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WVU receiving corps loaded

by Joedy McCreary


(August 30) MORGANTOWN -- For West Virginia University receivers Shawn Foreman and David Saunders, football practice feels like a Peaches and Herb song. After not playing together competitively since the 1997 Gator Bowl, Foreman and Saunders are reunited.

And it feels so good.

"Just getting back out there with Shawn will be great," Saunders said. "(Practice) is special because it will be our last time together."

Saunders (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) missed the 1997 season after a well-chronicled knee injury during preseason camp.

That injury threw the burden of WVU's receiving game on Foreman (6-1, 205). But he responded in style with a school-record 77 receptions last year.

Saunders, WVU's leading receiver in 1996, said he was about 98.5 percent healthy during preseason drills this year after rehabilitation that he described as "hell."

And Foreman said his partner hasn't fallen off from his 1996 season, one which Saunders capped by earning Gator Bowl MVP honors.

Spelling Foreman and Saunders will be juniors Pat Greene (6-2, 190) and Khori Ivy (6-2, 190).

Greene had a Mountaineer Field-record 205 receiving yards on 12 catches in the Pittsburgh loss. And Ivy caught 19 balls before breaking his ankle in the loss to Syracuse.

True freshman Antonio Brown has also shown flashes, though head coach Don Nehlen said Brown still has to learn the playbook.

Even though WVU has lots of "big-play" talent, there will still be enough action to make everybody happy, the receivers say.

"Any one of those guys has the ability to make big plays, and that's going to help your offense," Foreman said. "We have confidence in everybody. Every time Marc throws the ball, he's throwing to a guy that has the ability to make a big play."

In years past, Nehlen has shied away from throwing the ball all over Mountaineer Field.

But with Bulger's experience and several play-makers at receiver, WVU will show some three and four-wideout sets.

"(Bulger is) a veteran now," Foreman said. "He knows how to get the ball in the right guys' hands. If you have a high-powered offense and a great quarterback, the sky's the limit for the offense."

The Mountaineer receiving corps could be the best in school history, WVU receivers coach Doc Holliday said.

But that's meaningless unless the four wideouts put it all together on the field, he said.

Talk about giving your receivers an inferiority complex.

"We know how good we are, but we really can't get caught up in that," Foreman said. "We have to prove ourselves day in and day out."

The high stakes of the Sept. 5 opener with No. 1 Ohio State made preseason camp bearable, Foreman said.

"We have so much at stake. We have a good group of seniors, that camaraderie around us," Foreman said. "As long as we can do that, we can be a great team."