Penn State might not have settled on a quarterback yet, but there's no doubt who the eventual starting signal-caller's favorite target will be. Derek Moye has firmly established himself as Penn State's top receiver and as one of the best in the Big Ten.
While Moye's name has been all over preseason awards lists, he says the Nittany Lions' wideouts are more than just one man.
"A lot of people out there, whether it be media or fans or whatever, are kind of disrespecting some of other receivers besides myself," Moye said. "A lot of people believe I'm the only capable receiver here, and that's not the case at all. We have a lot of talent. And if teams playing us are thinking like that, then we're going to make them pay."
Moye says we need to watch out for Justin Brown, who had a breakout season as a sophomore before struggling mightily in the Outback Bowl. Brown, Moye says, has used that bowl experience to push himself harder than ever. Small but lightning fast Devon Smith is a threat, too, and Penn State hopes Curtis Drake can come back from another injury.
Still, the unquestioned leader of the group is Moye. He proved his big-play ability last season with 53 catches for 885 yards and eight touchdowns, finishing second in the league with a 16.7-yards per catch average. The 6-foot-5 senior is a difficult matchup for any cornerback because of his speed and leaping ability. Moye had 775 receiving yards in 2009 and is clearly trending upward as he approaches his final season. A 1,000-yard campaign seems well within reach.
"To be honest, that's definitely a goal of mine," he said. "At the same time, if I get 500 yards and we're undefeated, it's no big deal to me. I'm a team player first and an individual second. If we're 7-6 and I have 1,000 yards, I don't really want that."
For the Nittany Lions to improve their record, they're going to have to become more consistent and explosive on offense. Right now, they're not even sure whether Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin will be their quarterback. Moye said each guy is getting equal reps in summer workouts and it's not a distraction. But there is occasionally some confusion.
"Sometimes I catch myself expecting a Bolden-type ball when McGloin is in there," Moye said. "But it all comes down to concentrating on the ball and catching it."
Moye said that's one of his big offseason goals. He felt like he dropped a few easy catches last season. He doesn't want to leave any plays out there his senior year as he hopefully leads a much better offense.
"We've got a lot more experience and guys who are used to being on the field in big situations now as an offense," he said. "We're expecting a whole lot this year. If we don't go out there and produce, it will be a big disappointment to us."