When former quarterback Brock Osweiler decided to forego his senior season at ASU, he was not the only part of last season’s passing game to leave the program. The Sun Devils’ top three receivers from a season ago — Gerell Robinson, Aaron Pflugrad and Mike Willie — were all seniors in 2011 and are no longer with the team.
The three combined for 157 receptions and 15 touchdowns, meaning someone new had to step up and catch passes for ASU.
While the Sun Devils are still searching for a true “go-to” receiver, redshirt junior Kevin Ozier played in all 13 games and is one of the few returners at the position. Ozier finished the 2011 season with 11 receptions and 169 yards.
Recently, Ozier sat down with The State Press and talked about what improvements the receivers still need to make, as well as which of his teammates have impressed him thus far.
The State Press: How would you evaluate the receiver position from the beginning of fall camp through the first game?
Kevin Ozier: I feel like we did what was expected, but there’s room for improvement. I feel like there are some great athletes in the receiving corps, we are just waiting for someone to step up and really shine.
SP: You said there’s room for improvement, what areas do you guys need to get better in?
KO: Blocking. We need to step up in blocking down the field. Say a defender is off, we need to chase him down and put two hands on his as our coach says. We’ve got to block down the field to spring a block for the running backs.
SP: Aaron Pflugrad, Mike Willie, Gerell Robinson. You guys lost of lot of receivers from last year so who is stepping up the most to fill the void?
KO: I feel (senior wide receiver) Jamal Miles has stepped up as one of the leaders on the offense. He has gotten better with his route running. (Senior wide receiver) Rashad Ross is a blazer and he has gotten better with his route running and catching and (redshirt junior wide receiver) J.J. Holliday is overlooked, but I think he’ll do some good things this season.
I feel I can get better in my route running and blocking as well.
SP: Speaking of Jamal, what will it be like to have him back this week?
KO: Oh, it’s going to be great to have him back. Hopefully he takes a punt return and a kick return back for some touchdowns.
SP: Some people have said this is the weakest position group on the team. What is your guys’ response to that?
KO: We’re just going to work hard and show them. That’s all we can do.
SP: What kind of goals do you guys have as a group?
KO: No dropped balls, finish all blocks, run routes full speed and no loafs. Take no plays off.
SP: What about personal goals?
KO: My goals are to catch every ball that is thrown to me and to do my job.
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