Mickey Joseph didn’t hold back when assessing his wide receiver room’s practice performance on Monday.
He said he’s looking for the room to “stack days,” meaning that they continue to improve from practice to practice. That didn’t happen today.
“We got our butts whooped today by the DBs,” Joseph said. “We can’t have that. We got to stack days.”
He said it wasn’t an issue of effort, and that the receivers need to rely on their technique while also having a chip on their shoulder when things aren’t going their way in the future.
Wide receiver Trey Palmer had a somewhat more positive assessment of the unit’s work. He said the group is getting better and better every day, and they’re taking it one day at a time.
“We just come to dominate every practice,” he said. “I mean, the defense, you know, they came with it today. But best believe we fought back, tomorrow we going to fight back.”
Joseph was asked who in the room had been the most consistent, and later on, was asked who has been the one to step up when they had a subpar day. His response to both questions was the same.
“Me,” Joseph said.
Consistency in particular is something Joseph is looking for in sorting out the depth chart. He knows his players are going to make mistakes, but the expectation of stacking days will always be there. He mentioned that he’s also looking at who is making big plays and producing the most.
“You can be consistent, but you’re not making plays. I look at all of that,” he said. “But I think going into the week and getting ready for Northwestern, I think you’ll kind of figure out who’s ready to go, who’s not.”
It wasn’t all negative from Joseph though. He said he rules with “an iron fist” and his players know and accept that. He credited them for how they’ve bounced back each time he’s challenged them, and expects them to do the same after today. He’s looking for one of the players to really step up as a leader, and trusts in that happening as well.
“That’s my problem with them right now,” he said. “When things are going bad, somebody’s got to just call the group in and say, ‘Okay hey, let’s settle down and get it going,’ because listen, I’m not going to be out there with them. I told them like this, if I gotta lead the room, I’ll lead the room, but I’d rather them do it. And they’re going to learn.”
Palmer gave the room a bit more credit, saying that everyone has shared leadership duties.
“Everybody, we just help each other out,” Palmer said. “If we missed a wrong step or plant on the wrong feet we just help each other out.”
More news & notes:
>> Joseph isn’t the only offensive assistant looking for more players to step up. Just as he did in the spring, Sean Beckton said that tight end Travis Vokolek is the only player to lock up his spot in the depth chart.
He named Nate Boerkircher, Chancellor Brewington and Chris Hickman as players who have been in “fierce” competition for the second spot. AJ Rollins and James Carnie are in the mix as well.
>> Brewington said he’s at a playing weight of 225 pounds, up from 210 last year.
“There’s a difference there for sure,” he said. “I can feel it, moving people more and stuff like that.”
>> Beckton said every drill has been a “dogfight” on both sides of the ball, along with special teams.
He credited special teams coordinator Bill Busch for the work he’s done, and said that many of the special teams drills have forced the players to be in “close quarters” with one another, enhancing competition.