Hoo Preview 2010: Receivers

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Kris Burd led UVa’s wideouts in 2009 with 413 yards receiving.

Virginia’s last 800-yard receiver was Heath Miller, who eclipsed that plateau during the 2003 season. In fact, over the last six years only twice has the seasonal receiving yards leader surpassed the 700-yard mark and Miller was a tight end. Over the last three years of coach Al Groh’s tenure, the Hoos’ leading receiver has topped 418 yards once – Kevin Ogletree had a breakout season in 2008 and led the team in receiving with his 58 catches for 723 yards.

For UVa’s offense to rise out of the bottom 10% of the NCAA where it has resided much of the last five years that will have to change. It starts with the offensive line and quarterback play but having a group of skilled wideouts that can run routes, create separation, make plays and catch the ball is an essential element of moving up the national offensive rankings.

According to new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor: “We have a group of a few guys who in the spring showed that they can play at the level we need them to play and we have a whole group of guys who are in the fight [and] guys we are expecting to fight to join that group.”

Sounds a lot like where we were a year ago. Consider this from last fall’s receiver preview by Sabre.com Editor Kris Wright.

“Clearly, there’s tons of potential … instead of one Kevin Ogletree type, you’ve got multiple players that have wheels as an attribute and you’ve got more wideout positions to put them in. So that leaves us operating in the danger zone of potential.”

Welcome back to the danger zone.

There are, however, positive signs. First, the unit returns virtually intact with an additional year of experience under their collective belts and a simplified offensive system.

“The receivers are very enthusiastic about the offense we’re putting in,” says new receivers coach