Wide receivers coach Mike Sullivan, 08.02.09

Q: In the spring time you really can’t teach them press coverage. What have you done to kind of get them prepared for that?

Sullivan: Well, we showed a lot of tape, looked at video of some excellent press releases, talked about the technique, worked some drills. This is a group that’s very attentive, they want to be coached and it’s rewarding to be as receptive as they’ve been to wanting to perform the techniques. You’re exactly right, it’s going to take the live reps out in the preseason games, it’s going to take the practices and so forth to really refine those skills. From the standpoint of coachability and attitude they’ve been tremendous and I think it’s making sense to them as far as why they need to do what they need to do. If we can get that across, then they’re not having to think and memorize, it’s just releasing and executing a technique that makes sense. 

Q:  From the time you got them in, the rookies especially in April, what kind of changes have you seen from them?

Sullivan: I think from Ramses Barden’s standpoint, I would say one of the biggest improvements is his ability to see the entire field, to read the coverages. He came from an unorthodox offense there in Cal-Poly and is making the adjustments to the pro game and some of the complexities of the defenses and he has a good awareness out there and has really worked hard to improve his knowledge of the game. From Hakeem Nicks’ standpoint, I think everyone knew he had excellent hands coming in from North Carolina, he’s continued to demonstrate that but he’s also shown an ability to separate down the field and really maintain a high level of speed on some of the deeper passes. It’s one of those situations where if he raced in a 40-yard dash with ten other receivers he might be middle of the road but you put the ball in the air he has that extra gear and ability to maintain his speed even while tracking a deep ball. So those are two things that they’ve really been impressive with and shown us.

Q: Is there any particular patterns or plays that they really kind of found a niche for so far?

Sullivan: You know we have provided them so many opportunities to learn the entire offense because it’s such a wide open competition. So we really haven’t centered on any particular kind of player or scheme or route. But I think in all areas both young men have shown an excellent attitude, tremendous work ethic and I’m excited to see what they are going to do to take the next step here.

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