October 9, 2009
Hill becoming a bigger part of the offense
Stephen Hill, a freshman from Lithonia, Georgia has been getting more playing time the last few weeks and he has responded with solid performances against both North Carolina and Mississippi State. The talent that he showed during fall practice was on full display last weekend against the Bulldogs. Hill scored his first career touchdown on a reverse play that he took 24 yards to the house.
According to Hill, "When the pitch came my eyes lit up. Once I caught it, I saw Bay-Bay blocking downfield and I know that nobody can get around Bay-Bay. I got into the end zone and really did not think about anything until everybody started jumping. That's when I realized that this was a big moment for me."
Hill also made an important 53-yard reception late in the game last week on Tech's last touchdown drive to put the game out of reach. He had one-on-one coverage with the cornerback deep down the field and quarterback Josh Nesbitt just threw the ball up so that Hill had a chance to make a play on the ball. Hill got in great position to make the catch and then used his body well to shield the defender from the ball.
Hill cites the ability to use his large frame against defenders as one of his best attributes. He says, "I learned how to box people out from playing basketball in high school and that really helped out. Coach Johnson called my number and he wanted me to get the ball at that time, so I had to make a play."
The true freshman is still learning every week, but Hill is gaining confidence now that he has some experience in the offense. He states, "I am feeling a lot more comfortable and my confidence level has gone up a lot. Coach Johnson is a very smart man and he knows when to call the right plays."
He also recognizes that there are some areas in his game that still need improvement. When asked about specifics he responded, "Working on getting off the jam block at the line of scrimmage and improving my cut blocking downfield."
Hill also benefits by playing with Demaryius Thomas, who currently leads the ACC in receiving yards per game. Thomas is also one of the best blockers on the team and is a great example of the explosive potential out of the wide receiver position in the offense.
When asked about Thomas, Hill replied, "I learn a lot from just watching him and how he plays in games, especially when I am on the sidelines. Even though I need to know what to run I still watch him to see the things that he does and build off of that."
Hill looks to be a very promising player and he should only continue to improve as the season moves along. He has natural ability as a true receiver and once he has mastered his blocking reads, the sky is the limit for him. Establishing a second dependable receiver is also important for Nesbitt so that he does not need to look for Bay-Bay every time down the field.
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