it much tougher to deploy extra people to rush the passer. This allows Mallett more time to stand tall — 6’-7” tall — in the pocket and pick who he wants to get the ball too. It also allows him a better chance of being upright all season for the Razorbacks who will be looking to ride his arm to victory in the SEC this year.

Think about a perfect scenario for winning a Heisman Trophy: A strong armed quarterback who possesses great accuracy coupled with a group of receivers who not only have sticky fingers, but also hustle to throw blocks for each other. This combination of passing and catching talent will be enough to keep Mallets’ name in the discussion for a trip to New York most of the year, and more important, be the key element in helping Petrino’s Razorbacks stay on the right side of the scoreboard.

Oh, we have not even mentioned tight end D.J. Williams yet … another day.