Fiesta Bowl notebook - Lee is Panthers’ latest big-time wide receiver - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Fiesta Bowl notebook - Lee is Panthers’ latest big-time wide receiver

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Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2004 5:59 am | Updated: 4:42 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Antonio Bryant and Larry Fitzgerald — the latter with the Cardinals — are strutting their stuff on NFL fields, so someone had to step up and continue Pittsburgh’s reputation as Wide Receiver U.

Enter Greg Lee, stage left.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore had a breakout season, catching 61 passes for 1,204 yards and nine touchdowns. Next year, he will be a candidate for the Biletnikoff Award, which Bryant (2000) and Fitzgerald (2003) won with the Panthers.

"I knew this year there would be a void on offense," Lee said. "I took it upon myself to be the one who was going to go out and make a difference for our team. I knew that, given the chance, I would have a good season."

Lee’s ascension did not come without growing pains. He spent time in the doghouse of coach Walt Harris due in part to lax preparation. In 2004, Lee became more of a student of the game, and the results showed.

"When he started practicing better, he understood what we were trying to do (on offense)," Harris said. "We tailored more of the offense to his talent because he has such outstanding skills."

ADIOS, ALEX?

The Alex Smith draft watch continued during Wednesday’s media day, which was moved from Sun Devil Stadium to the Camelback Inn Resort in Scottsdale because of rain.

The Utah quarterback, a junior, looks more like someone who expects to forego his final season of eligibility. Asked about his future, Smith smiled nervously and repeated his stock answer this week.

"I’m putting that off until after the game," he said.

Utes coach Urban Meyer indicated he feels Smith could use another year of college experience.

"In my opinion, he’s not ready," Meyer said. "He’s 20 years old, has (two) seasons of college football and weighs 210 pounds. Still, if Alex decides to go, I won’t be surprised to see an NFL team take him and invest two years in him. I’ll be watching to see how that plays out."

TALK TO YA LATER

After taking the coaching job at Florida, Meyer approached Harris, seeking to pick his brain about working with college quarterbacks. Harris has coached 13 quarterbacks who have played in the NFL.

With the two set to coach against each other in the Fiesta Bowl, Harris felt such a conversation would be inappropriate. On Wednesday, Meyer said he hopes to chat sometime after the game, which Harris was warmer to.

"I felt that would be very hard right now, considering that we are playing them, and they have better players than we do," Harris said. "Afterward, I would be glad to give him a few minutes. . . . I’d love to chat about what he has been doing."

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