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bsn BSN: Shay Fields now ‘the guy’ at wide receiver

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Aug 11, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

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    BOULDER — Despite the struggles of the Colorado Buffaloes football program over the past ten years, there have been plenty of bright spots at wide receiver, even if those spots were only put together for a full season a few times.

    Think of the names CU has ran out on the outside, like Nelson Spruce, Paul Richardson, Toney Clemons, Marques Simas, and Scotty McKnight. Through it all, only Spruce and Richardson hauled into 1,000 yard seasons in Boulder, with Spruce doing so twice.

    Now, head coach Mike MacIntyre is hoping to add another name to that list, Shay Fields. Fittingly, the junior wide receiver changed his uniform from No. 5 to No. 1, sending a clear message to his team and opponents.

    Fields, playing second fiddle to Spruce a year ago, reeled in 42 catches for 598 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore. Now officially an upperclassmen and the most proven returner, the southern California native knows it’s his time to step up as the clear No. 1 guy.

    “Towards the end of the year I talked to (Spruce) and asked him what would be some tips and some pointers,” he said of learning how to be “the guy” in town. “I wanted to get back into my high school days where I was a leader there and incorporate some of that. Just try to lead these guys and be the best wide receiving corps in the Pac-12.”

    Looking over the roster of any college football team, you’ll find 85 or more players who were likely one of the two or three best players on their prep squad. Molding those personalities together for a coach is a top priority. For the players themselves, it’s easy to see how egos and personality conflicts could make internal leadership difficult, at times.

    For Shields, he says it’s as much about finding the right approach as anything.

    “It’s just more of an understanding of each player,” he said. “We’re all grown men. You’ve got to understand that some players don’t respond well to negative criticism, some guys don’t respond to yelling. You’ve got to know each receiver.

    “I’m kind of like, the coach [will]talk to me and I’ll take it to the other guys. I’m also a visual type of guy, so I’ll show them and they’ll do it.”

    That showing and teaching of technique is something that Fields said Spruce often used during his time as a Buffalo. If anything, Spruce was much more of a quiet leader.

    “I’m just trying to be my own guy,” Fields said.

    Becoming a leader is something that Fields has seen coming, but is just now something he feels he’s actually ready to take on. Through his first two years and change, for himself, Fields has been fighting through the challenges of young adulthood—improving decision making, especially.

    “Some bad decisions, some good decisions,” he said of the past two years, growing up in Boulder. “They’re all just things you’ve got to learn from. Talking to my dad…it’s just, I’ve got to make smart decisions and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

    Like anyone, he wishes the growing up process happened quicker. He looks back on his time and sees the advice he would give to his younger self.

    “Grow up faster,” he said with a smile. “I could have done some things better in the past but here and now I’ve learned from them.”

    William Whelan
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