Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Receivers, led by Poblah, looking to fill old shoes

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 01, 2010

Dan Enos can describe his offense in one word: Multiple.

Multiple sets, in multiple formations, with multiple players.

“We’re going to keep defenses in a bind and make them try to cover the whole field,” the first-year Central Michigan head coach said.

So it comes as no surprise that this season, with last year’s two leading pass-catchers in the rearview mirror, the Chippewas wide receiving core is going to need multiple underclassmen to step up.

Antonio Brown is gone, having left Mount Pleasant last April for the NFL, and he will take his 2009 season of near 1,300 yards of total offense and 12 touchdowns with him. Bryan Anderson and running back Bryan Schroeder — the No. 2 and 4 Chippewas receivers last season — are gone, having combined for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns as supplemental targets to Brown.

The departures add up to over 2,200 receiving yards and 19 scores lost.

In other words, it’s going to take production from multiple receivers to bridge that wide gap.

“We have guys stepping up,” Enos said. “We’ll be gaining yards and throwing the ball, but different guys will be catching it and hopefully things will be similar.”

And it all starts at the top with Kito Poblah.

The senior wideout, who caught 53 passes for 681 yards and four touchdowns last year, will lead a group of players with a fair amount of on-the-job training ahead of them.

“Kito is making me better every day because he’s pushing me,” said senior wide receiver Matt Torres.

Torres, who played 10 games last season on special teams and backed up at receiver, said that Poblah has been in his ear, ever since freshman year, pushing him in practice with a reminder to work hard.

“They’re on us every day, to work hard and prepare for the best, day-by-day and step-by-step,” Torres said. “We’re filling shoes from the other guys that left.”

But Enos sees Poblah, who has caught a pass in 24 straight games, as much more than just a fill-in.

“He’s been unbelievable with the whole receiving core,” Enos said. “He’s a guy that leads by example, just an extremely hard worker.”

And one that can show the youngsters how to play the game, with or without the ball in their hands.

“He blocks and runs routes,” Enos said, noting that most of the receivers could be an option on any play. “But even when he knows he’s not a primary receiver, he still runs full-speed. Just a great example for any receiver, young or old.”

Enos said that a lot of different wide receivers will have a chance to play, and that he is comfortable with about a handful, so passes may come by committee.

He said sophomore Cody Wilson, who caught 25 passes for 226 yards last season, is a playmaker, and is excited to see junior Taylor Bradley, who was redshirted in 2009.

Other players mentioned in the mix by Enos include Torres, “He’s having a good spring;” junior Cedric Fraser, “Really steady;” and sophomore Valtorrey Showers, who has “Been coming along in the past few weeks.”

Junior Jeremy Wilson and sophomore Jerry Harris will also be competing for receptions.

“We’re filling shoes from the other guys that left,” Torres said. “And we’re going to be ready by the time the lights come on.”

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