McAlester is set up to have almost all of its wide receivers for multiple years.
The only senior receiver on the roster this year is Colby Squyres, meaning head coach and wide receivers coach Forrest Mazey has several underclassmen at the position for the future.
Mazey said having many returnees next season after a year of experience will lead to a solid receiving corps, but he loves how coachable the group is this year.
He said the tentative starters for Friday's season opener against Muskogee were Squyres, junior Gavin Johnson, junior Jaxon Walters and sophomore Gage Dollins. The Buffs have more sophomores at the position like Luke Homer, Lleyton Bass, Killian Barnes and Cale Prather.
Squyres had the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter on fourth down against Durant as a junior for a 27-21 win. Mazey thinks the senior receiver hasn't reached his potential yet and has a high ceiling. He said Squyres has the physical tools, and could wind up playing tight end if it's best for the offense.
Mazey sees him being a special player if he can push past the point of being tired.
"I ride him pretty hard because I know what he's capable of," Mazey said of Squyres.
He thinks Johnson does a good job of stretching the field. Mazey said the junior wideout could have a breakout year in 2019. He said Johnson has it physically put together, and can be really good if he combined those tools with the mental aspect of football.
Mazey said Johnson needs to learn the details of the game. The coach said the junior receiver must pick up on the different details and nuances of stemming his route, which allows wideouts to use angles downfield or off the line of scrimmage.
He added that Johnson must learn getting out of breaks fast and getting separation.
"Once he learns that, man, the sky's the limit for that young man," he said.
The coach said Walters is speedy, and said Dollins being a shortstop for the Buffs in baseball helps him out because of pressure situations in competing at the varsity level.
Mazey is big on blocking when it comes to his wideouts, and said the receiving corps has learned what he's wanted in practice. He added that there has been a bigger uptick and said blocks must be physical, not just getting in the way.
He won't know until game time Friday how many opportunities his receivers get, but he wants them to be looking for work. Mazey does not want the wideouts to stand around if they miss their blocking assignments.
"Go find some work," he said. "The whistle will tell you whether or not the play's over. If you can find guys like that...you can win with average talent if you can get to that point."
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