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SPOTLIGHT
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Tigers' Albert displays athleticism

Published on -4/13/2012, 10:14 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Second-year coach Chris Brown and the Fort Hays State University coaching staff knew they had three talented quarterbacks in senior Anthony Sheppard, junior transfer Tarean Austin and redshirt freshman Treveon Albert. The Tigers believed Albert was the one they could move to another position because of his athleticism.

Fort Hays had several injuries at wideout with redshirt freshman Garrett Halle hurting his knee and senior Nelson Vazquez bothered with a hamstring. In the last week of spring practice, the Tigers have switched Albert to wide receiver.

"He runs very, very well and we thought about it for quite awhile now," Brown said. "Had a few injuries at (wideout) as well, which kind of led to it a little bit more. I think he will be fine out there. ... Just his athleticism out there, just makes you as a defensive guy, worry about him."

On Saturday, the Tigers will have a 9 a.m. scrimmage at Lewis Field Stadium, their first of three this spring.

Albert is expected to receive a few snaps at quarterback, but will mainly play wide receiver. Albert will likely stay at wideout long-term.

"They needed some help on the outside," Albert said. "If that's where the coaches want me at, then that's where I'll be at."

Albert, from Atlanta, is one of several Tiger quarterbacks who have switched to another position in the last year. Last spring, juniors Keaton Callins and Tanner Hageman moved to wideout and combined for 32 catches for 388 yards and four touchdowns for a 4-7 team.

This spring, Jared Helfrich, a redshirt freshman from Dodge City, switched from quarterback to safety.

In his career, Brown was a quarterback at Liberal High School before he became a three-time All-American at safety at Pittsburg State University.

"Quarterbacks in high school, they played both sides of the ball," Brown said. "They are very smart kids and they know what is going on, so it's a pretty easy adjustment for them."

Albert played wideout his freshman and sophomore year of high school before he moved to quarterback. While the Tigers listed Albert at quarterback when they signed him, some listed Albert as an athlete in the recruiting process. Albert was solid as scout team quarterback last year, but Brown knew Albert could play anywhere on the field.

"If he is not careful, he will be on defense, he is that athletic," Brown said with a smile.

The Tigers will add more depth in the fall at quarterback when Aaron Mispagel, a Denver signee, joins the program. Plus, wideout is the thinnest, least decorated position on a veteran offense.

On the offensive line, Fort Hays returns three starters, including all-MIAA center John "Hawk" Rouse. The Tigers bring back their top four rushers, including all-conference tailback Andre Smith. Fort Hays graduated its leading receiver, Anthony Smith, from last season's team. Smith had 40 catches in 2011, 18 more than any other Tiger.

At Wednesday's practice, Albert was a work in progress. Multiple times he looked at wide receivers coach Al McCray before or after a play. He is still learning to be more aggressive and understanding what defensive backs are going to do.

"Making sure he is taking the right routes, the right steps and his footwork is correct," Brown said. "That's the main thing he is looking at from Coach McCray right now."

Brown, though, has seen plenty of positives, especially with Albert's athleticism.

"He is a man of many talents, and we are going to use him to the best of his abilities," Brown said.

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