There was a lot of publicity and hype for Wyoming’s five true freshmen wide receivers this season. I wrote my share of stories and blog posts about them.
But through four games, there hasn’t been much production.
James Price caught two passes for 26 yards in UW’s 38-28 loss to New Mexico last Saturday. Both of those came late when the game was already decided. Those were the first two catches of his career. Joe Parker, who enrolled at UW in January and went through spring drills, has caught two passes for 10 yards.
The other three — Justice Murphy, Dameko Doddles and C.J. Johnson have yet to catch a pass. Murphy and Doddles have played. Johnson will redshirt this season. Murphy scored a touchdown in UW’s 48-29 home loss to Eastern Michigan on Sept. 12 on a fly sweep. He also fumbled later in the game on a similar play.
“We’ve tried to integrate guys into games, but we’re not completely happy with all our freshmen wide receivers, though. They need to take a step forward,” coach Craig Bohl said. “That may mean feeding them with a fire hose. (Juniors Tanner Gentry and Jake Maulhardt) have played some excellent football, but we need to find more than two. We’re pushing some of those guys.”
Another young wide receiver Bohl said UW will take a look at in practice this week is true freshman walk-on Tayton Montgomery, a Cheyenne Central graduate, at 5-11, 165 pounds.
Price seems to be more ahead of the other freshmen receivers at this point. And, with Gentry nursing some sore ribs this week, he and some of the other young receivers could see more opportunities in practice this week to earn more playing time Saturday at Appalachian State.
“As season as progressed I’m more comfortable with the playbook and my teammates, and the game has slowed down,” Price said. “I’m excited to see where we can grow from here as a team and an offense.”
Price said that he knows how to play the slot receiver, and both outside receiver spots in the offense now. “I’m definitely ready to contribute more,” he added.
Gentry and Maulhardt know what it’s like to be freshmen receivers. That was them two years ago. It isn’t easy, but both feel these young guys will get there eventually.
“We have the talent there, but it’s tough,” Maulhardt said. “Me and Tanner played as freshmen. You want to be a college football player so bad, and then to go into games it’s so different than high school. James is going to be really good, and he is good now. I can see him coming along. Same with Joe and some of the other guys. Don’t be surprised as the year progress that you will see more from them.”
I will have more on Gentry and Maulhardt later this week. Be sure to check out Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang, and wyosports.net, for my analysis piece on UW’s offense and why it’s not had a big problem moving the ball, but it has had issues scoring.