Gophers still looking for more from top receiver Rashad Still

Published 8:30 pm Tuesday, August 22, 2017

By Andy Greder

Pioneer Press

Gophers football coaches are calling for more consistency from Rashad Still, whose 36 career receptions are most among Minnesota’s wide receivers.

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With quarterbacks Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda both expected to play in the season opener against Buffalo next Thursday, the duo will be throwing to an inexperienced group of receivers.

After Minnesota’s spring game in April, coach P.J. Fleck addressed the lack of depth, saying Still needed to be the “bell cow” for the passing game. “We are going to throw that guy the ball,” he said.

As fall camp wrapped up Tuesday and preparation for Buffalo begins, Fleck gave an update on his 6-foot-5 junior target.

“Rashad has had kind of an up-and-down training camp,” Fleck said. “He’s had some highs. He’s had some lows. But he’s continued to come back out.

“You see a ton of progress in what he’s making, but what I love is how he responds to the failing,” Fleck added. “That’s what I want to see.”

Besides Still, senior Eric Carter has 33 career receptions, and sophomore Tyler Johnson had 14 catches in 2016. Fleck has heaped praise on Johnson as well as freshmen Demetrius Douglas and Chris Autman-Bell.

Receiver coach Matt Simon, a Farmington native, said consistency will be achieved by Still’s attentiveness.

“Once he locks in and understands not just what he’s running and what his job is, but why he has to do it and why it’s so important for him to focus on the little details, I think that consistency comes in the long term,” Simon said.

“Then the play will take care of itself,” Simon continued. “He’s a guy that wants to go out and work hard, and he wants to be able to do it.”

Still had 18 receptions in each of his first two seasons at Minnesota. He averaged 10.8 yards per catch and had three touchdowns as a freshman, with 19.4 yards per catch and no TDs as a sophomore.