Thursday, September 29, 2011
Owusu, Hewitt yack about their YAC
By Kevin Gemmell
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- By all appearances, the surprise from wide receiver Chris Owusu and fullback Ryan Hewitt was genuine. Which leads us to believe that neither of these guys knew about their stats -- or didn't really care that much about them.
When Owusu was informed that of his 227 receiving yards, 133 yards had come after the catch, he flashed a smile and said, "Dang, that's nice."
Hewitt was a little less animated -- as fullbacks tend to be. Of his 105 receiving yards, 85 have come after the catch.
"Really?" was his reaction.
Even offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was a little taken aback by their numbers.
"Wow," said Hamilton. "Well, Chris is a dynamic player. He's explosive. We need to find more ways to get him the ball. Ryan's not your traditional fullback."
Quarterback Andrew Luck has thrown for 786 yards in the first three games of the season -- and 440 of them have come after the catch.
"Breaking tackles is more instinctive," said Hamilton. "The one thing our coaches reinforce every day in practice, even in warm-ups, is that every time you catch the ball, let's get in the habit of turning up in your shadow and exploding and giving us a good 15-yard burst. It becomes a habit and as a result it should carry over into the game."
Hewitt has proven that he's more than a typical fullback. He came into Stanford as a tight end before being re-assigned to the backfield. He prides himself on being more than just a straight-ahead blocker.
"When I came in as a tight end, I thought I was pretty good at it," Hewitt said with a snicker. "I want to embody both. I like being the traditional fullback that will block, but also a guy who is able to go out and catch some passes."
Owusu said it's something he's been focusing on more this year.
"I think it's part instinctual," he said. "Sometimes you just have to feel where the defender is at. If you can't see them, you just hope you can make them miss. You always want to think you're one contact away from breaking the big one.
"I pride myself on the yards after the catch. The coaching staff expects us to be explosive and do what we can to get that extra field position."
He also got a good laugh about the fact that Hewitt was close on his heels for YAC leader.
"That's hilarious," Owusu said. "But that guy's got hands. He finds a way to get open and he makes it look easy."