It remains to be seen who will be taking the majority of snaps for Cornell football this season, but he — or they — will be counting on a diverse crew of wide receivers and tight ends to catch the football.
Cornell could use a boost from their receiving corps this year; the Red’s passing game saw a sharp decline in touchdowns last year, scoring just seven as a team, compared to 19 the year before.
While a multi-quarterback system can stymie an offense’s tempo, head coach David Archer ‘05 is brushing off concerns that a having more than one signal caller could detract from good connections with the wideouts.
“I think [QB/WR relationships will] come naturally because we’ve repped it that way,” Archer said. “All spring practice every kid was getting reps, all of camp everyone was getting reps.”
Like at the quarterback and running back positions, Archer is looking to use his team’s depth and variety at wide receiver to his advantage.
“You’re going to see a lot of guys play,” Archer said. “Travel squad may change week to week.”
One such guy, and perhaps the top target, will likely be sophomore Eric Gallman, who got off to a hot start in two games last year only to see his freshman season end due to injury after his second game.
“He’s a talented kid, there’s no doubt about that,” Archer said of Gallman, who caught 12 passes in an abbreviated freshman season, good enough for one touchdown and 133 yards.
Archer added that Gallman, who will also see time as a kick returner, is day-to-day but hopeful to play in the season-opener Saturday at Delaware.
Along with Gallman, Archer hopes senior Lars Pedersen can inject some grit into the passing game and put in work on running plays as well.
“Pedersen is such an unselfish, great team guy,” Archer said. “Every receiver loves to catch balls and he does, too, but he’ll block if you ask him to block.”
Six-foot-five senior and converted quarterback Garrett Cloer will see significant time, as well as returning sophomore Owen Peters, who led the team in receptions last season with 34, along with junior Davy Lizana, who started the first two games last season.
“They all kind of give you something different, depending on the play you want to do,” Archer said of his wideouts. “And that’s exciting.”
The wideouts will have to do it without James Hubbard ’18, who led the team in receiving yards last season, as well as Collin Shaw ’18, who’s No. 14 on Cornell’s all-time receiving yards list.
At tight end, the Red will show more size. Archer plans on using a junior trio of John Fitzgerald at six-foot-four, Nic Canal at six-foot-five and Tommy McIntyre at a towering six-foot-eight.
“When you see [McIntyre] it’s just like ‘Oh man,’” Archer said.
It all comes back to Archer trying to keep his team healthy and deep this season.
“We were playing true freshmen in probably one of the most critical games last year, at home against Columbia to keep ourselves in the race,” Archer said. “To prevent that from happening again we’re going to need the whole team.”
Correction: Nic Canal, not Jake Canal, is the Red’s six-foot-five tight end.