One of the tricks of the trade in learning to play wide receiver is fending off aggressive play from cornerbacks and linebackers on the line of scrimmage. One reason Dwight Jones has emerged in 2010 as a go-to guy has been his ability to initiate contact with defensive players and not get derailed from his intended pass route.
Jones, a junior from Burlington, has played more this year than any year so far and has caught 23 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns.
"One of the things we do on offense is seek contact," says offensive coordinator John Shoop. "You're either the hammer or the nail in this game. Just because you're on offense, doesn't always mean you're the nail. Dwight does a really good job seeking contact on slant routes and things. He'll go run-block a guy for three steps, throw him down and go get open."
Shoop pointed to Jones' 20-yard TD reception from T.J. Yates late in the first quarter of the Virginia game as an example of Jones beating off a cornerback's aggressive coverage, getting open and receiving the pass.
"Last year, T.J. wouldn't have gotten that pass off," Shoop says. "Dwight wouldn't have been open. The defender would have gotten the best of him. We've been beated up at receiver some this year. We've preached being physical and not letting guys push you around. Dwight has taken that to heart."