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Penn State Football: Gattis Pleased With Receiver Progression This Season

by on November 06, 2014 4:00 PM

Like just about everything on Penn State's roster, the receiving corps is full of young talent.

Replacing NFL bound target Allen Robinson wasn't nearly as hard as expected, but keeping up the consistency though -- that's the hard part.

"I think they have done a really good job kind of developing themselves and understanding how we want them to play," receivers coach Josh Gattis said on Thursday. "They have stepped up and made some critical plays at times, but I think as the games continue to go on, I think we will continue to grow.

"I don't think we are quite where we need to be. We are heading in the right direction. I'm really proud of the guys developing their confidence and stepping up and making plays. We are a very, very young group. I'm really excited about the future and the direction we are headed in. I really feel like we are going to get better as opportunities continue to present themselves."

There is plenty of reason for Gattis and fans to be excited about the future. DaeSean Hamilton leads all freshman receivers in the nation with 62 receptions for 728 yards and is third in the Big Ten conference overall. Add in Junior Geno Lewis and the likes of Chris Godwin and Saeed Blacknall and you have a talented bunch with even more waiting in the wings.

Things haven't always been easy though. Like the rest of the Nittany Lion offense, there have been ups and downs for the receiving corps. Gattis is happy with how they've handled all the trials and tribulations so far.

"I don't think there is any frustration. I think the kids are developing the right way. If you start off hot (like we did), people are going to try and gameplan against you and show different things to keep the plays in front of them. I think we still have one of the best passing offenses in the Big Ten. ... I don't think there is any frustration. The guys are continuing to develop. Sometimes opportunities present themselves in other ways. Teams have done some things differently."

"One thing about these kids is that they want to win as bad as anybody else wants to win. I think a lot of people need to understand that. They want to win as bad as these coaches want to win and as bad as the fans want to win. It has weighed heavily on our kids these past couple weeks. But they continue to show up each day and work hard and continue to improve. We continue to focus on being the best that we can be and continue to work on the areas that need to be worked on. But our kids have handled it with the utmost respect."

Penn State will get another chance for the young group of offensive targets to move forward this weekend against Indiana. The Nittany Lion defense has been playing well as any in the nation as it waits for the offense to join in on the action. With only four games remaining in the regular season, they have to score two more wins if Penn State wants to go bowling. 

So there's no time like the present to take that next step.

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Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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