March 28, 2011
SPRING FOOTBALL '11: New WRs coach Terrence Samuel
EAST LANSING - If Terrence Samuel has anything to say about it, Michigan State's wide receivers are going to be the best in the Big Ten.
As the newest member of Spartans' football coaching staff, Samuel will be the first wide receivers-only coach on fifth-year head coach Mark Dantonio's staff since his arrival four seasons ago from Cincinnati.
Samuel, a former Purdue wide receiver from 1991-94, is a 13-year veteran of the coaching game and spent last season at Central Michigan on the staff of former MSU assistant Dan Enos.
He said the chance to get back to the Big Ten as a coach after just one season at CMU was just too good to pass up.
"To get a chance to work back in the Big Ten is a blessing, it's huge,'' Samuel said. "I come from the Big Ten and there's no other place I'd rather be. I really feel good about the place I'm in right now, knowledge-wise and what I bring to the table for the players, to the coaching staff and hopefully, to the team in general. I think it's a place where I can definitely make a difference. The bottom line for me is always, have passion about what you do.''
And his coaching style, definitely 'hands on.'
"I want to make sure I know them inside and out, personally,'' Samuel said. "I want them to get to know me, I want them to get to know my family, I want to know them and I want to know their families. You can't be detached from the players, you've got to get to know them, you have to have a relationship with them and I want them to feel comfortable with coming to me.''
Prior to his arrival in Mount Pleasant, Samuel served on the coaching staffs of Nebraska-Omaha, Southeast Missouri State, North Dakota State and Arizona.
During his stays at Southeast Missouri State and North Dakota State, he worked strictly as the wide receivers coach.
Where MSU stands to gain an advantage at the wide receiver position by adding Samuel, not only comes from his playing and coaching the wide receiver position but in the fact that he also has coached on the other side of the ball, working as the defensive backs coach for two seasons (2003-04) during his first of two stints at Nebraska-Omaha.
His previous work coaching the secondary gives him a perspective he feels he can pass on to MSU's veteran receiving corps, which is led by seniors Keith Nichol, B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and sophomore Bennie Fowler.
"My experience working on the defense, I think helps. They (MSU's receivers) know the offense. The offense has been set, it's just continuing to give them the experience and the perspective of what the defense does,'' said Samuel, who has also served as an offensive and special teams coordinator during his previous coaching stints.
Although Samuel will be handling an experienced group of receivers that averaged 236.4 yards a game last season, finishing third in the Big Ten, he feels MSU's pass catchers can take their games to an even higher level of performance as MSU seeks to defend its Big Ten title.
"It's about truly understanding the strength, the weakness and the technique that's being played and when to pick on that,'' he said. "Those things that I was critiquing those DBs on when I was coaching the DBs is now easier coming back and teaching that wide receiver. That once you see that type of technique (from the defensive back), here's the wounded animal and we've got to get him.''
As a matter of fact Samuel has already started to implement some of his philosophies about the position after watching MSU's receivers on film.
"The biggest thing is to continue to build on what Coach Tread has already done,'' Samuel said. "In the Big Ten, you've got to have big, strong physical receivers. The biggest thing we have to work with these guys on is getting out of breaks and that's a continuing process for any wide receiver. Learning the most efficient way to get out of a break, assessing the defense and getting out of that break in the best possible way.
"Everything's in layers. That first layer is understanding the coverage, the technique that's being played and then going into how you're going to get out of that break and maximize your separation to get some room.''
Samuel will also be emphasizing the idea of building a complete receiver in the Spartans offense.
"I tell my receivers all of the time, '90 percent of the time you may not be carrying the ball, but you can escort that ball to the endzone. So being physical and leading the way for whoever that ball carrier might be is something that I think a lot of wide receivers in the Big Ten have bought into, that physical aspect of it. I want to continue to make sure that my guys make plays. I want to increase their football IQ, while still teaching them to be more efficient, more sound and getting in and out of their cuts. And that equates into easy catches.''
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