If you are looking for insight into Maryland’s offense and wide receivers, there are few people better to talk to than wide receiver Kevin Dorsey. I caught up with Dorsey on Wednesday to talk mostly about his fellow wide receivers, who will need to contribute more as seniors Ronnie Tyler and Quintin McCree continue to serve an indefinite suspension.
Q: I’m interested in your take on the strengths of some of the other receivers. Let’s start with Tony Logan. We know what he can do as a punt returner:
The biggest thing is that the same aspect he brings as a punt returner he brings as a receiver. When the ball touches his hands, he is dynamic. He did that last Saturday, taking a route that was maybe four or five yards and turning it into something really big, a big play down the sideline, making people miss. The biggest thing is to get the ball in his hands quick. The quicker you can get the ball into the hands of someone like that, he can pretty much do what he does on special teams. He is a great asset.
People like Devin Burns, he is a lot faster than people realize. Definitely a lot faster. The biggest thing is that he is coming along, still learning. He is eager to be out there.
And of course Marcus [Leak]. He not only did well Saturday at receiver, but also special teams, just always giving an all out effort. So I think we’ll be really good at receiver, not only this year but in the future.
Q: With Devin, what are the biggest strides you have seen him make since the spring?
Consistency. He transitioned from quarterback, so he wasn’t used to all the running we were doing. He told me one day: ‘Man, I’m not used to all this. I’m used to at most a seven-step drop, or rolling out of the pocket on a bootleg. This is a different life.’ I said, ‘You’ll learn to love it.’ Everyone is a competitor deep down. Just beating a defender or making a catch or doing something explosive. We all feed off of that. He definitely feeds off that. Since spring, I can say that he has become a lot more consistent. He also was able to learn both X and Z, that’s a positive as well.
Q: Have you been surprised or impressed with how far Tony has come as a receiver since the spring?
Tony definitely took the time and focused in on route running, seeing coverages better or attacking a defender a certain way. We already know that he has speed, agility and quickness. But just being able to come out of your breaks a certain way or attack a receiver with a particular shoulder on a particular route. It allows you to get that much more open. With his speed and explosiveness, he can pretty much do whatever he wants, to be quite honest. If I played DB, I wouldn’t want to press him. I’d play off coverage nine times out of 10. If it’s one on one, we don’t count that defender going against him. We know he is going to win.
Q: How about the natural skill set Marcus has shown as a true freshman?
Definitely. His natural skill set is nice. Playing the X position, he is already a bigger-bodied receiver. He fills out his pads a little more than even some of the people who have been here a little longer. That’s a good thing because at X, nine times out of 10, you are going to be on the ball, you are going to be pressed more, you are going to have to go in and dig out the safeties sometimes on run plays. He is learning it. He is coming along. First game, everyone has their eyes wide, even some seniors sometimes. He got over that and he actually did really good. We definitely have not had any fluff teams, as you say, so far, and that’s good to see what you are made out of right from the beginning.
Q: And what do you see from Kerry Boykins?
Oh, man. We are locker mates. We talk everyday. He is always there when you need him. He is one of our most consistent people, especially at receiver, whether it is catching the ball, making a block. He is one of those people who will sacrifice whatever it takes for the receiving corps, the offense or even the team. That has definitely made him into the player he is, whether it is at receiver or special teams.
Q: Kerry’s greatest strength is what?
His ability to stick his nose into any situation. He doesn’t care how big the other person is, it can be a 6-5, 265-pounder and he will go and try to block him. That’s his mind-set. He feels every man is equal out there. That’s a great asset, especially as an inside receiver. You have to run more crossing routes, they are taking on safeties and linebackers consistently.
Q: Adrian Coxson was set back with the preseason ankle injury. Do you like his potential?
Definitely. He is always eager. He asks: ‘What can I do to get better? What can I do to beat the defender on this route? What’s an easier way to read this coverage?’ That eagerness, that’s what you like to hear. He is out there working hard regardless of the injury. And we have all been there, some longer than others. But that eagerness is something you can’t replace.
Q: Coach Edsall said Danny O’Brien knows exactly where you are going to be at all times. Do you feel almost as if you two can do it blind-folded because of the comfort level and chemistry you two have?
The crazy thing is that I feel like we can. There are times I will see something and be like, well, I’ll just run this. And, honestly, it’s not what the play is designed to do, but I just know what he would like and he knows where I would be. No signals. I just know. A few times in the Miami game, the corner came off the edge. We were headed toward the student section, maybe around the 20, 25. The right-side corner came on a blitz. I just came off the ball kind of lazy and filled the hole he just left and Danny just threw the ball there. That’s something we don’t talk about. When you see it, you just do it. The corner was up and peaking inside and the safety was coming off the hash a little more than normal. After a while you look at certain coverages and kind of realize that safety is usually not there. So he will come over the top to try to play the deep threat.
Q: What was the difference between the first half and second half of the West Virginia game?
The biggest thing was executing. The first drive, first quarter, you never really know how a team is going to play you. Of course you prepared all week with coverages you saw them play in previous weeks before. But things can change. Everyone is feeling themselves out at first. Even with that, we still came out a little slow. We knew they’d play zone. The question was what type of zone. Coach talked to us and said, ‘Calm down, you still have another 30 minutes to play.’ We came out explosive in the second half. If we only could have done that in the first half the result would have been different.
Q: Danny doesn’t have many games like that, he takes it hard. That Saturday night he was back watching film again . . .
I kind of left him to himself that Saturday night. I understand how he feels when you have a certain expectation for not only yourself but for what you want for your team. And you feel you didn’t contribute as much as you could have, I understand how he feels. I left him alone. I knew he was watching film. I had my phone on if he wanted to call and talk to me. But sometimes as a player, you just need to take a deep breath, look at it and say, ‘Okay, what did I do wrong.’ Or better yet, what could we have done better as a team. He came out this week fired up this week, from Sunday watching film to Tuesday’s practice.
Q: Even more fired up than usual?
Yes, he is paying attention to the little details. Right now, it is not enough for him to put the ball near the receiver. He wants to put it exactly 18 inches in front of him if he is running a route. Those are the type of things he is focused on now because he said he never wants to have a game like that again. He doesn’t want to have that feeling, almost as if he caused certain things to happen. He is definitely focused hard on that right now. He is focused, but never out of the context of who he is. He is still him. As a quarterback, you can’t certain things to heart, you can’t take certain things too hard. Regardless of how you feel or what you do, your team reflects off you every single day. Everything you do, your demeanor, you may not know it, but it rubs off on everyone. He understands that. He comes in with a smile on his face regardless of whether he threw 10 picks. He will still come with a smile on his face because he knows it affects his offensive line, running backs, everyone else around him.
Q: I’m not assigning blame in that game, but how much of the problem was general miscommunication?
Miscommunication played a part. I wouldn’t necessarily say a huge part. Execution was the biggest thing. We all know our assignments. Some of the plays we used, we worked on since the summer. It’s not something we put in new that no one knew. The biggest thing was executing. If it means crossing the defender’s face to give the quarterback a better look, that’s what we need to do. Or for the quarterback, looking off the safety one way to give the receiver a chance to be a little more open. Or a running back chipping the defensive end off the edge to help the tackle. Even in life, people don’t realize, if you let little things build up you can mess around and have a huge problem. By the end of the first half, that’s exactly what we had.