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Baylor Football

Baylor's attempt to keep #WRU tradition alive starts with depth in 2017

April 13, 2017
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For the first time since Terrance Williams took the field as a senior in 2012, the Baylor football team will not return a receiver with at least 800 yards receiving the previous season in 2017.

Either of KD Cannon (1,215) or Ishmael Zamora (809) could have been that man, but the duo who combined for over 2,000 yards opted to test their skill at the NFL level prior to their eligibility expiring.

Coupled with the two early departures, Baylor's returning leading receivers, junior Chris Platt (track) and sophomore Blake Lynch (injury), have each missed reps on the practice field this spring.

So what does Rhule and this new Baylor staff need to do to hold onto the #WRU slogan the program proudly adopted after Kendall Wright and Williams put up back-to-back All-American seasons in 2011 and 2012? For starters, they need to be prepared to lean on a few unknowns.

"Names that maybe did not do a ton in the past," Matt Rhule said when asked about Baylor's group of receivers earlier in the spring. It will be tall task to try and match the dazzling numbers from the previous offensive scheme, but having the athletes who were set to step in those roles will help

"It’s a really deep group," Rhule added. "It’s a fast group. I think we have a couple good kids coming in."

After enrolling for the 2016 spring semester, quarterback Zach Smith identifies with the depth at the positon noted by Rhule.

"Denzel Mims, Jared Atkinson, Blake Lynch, Chris Platt, we know what they can do," Smith said. "RJ Sneed has done real good so far. So I’m looking forward to seeing them develop, obviously as I’m developing too, but going in there and playing their butts off.

Opposite of Smith's experience with Baylor's receivers, former San Franciso 49ers wide receiver coach Bob Bicknell has seen first hand the talent that Baylor has compiled in action for only a couple of short weeks.

"To be honest with you, they all pop," receivers coach Bob Bicknell added. "It’s a talented group of guys. There’s people out there that are talented.

"Mims has great size, he’s got great speed. At first, I was like Mims, you’ve got to run. And then I’m watching him and he’s running down the field and he’s by people. It’s just he’s a smooth, really good looking athlete."

While battling depth issues on the offensive line and at running back, the bodies at receiver haven't been an issue. The experience and production are lacking, but the significance of having so many options cannot be overstated.

The luxury of depth was epitomized when former defensive back Tony Nicholson asked Rhule if he could move to the offensive side of the ball. According to Rhule, Nicholson is expected to be utilized appropriately.

"(Tony) Nicholson is a kid that can give us a lot of value," Rhule said. "I think he played corner before, but he’s playing receiver and he can play tailback."

When the shuffling of the injuries is finished and the playbook is learned, the best trait of the group, according to Bicknell, is that it's simply a group who loves the game.

"It’s a good group and they love playing football," Bicknell said. "When you put the ball out there, we’re ready to go."
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Baylor's attempt to keep #WRU tradition alive starts with depth in 2017

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