The Huskie receiving corps is a deep and talented unit. It is loaded with veterans, has some very promising up-and-comers, and is also the new position for Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren, one of the more athletic Huskies we’ve seen in recent memory. Huskie Outsider spoke with Jason Sulz, the receivers’ coach, and a few members of this unit.
“I’m pretty impressed with where we’re at right now. We still have a long ways to go in order to get to where we need to be, but guys are flying around and learning a lot of things. We have a few guys with some minor nicks, so a lot of the young guys are getting some reps, which is a great opportunity for them.”
As stated earlier, Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren has been moved to slotback, a position in which the coaching staff hopes to exploit JGK’s athleticism and playmaking ability. “He’s a natural athlete,” Coach Sulz remarked. “He can play a lot of places. He has a lot to learn, but he sure is showing flashes of being pretty special in that spot.”
One of the more promising 2012 Huskie recruits is slotback, Brydon Ozmun. “Oz is similar to Julan Lynch (who Huskie Outsider profiled earlier today). He didn’t get a chance in spring camp (while recovering from injury), but he’s come out here and he’s working real hard. Brydon and Julan are well ahead of some of the rookies that we’ve had in year’s past. Brydon, like Julan, brings good size and catches the ball real well.”
Huskie Outsider profiled Brydon Ozmun during spring camp, but we wanted to hear from him again now that he is recovered from injury and a full participant in camp. “Over the last couple of days, we’ve taken some steps forward as a unit. I feel like I’ve also progressed, now that I’ve had time to learn the patterns. I grasped part of the playbook while watching, from the sidelines, during spring camp, but it has really helped to get in and take reps.” Brydon started laughing after he was asked how much of a step up Huskie football is, compared to the high school ball he played in Nipawin. “From 9-man to this is a huge step forward…it’s hard to even compare the two.”
Garrett Burgess is a veteran member of the receiving unit. We spoke with the 4th year wide receiver to get his take on how the man throwing them the ball, Drew Burko, is progressing in his first camp as the Huskies’ starting pivot. “It’s different having Drew back there, because we got used to Jahlani and Trent (Peterson). He’s getting better every day, and we’re all rallying around him.” Garrett took part in several throwing sessions, with Burko, during the off-season. “Those sessions were important, because getting timing down between the quarterback and receivers takes more than just a week – you have to work on that for months.”
As Coach Sulz indicated, a few of the veteran starters are a little nicked up with injuries. Slotback, Mitch Stevens is working his way back from a more serious injury. “I tore my quad tendon near the end of last season,” Mitch explained. Stevens has been participating in practice more and more each day. “It’s better than I thought it would be at this point. It gets better every day. There’s a few things I have to work on – the curl route is still tough, but I expect to be fully back in a couple of weeks.”
Over the next day or two, we will hear from the guys whose challenge is to slow down the receivers – the defensive backs.