By Patrick Klein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona wide receiver Richard Dice received a lot of attention from opposing defenses last season.
First-year wide receivers coach Dino Babers wants to change that.
Babers knows the development of a second wide receiver to line up on the opposite side from Dice is crucial to Arizona’s offensive fortunes next year.
“I think we need two guys to have a successful passing game,” Babers said. “We have to be able to take advantage of double coverage.
“But that’s not just the job of the wide receivers, the tight ends and running backs are also involved. Everybody has to become a weapon.”
The Arizona passing game basically was a one-weapon affair last season, with quarterback Dan White finding Dice time and time again to the tune of 56 receptions for 969 yards and eight touchdowns. By comparison, the rest of the team garnered 1,242 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
When Dice spent most of the second half of the season in double-coverage, White did not have a second wide receiver threat. He instead turned to a combination of running backs Lamont Lovett (26 receptions) and Ontiwaun Carter (23 receptions), and tight end Lamar Harris (21 receptions).
One receiver who is on the spot this year will be Cary Taylor, who has never had the kind of breakthrough year that was expected from him. The 5-foot-11, 194-pound senior-to-be is currently listed as the starter opposite Dice.
“I think Cary has great ability,” Babers said. “Now he has to do it with technique. I hope we can get that one year out of him that everyone’s expected from him — there are no guarantees though.”
Other potential contributors at the wide receiver spot also include senior-to-be Jeff Chiasson (two receptions last season), Ron Holmes (a redshirt) and junior college recruit Rodney Williams.
“Our primary concern at receiver is Dice’s continued improvement,” UA coach Dick Tomey said. “It will be his development along with one or two players from a mix of Cary Taylor, Chiasson, Holmes and Williams, developing into legitimate threats.”
But when talking about UA’s receivers, the focus always comes back to Dice.
“Richard is no different than any of the great athletes I coached at San Diego State or Purdue,” Babers said. “They all have god-given ability, great competitive spirit and heart. They all fit into the same category.
“He knows he can’t rest on his laurels, and he’s been working hard.”
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