Veteran Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco credited Tampa Bay wide receivers coach Eric Yarber with the foundation for his NFL success. Ochocinco, who was coached by Yarber at Oregon State in 2000, says the Bucs' young wide receivers will rapidly develop due to Yarber.
Although he only received one year of coaching from Eric Yarber, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco said it laid the foundation for his NFL success and indicated that the Buccaneers young wide receivers will be ahead of the curve because of him. After spending two years in the JUCO ranks, Ochocinco transferred to Oregon State in 2000 where he and T.J. Houshmandzadeh received excellent tutelage from Yarber, who is in his first year coaching Tampa Bay’s wide receivers.
“Man, Coach Yarber is one of the reasons for all my success,” Ochocinco said. “He really molded me and let me know what it would be like once I got where I am now. To have him to sort of put that concrete in the foundation of me being an NFL receiver is what I remember about him being at Oregon State. I really enjoyed it. I’m really grateful to not only have Eric Yarber but Dennis Erickson my one year at Oregon State with them having NFL credibility.”
Johnson went on to become a second-round pick in the 2001 draft and caught 28 passes for 329 yards (11.8 avg.) and a touchdown during his rookie season before breaking out in 2002 with 69 receptions for 1,166 yards (16.9 avg.) and five scores in his second NFL season.
“When I got to Cincinnati I was ahead of the curve big time,” Ochocinco said. “I know Coach Yarber put me ahead of the curve and allowed me to develop a lot faster than I should have not having the four years of college that most receivers get in college. Look what I’ve done with four months at a Division 1-A school to his point in the NFL with no complete Division 1-A background. Coach Yarber is one of the reasons for that.”
In January, Yarber was hired to replace veteran wide receivers coach Richard Mann after a poor showing by wide receivers Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton – neither of which is currently on an NFL team. Yarber, who was a wide receiver for three years with the Washington Redskins from 1986-88, has a long track record of coaching receivers, including stints with UNLV (1997), Oregon State (2000-02), the San Francisco 49ers (2003-04), the University of Washington (2005-06) and Arizona State (2007-09) before coming to Tampa Bay.
The departure of Bryant in the offseason and the release of Clayton and Reggie Brown in the preseason left Maurice Stovall, who is in his fifth year, as Tampa Bay’s lone veteran receiver. Micheal Spurlock is in his third NFL season and Sammie Stroughter is in his second year, but neither has established himself in the league.
As a result, Yarber is charged with the development of a very young receiving corps headlined by 2010 draft picks Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn and featuring fellow rookie Preston Parker. Williams, who is Tampa Bay’s starting split end, already has 12 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while Benn will be splitting snaps with Stroughter as the Bucs’ flanker.
Ochocinco said that the presence of Yarber will accelerate the learning curve for Williams, Benn and the Bucs’ young wide receiving corps.
“They are going to be fine,” Ochocinco said. “From what I’ve seen, they are probably ahead of the curve anyway having someone like Yarber coaching them.”
Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris is thrilled with the job Yarber has done with the team's young wideouts.
"Eric Yarber has been around a lot of great wideouts," Morris said. "He's been around both of the guys at the Bengals. He's coached T.O. (Terrell Owens), he's coached Chad and he's coached [T.J.] Houshmandzadeh. He's coached a lot of guys coming through that program. He knows how to do it with young talent. He knows how to coach them. He knows how to get them going. He knows how to keep them motivated. He's a highly energetic guy. ... He does a nice job with our young group of wideouts and he's remaining young through that."
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