By John Helsley
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Dana Holgorsen has made clear his search for reliable wide receivers to make his spread special.
Operating with four wideouts at a time most of the time, Holgorsen’s push centers on a need for eight who can play: four starters and four backups. Coming up fast on game week, Holgorsen has identified his eight, with a surprise or two.
The starters: Justin Blackmon and Isaiah Anderson outside, Tracy Moore and Josh Cooper inside.
The backups: Bo Bowling and Colton Chelf outside, Justin Horton and Michael Harrison inside.
What, no Hubert Anyiam? Not yet. Anyiam’s continued comeback from foot surgery leaves him operating somewhere around 75 percent. And for Holgorsen, that’s not good enough, leaving Anyiam on the third team, joining freshmen Kevin Johnson and Chris Dinkins as part of the next wave.
“If we have a Hubert Anyiam or one of the two young kids, Kevin Johnson and Chris Dinkins, if one of those guys get to a point that they can crack the two deep, then we’ll rep them,” Holgorsen said. “But we’re not going to waste time repping those guys while Weeden’s out there.”
Holgorsen seems solid, if not completely sold on his crew of receivers. And for good reason. They’re unproven in this style of offense, even the guys like Blackmon and Moore and Cooper and Anyiam, who played a year ago.
This isn’t anything new for Holgorsen, who experienced similar unknowns in his first season at Houston in 2008. And things turned out OK there, with the Cougars ranking second nationally in passing offense and total offense.
Holgorsen can only hope this transition goes as smooth.
“It’s similar,” he said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty, everyone knows that. I’d like to tell you that we’re going be fine in specific spots and everything’s going to be fine, but until you throw it out there and you play in a live game situation, there’s going to be some questions that need to be answered.
“I feel good about a couple people. There’s a whole bunch of things that are a big mystery at this point.”