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August 24, 2007

Depth chart breakdown: Receivers

The emphasis of this year's Orange football team seems to be putting up more points on the scoreboard. To do so they will need big-time plays from their big-time players. If there is one thing the Orange wide receivers showed they can do it is catch the ball and make a play when given the right opportunity.

This year with a new quarterback at the helm, it will be interesting to see how things unfold.

There are a few questions surrounding the receiving core: Is Taj Smith fully recovered from his collarbone injury? If so, where does that put sophomore Mike Williams, who stepped up tremendously when Smith went down? And how will the new guys fare in the Orange offense?

We take a look at the perceived depth chart of the Orange wide receivers.

Taj Smith - Junior

Has Smith recovered fully from his collarbone injury that sidelined him just after four games? Depending on who you ask, some say he's healthy, others have said he still seems to be favoring the injury. If healthy you'd have to think that Smith would be Andrew Robinson's number one target. After starting off slow in 2006, Smith put up big numbers against Illinois, catching five passes for 106 yards and followed that up with three impressive quarters against Miami (OH) before going down with the collarbone injury. If he could pick up where he left off last season it could give the Orange a speed threat after the catch.

Mike Williams - Sophomore

When Smith went down with the collarbone injury it gave Williams an opportunity to see the field and he made the most of it. He looked impressive against West Virginia when he caught three passes for 99 yards and followed that up with a five catch 98 yard game against Louisville. Williams gives the Orange a big target. At 6-foot-2, 204 pounds he can run over the middle and take a good hit and still hold on to the ball.

Rice Moss - Senior

If there is one thing you get from Moss, it is durability. Last season, the senior participated in every game for the Orange. catching 23 passes for 272 yards including a five catch 68-yard receiving game against Louisville. Moss gives the Orange a threat in the in-between game, because he can get a five to six yard pass here and there, but could easily burn secondary players for a long gain or even a touchdown. Moss could be the perfect complement to Smith and Williams for a decent receiving core.

Lavar Lobdell - Sophomore

Like Moss, Lobdell will look to fill in roles here and there for the Orange. Last season, he played in all 12 games for the Orange. At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds gives Robinson another big target.

Donte Davis - Sophomore

Davis could be the perfect fill in if any of the guys above get banged up here and there. He gives the position more game speed experience with his nine games played in to go with two starts.


Prediction

The recovery of Smith will be big for the Orange offense. His speed might be the best of the bunch, so if he's healthy and gets some balls sent his way up the sideline, he could be trouble for opponents who single cover him. As of right now you'd have to think Smith, Williams and Moss will see the field the most, but things could change. If someone goes down with an injury or just isn't performing well, Lobdell and Davis could make the most of their opportunity.

Also, don't be surprised if freshman D'Amon Merkerson sees the field at some point this seaon.


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