Ever since he was 5-years-old, Sean Dillard could always be seen with a football in hand, placed there by his mother, who introduced him to the game back in Atlanta.
Dillard hopes to have several footballs in-hand, or better yet in the end zone this Saturday when the Owls face the Syracuse Orangemen in the Carrier Dome.
Since his Pop Warner and high school playing days, Dillard, a 5-foot 9-inch junior wide receiver, has relied on his speed to break away from defenders and get down the field, whether playing quarterback, running back or his current position at wide receiver.
As the top receiver and favorite target of freshman quarterback Mike McGann, Dillard leads his team in virtually all receiving categories.
In the five games Dillard has started this season he has pulled in 17 receptions and one touchdown while averaging 19.8 yards per catch.
Pretty impressive numbers for last season’s offensive MVP.
But this weekend’s match-up won’t be peaches-and-cream for Dillard who will face a Syracuse secondary that is big, physical and experienced.
“Dillard is small and it’s going to be a real challenge for him to get off the football against the bump-and-run and to be physical with their players,” Temple Coach Bobby Wallace said.
Dillard is up for the challenge and always has been. Dillard fares well against tight man coverage and loves lining up against the bump-and-run, which gives him an opportunity to showcase his speed and how dangerous he is in the open field.
“His asset is his speed,” Wallace said. “That’s what he uses to make the big plays and it’s going to be a challenge for him physically
“He’s done great for us. He’s got great speed and great athletic ability and can judge the ball well with his hand-eye coordination.”
Dillard’s contributions to the team and instant energy can be accredited to his intense year-round workout schedule.
“I worked with the weight training program and stayed here over the summer,” he said. “I did a lot of speed work and routes with the training coach and wide receivers coach.”
His work ethic has even upped his time in the 40-yard dash to a lightning fast 4.35 seconds, which will only improve.
Dillard has shown he is a prime time player as he always somehow manages to come up with catches. He also knows that running his routes and catching the ball won’t be the only thing he will need to do this Saturday against Syracuse.
“I have to play hard the whole game whether we’re up or down,” he said. “I’m going to concentrate on my blocking so I can help the running back go for the long run, other than making the big catch and getting down field.”
With the latter seeming like second nature as the weeks go by, the game could be decided by the wide receivers and the many faces of Sean Dillard, who seems willing to do anything to help his team win.