Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

November 15, 2012

Stillwater Sports Minute: Struggles not uncommon for NFL rookies

STILLWATER — Given the choice of making millions of dollars or staying in college, most people would chose the cash over the class.

But right about now, former Oklahoma State wide receiver and current Jacksonville Jaguar Justin Blackmon is probably wishing he was back in Stillwater playing in front of a sea of orange.

“It’s not uncommon for rookies to struggle in their first year,” said Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who used to coach the Jacksonville receivers before coming to Stillwater. “A lot of it comes through the conditioning and stuff that they put you through. These guys have to be in better shape because the game moves faster and the players are better.”

So far this season Blackmon has 26 receptions for 250 yards and a touchdown — well below the 122 catches for 1,522 yards and 18 touchdowns he had in Oklahoma State’s pass-happy offense.

That doesn’t mean Blackmon will become a major bust for the Jaguars. In fact, Monken he will actually become one of the best receivers in the NFL within the next few years.

“He’s a guy that they’re going to throw the ball to a lot,” Monken said. “It’s just like when we see kids come up from high school to college. At first, it takes some time for them to get used to everything. But by the time they’re seniors, they’re familiar with our system and the slows down for them.”

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