|The switch is always on for ISU’s wide out double threat|
|Written by Kevin Massoth, Daily Vidette Senior Staff|
|Tuesday, 13 September 2011 20:44|
When you can flick a switch as fast as the ISU football team’s offense can switch between its wide receivers, it is easy to throw opposing defenses off.
For the Redbirds, the switch does not read on or off, but instead it is labeled go-to receiver No. 1 and go-to receiver No. 2.
ISU senior Marvon Sanders and junior Tyrone Walker make up a formidable one-two (or two-one) punch for Redbird quarterback Matt Brown to choose from, and the duo has put up monster numbers in ISU’s first two games this season.
To Sanders, the Redbirds’ options at receiver take much of the pressure off him on game day.
“If [Walker] starts out hot and then they clue in on him that’s just going to take pressure off of me,” Sanders said. “That’s basically what we feed off of.”
Sanders and Walker feasted on Saturday against Morehead State by gobbling up the Eagles’ defense for 247 combined yards and four touchdown grabs.
In the first half it was all Sanders as the senior wide out snatched three Brown passes for 106 yards and a score. Walker was limited to just one catch for a 10-yard touchdown, but the switch flicked in Walker’s favor coming out of the locker room in the second half.
In the third quarter alone, Walker beat the MSU secondary for 46 and 64-yard touchdown plays to give the Redbirds a big lead and open eyes to a double-edged sword on the ISU offense.
“From my vantage point, it’s much easier when Marvon has caught six passes and they start going to guard Marvon,” Walker said. “You start to feel like you don’t exist and then that’s when you want to take the game over.”
Walker finished with three catches for 120 yards and three touchdowns, and Sanders wound up with four grabs for 127 yards and a score to lead the Redbirds to a 52-21 trouncing of the Eagles at Hancock Stadium.
But according to ISU’s top-two receivers, it is not what happens on game day that makes the Redbird receiving core a force, but instead it is during the week in practice that builds the chemistry and confidence that the ‘Birds possess.
“Practice really makes perfect,” Sanders said. “You practice hard and then you lead by example. If you’ve got two leaders that can have good practice habits, following them is easy for everybody else.”
Although the work ethic is there for a talented group of receivers including redshirt freshman Lechein Neblett and sophomore Matt Younger, the Redbird receiving core likes to keep things loose during practices at Hancock Stadium.
Walker poked fun at his 5-foot-9, 175-pound counterpart when asked what Sanders’ biggest attribute to the Redbirds was.
“Probably his height and his length and his stride,” Walker said with a laugh.
But on a serious note, Walker looked past Sanders’ small stature to note his biggest quality to the Redbirds on the field and in the locker room.
“Marvon’s biggest asset is not him, it’s what’s inside of him,” Walker said. “Marvon brings a lot of energy that a lot of people feed off of. His biggest asset is not what he brings athletically; it’s how he brings everybody else out.”
But no matter how high ISU’s offensive confidence is, Walker and Sanders both know the importance of working as a unit each week to prepare for Saturday game days.
The first major test comes on Saturday when the Redbirds travel to Youngstown, Ohio, to face the Youngstown State Penguins in ISU’s first Missouri Valley Football Conference game of the season.
“Yeah we had a good weekend last week, but we want to be flawless,” Walker said. “We go back into work everyday.”
Whether the Redbirds look to Sanders or Walker to lead the way in the receiving game, the options are always bright. Because either way you look at it, the switch is on for ISU.