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Williams Likely on 5-Year Plan

While Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson has not officially made the decision, freshman wide receiver and Buffalo native Mike Williams will likely serve a redshirt season in 2006.

In a blog entry penned today by Syracuse Post-Standard staff writer Donnie Webb, Robinson comments on the maturation of the receiving corps and that group's potential makeup and depth for this upcoming season:

Freshman Mike Williams has been impressive in camp, but asked if Williams would make the rotation, Robinson hesitated.

"I don't know that. I don't know that when you say four or five, if freshmen are in that group right now. Those freshmen are still working and doing good things on the field. Mike's done some things to get everybody's attention. I don't want to get the cart ahead of the horse, yet, but I do feel like, you know, some of those young guys have come along very well."

Therefore, the next two receivers behind starters Rice Moss, Tim Lane and Taj Smith would be Lavar Lobdell and Jeremy Horne.
These comments lead to two obvious points of emphasis. First, with a somewhat settled five-man rotation, the need to put Mike Williams onto the gridiron in 2006 is nullified.

The West Coast Offense rarely calls for sets featuring more than four wideouts. Rather, the West Coast Offense generally displays two and three-man wide receiver sets with backs and tight ends serving as options in the passing game. Given the fact that Robinson and White plan to use a rotation at the wide out position, potential fatigue should not necessitate a sixth contributor to the unit. Thus, there is no need to worry about the receiving corps "tiring itself out" through a self-imposed depth restriction.

Secondly, Robinson obviously has an affection for Williams, but for whatever reason, Williams has not yet grasped enough of the offense to become an effective option in 2006. As Robinson noted in a recent piece penned by staff writer Donnie Webb for the Syracuse Post-Standard, Williams has all the tools to accomplish great things:
Redshirt freshman Lavar Lobdell of Christian Brothers Academy may be establishing himself as the fourth wide receiver behind Rice Moss, Tim Lane and Taj Smith. Robinson calls the group competitive.

"You do flow with five guys," Robinson said. "Lavar has come back and looks like the Lavar we were hoping to see. He's done a lot of good things. Jeremy (Horne) flashes. The young kids, all three of them, have done good things. It's early, but they're football players. And the team knows it."

One is Mike Williams, of Buffalo. Williams was unable to enroll with the other freshmen in summer school but has impressed since his arrival.

"He's got gifts," Robinson said. "He's a real good athlete, No. 1. He can run, he can jump and he's strong. He's got good hand-eye coordination. His greatest strength is he's very competitive."
Thus, one can only come to the conclusion that Robinson fears walking down the same path he crossed last season with wide receiver-turned-safety Bruce Williams. If Mike Williams can contribute on offense as a wide out (which probably constitutes dropping less than four passes a game), Robinson will likely place Williams into the rotation. If Robinson does not believe that Williams can effectively contribute and that a redshirt season would both benefit Williams and the program, then he should err on the side of caution.

In short, if the entire receiving corps is going to frustrate Orange Nation, it is better than the old blood due so in order to protect the young. There is no need to recontribute to the myriad of problems associated with Paul Pasqualoni's decision to play Rice Moss and Johnnie Morant in potential redshirt seasons. Robinson must recognize this and take appropriate precautions.

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