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USF receiver Love wants to build on strong 2007 finish


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Love is in the air!  ;D

sophomore, receiver

USF receiver Love wants to build on strong 2007 finish

By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer

In print: Thursday, August 28, 2008

C4S_usfsleeper08280_35626d.jpeg

[uSF]

Sophomore receiver A.J. Love, right, hopes to build on a strong finish to last season.

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TAMPA — USF returns five of its top six receivers from last season, so it'd take an incredible performance to see a breakout year at such an entrenched position.

That's just what Bulls coaches expect from sophomore A.J. Love.

The 6-foot-2 receiver from Bradenton didn't get his first career reception until USF's ninth game last season — and lost a fumble on that play — but Love finished the year strong, totaling eight catches for 111 yards.

USF's final touchdown of the season — in the fourth quarter of a humbling 56-21 loss to Oregon in the Sun Bowl — was Love's first, and he hopes to open 2008 the way he finished last season.

"I just wanted to be bigger, faster and stronger," Love said of his offseason priorities. "I wanted to become a student of the game, so I've been watching a lot more film. … It's been showing out on the field."

Love said he is "100 times" more comfortable in USF's offense than last fall, enough so that he's getting work at multiple receiver positions. Offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said Love "has probably been our best receiver all preseason and during the spring," and receivers coach Mike Canales said the progress encompasses all aspects of his game.

"He's having the best camp of all the guys. He's really stepped up," Canales said. "His mentality has changed, his whole demeanor. He's brought a more physical presence to his play."

Love was a late addition to USF's recruiting class in summer 2006 after catching only nine passes as a senior at Bradenton Southeast. Two years later, he's poised for stardom but humble at the same time.

"I love everything about USF," Love said. "I just want to play to the best of my ability, make at least one big play each game and do whatever I can to help my team win a Big East championship."

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

http://www.tampabay.com/sports/college/article786487.ece

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A big year by A.J. will get lots of media play below the bay which won't hurt recruiting in this hotbed.

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If we have a sure-handed big money receiver this season and ONE of our RBs break out, we'll be unstoppaBULL.

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LOADS of talent down south of the bay in Bradenton/Sarasota so if we can get Love and Ford to be STARS here, we'd see a HUGE gain in our ability to recruit SERIOUS skill players down there.  It's insane some of the players that have come out of Sarasota, Southeast, Manatee etc. over the years.

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Hope he breaks out against Tenn-Martin, he was my pick in the prediction contest.

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Hope he breaks out against Tenn-Martin, he was my pick in the prediction contest.

Same here.

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Real excited about this crew's potential.

Love is exciting.

Our WR's need to fight for YAC's also ... that will set them apart from their peers.

Go BULLS !!!

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Hopefully he is the real deal. Im disappointed in Carlton Mitchell...I was expecting him to be the feature wideout coming into this season.

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We haven't even played a down ...  ???

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Hopefully he is the real deal. Im disappointed in Carlton Mitchell...I was expecting him to be the feature wideout coming into this season.

Mitchell is a STUD, he'll be fine.  I think what you're going to see is we won't be keying on a guy in an effort to keep the defense honest to hopefully give us the best chance on a given play for Matt to find someone WIDE OPEN.

The key to all of this is Matt being able to have the time and make the right decision.  It would be better for Matt to have 4 guys who are good in equal talent than 1 stud and a pretty big drop off so he doesn't "lock on" to someone no matter what.  I think he forced a lot of throws last year to TJ and AJ when many times other guys were open. 

Mitchell has too much speed not to catch his fair share of deep balls...you can bet on that...

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