Football

Position change going more smoothly than Kinder expected

On Tuesday, John Kinder made a bit of a stir when he lined up at wide receiver, donning a green jersey. Shuffled down in the quarterback depth chart, he made the change.

It’s no experiment, he said.

“This is it. And make note mistakes about it,” he said, “I did this change to get on the field.”

After almost one week, the transition has been even smoother than he could have imagined. He already knew the playbook, so that hasn’t been an issue, and he actually practiced a bit at wide receiver during his freshman season.

That time, it was a foreign concept.

“Kind of like learning Chinese,” he said.

He had never played the position before, but now that he’s seen it played up close at the college level, it’s become easier.

During his freshman year, though, it almost got him on the field. He said it wasn’t as a true wide receiver, but in some sort of package that could make use of his legs with the lingering threat of his arm. At that time, though, he said he wasn’t ready.

“I feel like my time here, being that I’ve seen a lot of football, I’ve had the pleasure of watching guys like Marcus Sales and Alec Lemon do it, being in the film room,” Kinder said. “I feel like this time around I’m a lot more comfortable.”

He’s primarily lined up in the slot during his brief time as a wideout. There, his thinner build, sufficient length and big hands could let him make plays underneath and in the middle of the field.

Kinder will have one season of eligibility remaining after this season. Even if he doesn’t have an immediate effect, there could be some time in the future where he can, largely thanks to his work ethic.

“He works harder than 90 percent of people out there,” quarterbacks coach Tim Lester said Saturday, “so getting him to a position where he probably has a more realistic chance of helping this ball club — that’s all he wants to do is help this team.”

His familiarity with the rest of the wide receiver corps has helped, too. When he was calling the plays in the huddle, he was the one instructing his weapons.

“Now they’re helping me out,” Kinder said.

There haven’t been any bumps yet in terms of knowing the playbook. It’s now just about learning to excel at a position that he never has for an extended period of time.

As a freshman, it was an experiment. Now it’s for real, and he has to learn what it takes to make a wide receiver great.

Said Kinder: “It’s just a matter of coming into my own in terms of being a wide receiver and those little intricacies about the position.”

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