This is the fourth in a series breaking down the personnel in each area of the 2009 Bryant Hornets football team.
By Rob Patrick
One thing’s for certain about the receivers for the Bryant Hornets: Their ability and willingness to block is just about as important as running routes and catching the ball.
That’s true every year, but it became even more vital in 2008 when one after another quarterback went down with injury and the passing game became a change of pace to keep the other team’s defense somewhat honest or a just-when-we-have-to situation.
The 86 completions and 163 attempts were the fewest since 1997 when the Hornets completed 27 of 83 passes on the season.[more]
In fact, late in the season, most of the receivers were just as important as defensive backs.
Again in 2009, there will be some that will play both ways and with the explosiveness of the running game, blocking will be just as important as ever but there should be a few more passes to catch too.
The fact that the team’s leading receiver for 2008 returns, Brandon Parish, a 6-0, 150-pound senior. He caught 18 passes for 187 yards last season.
“He’s the main man,” acknowledged receivers coach Jason Hay. “He’s one of the smartest kids on the field. He knows what he’s doing, reads everything real well and he and (quarterback) Jimi (Easterling) have been playing together for a long time. They’ve got a chemistry there that’s hard to replace.
“We’re a small group,” Hay stated. “We’ve lost a few to injury. We’ve got two guys that started for us last year both out and we don’t know when they’re going to be back. That’s Chris Arnold (5-8, 150, senior) and Garrett Bock (6-0, 170, senior).”
Arnold hauled in 14 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown last season and Bock, after coming over from the secondary, caught seven for 107 yards.
“We’ve also had a couple of guys move to the defensive side of the ball, so we’re going to be young,” Hay added. “But the guys we’ve got have been working hard.
“Parish will be outside, at C will be Sawyer Nichols, a sophomore,” he said. “A will be Dylan Prichett with the other outside receiver Caleb Garrett.”
Besides Parish, that group combined for one reception last year, that by Pritchett before he was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. Garrett, a junior, didn’t play last season but has flashed some of the ability that resulted in 11 catches for 198 yards as a freshman two years ago. Nichols led the 2008 freshman Hornets with 21 receptions. He picked up 467 yards and scored five touchdowns.
“Nichols has got great hands,” Hay commented. “He runs good routes. He’s small and he’s not as effective as a blocker as some of the other guys.
“Dylan’s just a bull,” he continued. “He can do a little bit of both. He’s not as quick as the others but he has good hands and he can block.
“Caleb’s come back and had a lot of catching up to do but he’s come a long way. He’s an intelligent kid. He’s been learning to back up everybody’s spot."
Hay added, “We’ll be using some of the defensive guys going both ways with Logan Garland playing some backside receiver with Samille Watson. Brady Butler will spend some time at A too.”
Garland had two receptions as a receiver last season. Butler hauled in seven.
“LG and Samille are both good all-round receivers,” Hay said. “They’ve got speed, got some moves. Butler’s always kind of been a utility guy. He’s played all four spots and he’s good after the catch, pretty smooth. He’s also one of the guys that knows where to go, knows where the holes are in the zones.”