The Southern receiving corps is perhaps best known for the work of Lee Doss.
It’s easy to understand why Doss is the face of the group. He’s a senior.
He’s an All-Southwestern Athletic Conference selection. In two games earlier this season, he scored five touchdowns.
And defenses have rightfully shifted their attention to the playmaking wideout.
Yet the Jaguars are about more than just Doss. They have having a plethora of young, upcoming talent in the cupboard.
Newcomers Willie Quinn and Randall Menard and sophomores Justin Morgan, Nico Talbert and Mike Jones have benefited from the attention Doss has drawn this season, providing big plays on the perimeter Southern.
“We have a great group of kids that just want to come out and compete,” wide receivers coach Chris Coleman said. “Those guys have come in and taken their God-given abilities and maximized it through film study and through repetitions on the practice field, and buying into what the coaches are teaching.”
Quinn’s effect was apparent early this season, when he managed to haul in touchdown passes in of the first three game.
Yet the play of the other young receivers in recent weeks has drawn the attention of Coleman.
“With (Justin) Morgan, we saw promise in the spring with him,” Coleman said. “He’s always been an athlete. He’s the type of player you want to get the ball into his hands, and lately we’ve been able to do that to maximize some of his strengths.
“He may not be exactly a true wide receiver, but he’s an athlete. He has qualities of a running back and a wide receiver.”
Morgan put his running skills on display Saturday when he took a snap in the shotgun formation, darted left and scampered into the end zone from 9 yards out.
Menard, a 6-foot-3 freshman from Breaux Bridge, possess physical attributes that are often seen at the highest levels of college football. He is coming into his own of late, hauling in seven passes for 161 yards and two scores in the past two weeks.
“Menard is the epitome of a pro receiver,” Coleman said. “He’s young and needs to add girth. But when you look at him, you say, ‘I want that kid.’
“He has tremendous upside. He’s a long way away from his ceiling. He has a great stride, and he knows how to hit top speed. He’s very competitive and physical. Once he adds 15 pounds, I think he’s going to be a real dominate player.”
Jones is the perfect complement to the rest of the receiving corps because of his ability to stretch a defense vertically, using his track speed.
Talbert, a sophomore from Redemptorist, has caught only six passes this year — but three of them were for touchdowns.
With many blossoming wideouts, Coleman said he has relied on the experience and desire of Doss to help bring them along.
“We expect Lee to continue to be himself,” Coleman said. “He’s a passionate guy, and sometimes his emotions can get him in trouble.
“I’ll pull him to the side sometimes and get him to channel those emotions and put them in the right area. For the most part, he’s buying into that. He’ll go out and give some of the younger guys advice, a pointer here or there on how to do something better.”
With a young group of wide receivers to coach, the receiving lessons come easier to teach than the more technical run blocking mechanics.
“Many receivers don’t place a lot of importance in the running game,” Coleman said. “It’s one of the things, though, that I harp on with the guys. They’re starting to take more pride in it. We’re still a work in progress, but we’re showing some strides in that area.”
For Coleman, witnessing the transition from newcomer to finished product is what he finds gratifying.
“It’s fun every day for me to watch these guys develop,” Coleman said. “The lights are coming on for these guys, and it’s fun to see them progress from week to week.”