WR makes the most of limited plays with Mettenberger
The other LSU wide receivers can’t help but be a little jealous of Kadron Boone.
He doesn’t put up the gaudiest numbers or receive the most attention from fans. He doesn’t appear on any awards watch lists or land on any All-America teams.
But Boone’s play in the first two games has his teammates wondering if he and Zach Mettenberger have some super-secret agreement.
“Something’s happening,” said sophomore receiver Jarvis Landry. “I don’t know what it is, but I got to get whatever he’s eating and drinking. Whatever he’s doing with Zach, I got to get with Zach and do that too.”
Boone has three receptions this season, two of them for touchdowns — the third and fourth of his career. His first came last year against Northwestern State, which just so happened to be Mettenberger’s first touchdown pass, as well.
In fact, every touchdown Mettenberger has thrown since donning an LSU uniform has gone to Boone. Perhaps that’s what has the other receivers so upset.
“Yeah, they’re pretty mad,” Boone said with a sheepish grin. “But I’m not going to complain about it.”
For Boone, his recent success has been a long-time coming. A consensus four-star prospect and top-15 receiver, Boone garnered high expectations once he landed at LSU following a commitment to Texas Tech that ended with Mike Leach’s dismissal.
The Ocala, Fla., native mostly watched from the sidelines during his first two seasons as the LSU passing game sputtered before him. He received the occasional opportunity to showcase his abilities, but never really felt like a part of the offense.
“Being a receiver, you want to be that guy,” Landry said. “You always want to have the ball. Having the system that we’ve been running since he came in, it wasn’t like that (for Boone).”
Boone’s frustration came to a head following the BCS title game, where he saw the field but didn’t record any stats. Boone began looking for other opportunities, and according to his Twitter in the weeks following the game, appeared set on transferring.
He talked to Les Miles and met with new receivers coach Adam Henry to get a feel for how he might be featured in the new-look passing game. But it was Boone’s optimism for teaming up with Mettenberger that ultimately led him to stay.
“I wanted to see the new guy, so I felt a new start would be good for me,” Boone said.
And if the last two games are any indication, Boone made the right decision.
He’s shown a distinct ability to find openings in zone coverage, settle in the defense’s blind spot and provide a nice, open target for the quarterback. Against Washington, Boone worked past the cornerback then sneaked behind the safety.
He ended up wide open, 3 yards from the end zone before Mettenberger found him for the 32-yard score.
“As a receiver, that’s your dream and goal to get open for touchdowns and make plays,” Boone said.
With touchdowns comes confidence, and James Wright said he’s noticed a night-and-day change in Boone’s attitude.
“He’s more comfortable now,” Wright said. “He realizes he’s part of the offense. We count on him like we count on anyone else.”
Miles explained Boone’s resurgence started once he got that first, real taste of success.
“I think he started to expect himself to make some big plays,” Miles said. “When you have confidence in your play, you’re going to express your hands to the ball and snatch it out of the air. You start feeling that ability, and I think that makes a difference.”
Once a fresh-faced receiver fighting for playing time, Boone is now one of the veterans in a deep receivers corp. He still battles to see the field, but he has the experience and confidence that make him a guy the young players turn to when seeking advice.
“I tell them they have to be patient,” Boone said, perhaps calling on some guidance he received himself. “Coming out of high school, you’re one of the top recruits, but now you’re coming into a room where everybody around you was that go-to guy in high school. When the time comes, you have to come down with that play because you don’t know how many opportunities you’ll get.”
Boone has grown accustomed to letting others shine in the spotlight. With few reasons to celebrate in his first two seasons at LSU, Boone is slowly learning what it’s like to have the attention focused on him.
“It shocked me, but I’m being humble about it,” Boone said. “I’m still just going out there, making plays and I look to keep executing on game day.”
Even if it means making his teammates a little envious in the process.