Kansas OC/WR coach Doug Meacham explains the traits of each letter in the receiver alphabet


Kansas offensive coordinator Doug Meacham works with the receivers during practice on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

Kansas offensive coordinator Doug Meacham works with the receivers during practice on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. by Nick Krug

The ability to communicate in terms that are easy to understand is a trait successful coaches in all sports share.

First-year Kansas offensive coordinator/receivers coach Doug Meacham does a nice job of sifting through the alphabet soup that comes with spread offenses favored by so many college football coaches to explain the ideal traits of players at each of the four receiver positions.

Outside receivers are X and Z and inside receivers are H and Y.

“X is your super fast, post guy,” Meacham said. “H is your punt return (type), quick-twitchy guy. Y is the other inside guy. He’s your bigger, more physical, bang off 'backers, safeties guy and Z is probably your best overall, do everything guy: (Texas Tech's) Michael Crabtree, Justin Blackmon and Dez Bryant (both Oklahoma State), (TCU's) Josh Doctson.”

By the end of the spring, the top of the Kansas depth chart had Steven Sims at X, LaQuvionte Gonzalez at H, Ryan Schadler at Y and Daylon Charlot at Z. Gonzalez, by the way, spent much of the spring working with third-stringers but worked his way back to the top.

Typically, when a tight end or second running back is on the field, one of the inside receivers comes out of the game.

Does playing receiver in the Air Raid offense require a higher football IQ than in other offenses?

“Not if you’re really fast,” Meacham said.

Good point.

“The inside guys, there are a lot more little details of it. Outside guys, it’s a little simpler because you’re just dealing with corners pretty much all day long,” Meacham said. “The inside guys, it can be a nickel, it can be a safety rolling down on you, it can be a linebacker. There are a lot of different variations and looks you can get in there and you have to see a lot more of the rotation of the coverage than just routes.”

Tyler Patrick had a solid spring and supplies depth as an inside receiver.

Meacham explained what it takes to be an outside receiver.

“It’s not quite as stringent mentally, probably, but you have to be longer and you have to be a fast guy who when you get single coverage, you can throw the fade and score. You have to have those kinds of guys somewhere.”

Long, fast Chase Harrell had an impressive spring game and could be on the verge of a break-through season at outside receiver.

"Usually, what it comes down to is your best receiver catches the most balls," Meacham said. "I've had an H receiver that's had 100-plus catches. I've had a Z that's had 120-some catches in a year. I've had Ys that caught over a hundred a year."


Jim Stauffer 1 year, 2 months ago

My real concern is whether we get wrapped up in what this offense is typically and forget to tailor it to our top talent. One kid who simply has not been used sufficiently is Ben Johnson. He finds it easy to get open. He has good hands and usually gets yac. They used him a lot in the Spring game. I am hopeful he is a consideration in our plans to move the chains. We seemed to be a team who did not have a piece meal game to get 5-7 yards consistently in order to keep the ball, thus way too many 3 and outs last year.

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