UMass football freshman WR Tajae Sharpes FBI the reason hell see playing time http://w w w .masslive.com/umassfootball/index.ssf/2012/08/umass_football_freshman_w r_taj.html
August 26, 2012
Michael Beswick AMHERST — Often times with wide receivers, we notice the physical skills. Whether it’s the sheer size and speed combination of a Calvin Johnson, or the elusiveness and hands of a Wes Welker, more often than not, receivers are defined by what can be seen and measured. For University of Massachusetts freshman wide receiver Tajae Sharpe, it’s nothing physical that’s setting him apart. Instead, according to coaches it’s an innate understanding of coach Charley Molnar’s somewhat complex offense. “It’s very, very uncanny for a freshman to understand the game of football as well as he does,” Molnar said. “He knows Tajae Sharpe blasts through a hole and heads down field at practice at McGuirk Stadium. the offense as well as guys that have been with us since spring ball.” He apparently knows it well enough to have earned himself serious consideration for a starting spot. Sharpe said after Wednesday’s final scrimmage that he had primarily taken snaps with the No. 1 offense. Sharpe comes to the Minutemen from Piscataway (N.J.) High School, a program familiar to Molnar, who is a New Jersey native and has spent plenty of time recruiting the state. Wide receivers coach Allen Suber praised the football education Sharpe received at Piscataway, citing his football intelligence, or as he refers to it, FBI, as the main reason Sharpe will see playing time in his first year on campus. “Whoever was his high school coach did a great job with him. I didn’t have a chance to meet him, but he has a very big FBI for a high school kid,” Suber said. “That’s what separates being able to play early — being able to grasp the playbook. “ Sharpe said his hands were among his strong points as a player, and Molnar said that toughness was another area where the 6’1, 175-pounder excelled. “He’s got above average hands and he’s fearless. He’ll go after the football wherever it’s thrown,” Molnar said. “(Piscataway) is a real tough program, tough league that they play in. He didn’t just play wide receiver and never have any contact. I guarantee you that he’s been getting knocked around since probably junior high.”
Of course with all of that being said, as Suber walked away from an interview, he threw in one last comment. “It doesn’t hurt that he’s fast,” he said with a smile. DEPTH CHART POTENTIALLY RELEASED THURSDAY Molnar said after practice that a tentative depth chart for the UConn game was likely to be released once he and his staff had finished watching film on Wednesday’s final scrimmage. Molnar said earlier in the week that the only starting spot he was unsure of (other than special teams) was left guard, where true freshman Michael Boland and redshirt freshman John Wallace are battling it out. Another spot that Molnar mentioned was in flux was back up tight end, but that isn’t the case anymore, as redshirt freshman Brandon Howard will be out for the UConn game with a shoulder injury. Molnar said that he was unsure of when Howard could return. Converted wide receiver Derek Beck will take over the No. 2 tight end spot. CAMP OFFICIALLY ENDS THURSDAY Molnar said that the “fall camp” portion of the preseason would officially conclude with Thursday morning’s practice, and that players would be given a day off from practice Friday. The team opens the season next Thursday, Aug. 30 against UConn in East Hartford, Conn.