- Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN DIEGO – Upon his arrival at Chargers Park, rookie receiver Tevin Reese was greeted with something he’d never had to deal with in his football playing career – a phone-book thick playbook.
At Baylor, the speedy receiver did not use a playbook under head coach Art Briles. Instead, Briles and his assistants taught his team’s up-tempo offense through a lot of repetitions on the field and film study on an iPad.
It worked, with Baylor averaging a Football Bowl Subdivision-best 52.4 points per game in 2013.
Although a little daunting at first, Reese says he’s slowly getting comfortable in San Diego’s complex offense.
“The first couple weeks was probably just out of this world, with all of these plays coming at me at one time,” Reese said. “I never had a playbook my whole life. But just studying the playbook and being around the vets, they are teaching me the ropes. I’m starting to get it, and it’s becoming second nature.”
Helping in that transition for Reese has been another young receiver, second-year pro Keenan Allen.
“I try to make him feel as comfortable as possible,” Allen said. “I know that was my problem when I came in, I wasn’t as comfortable as I wanted to be. So you tend to make mistakes, you tend to think too much. So I just try to calm him down, make sure they’re playing their game and they feel comfortable.”
What Reese brings to San Diego’s offense is explosiveness. Reese set a school record and led the NCAA with 21 career touchdowns of 40-plus yards.
Reese said he patterns his game after another explosive playmaker in the NFL – electrifying return man Ted Ginn Jr.
Reese has not worked on the field as a returner since high school. But like riding a bike, Reese says he’s more comfortable catching returns in practice.
At 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, Reese also knows he has to put on more weight in order to handle the pounding he will take in the NFL. However, Reese does not shy away from contact. He was a 140-pound tight end in high school, using cut blocks to take down defensive ends and linebackers in the run game.
“I’ve always been small my whole life, and I’ve found a way to make it work,” Reese said. “And I’m still going to do that in the NFL.
“You can’t tackle what you can’t catch, and that’s what I live by.”
One thing Reese will have to do is consistently beat press coverage – with bigger cornerbacks attempting to negate his speed by slowing him down at the line of scrimmage. But the confident Reese believes he can win those one-on-one battles with proper technique.
“Beating press isn’t all about being big and strong – a lot of technique comes into play,” he said. “So if you have great technique, you can’t beat anybody at press off the line. So once I beat the press, it’s kind of hard to catch up to me.”
Reese said he saw a lot of press at Baylor, and was able to beat press coverage with shiftiness, technique and speed.
“He’s amazingly fast,” Allen said. “He can go. To see him run is amazing, and when he catches the ball, he’s gone. He’s a great pickup.”