Charleston native brings consistency to receivers

Anthony Catezone, Managing Editor

Even in practice, Eastern wide receiver Adam Drake brings consistent big-play ability.

On Tuesday coach Kim Dameron instilled a new practice routine, which pitted the Eastern offense vs. the Eastern defense.

Each team competed in drills such as inside run, seven-on-seven and fast ball.

By the end of each respective drill, Dameron would award one point to whichever team outshined.

“I felt like we needed some juice,” Dameron said. “We need to put these guys in situations where they win or lose.”

By practice’s end, the offense and defense were tied 2-2.

The idea of competing in practice was to implement so the Panthers became accustomed to getting in a groove and finishing drives, especially in the second half, both Dameron and Drake said.

“We hit it really hard (at the start of the game) and then we’re not finishing,” Drake said.

A lengthy, competitive practice forces Eastern’s players to finish.

So, when one play was left to determine who would “win the day,” Drake took it upon himself to finish.

“At the end of the day, it came down to one point and one play to make it,” Drake said.

The play simulated a third and six from the defense’s 40-yard line.

A first down, the offense wins. A stop, the defense wins.

Jalen Whitlow was set at quarterback; Drake was lined up at strong-side receiver.

Drake ran along the sideline and cut up the field where he broke away from the defensive back. He was open, and Whitlow hit him over the top for a touchdown and a win for the offense.

“Jalen had a money ball,” Drake said.

Eastern’s sideline erupted as if it was an in-game situation for its Family Weekend game against Austin Peay Saturday.

“Not only did we make the first down, but we also scored a touchdown,” Dameron said. “We need to keep the chains moving and finish drives by scoring touchdowns.  I believe perfect practice makes perfect play.”

And Drake’s play in practice is a perfect indicator for his play on Saturdays.

“As a leader, he goes out and he just plays,” Dameron said.

Dameron praised Drake’s effort, attention to detail, hands and route running all as unquestionable qualities in a No. 1 wide receiver.

“When you know where somebody is going to be — as a quarterback — you find that guy because you know he is going to be doing it right,” Dameron said. “(Drake) is doing it right.”

Drake has been able to emerge as Eastern’s No. 1 receiver by using an arsenal of speed and route-running skills he polished during the summer.

Drake attended former NFL wide receiver Don Beebe’s House of Speed, as it “trains individuals of all ages and skill to perform better by enhancing their speed and character,” according to the camp’s website.

In the offseason, Drake learned to incorporate how to pump his arms faster during his route running and breaking in and out of his routes faster.

His newly touted skills have shown through three games, as the senior has hauled in 26 receptions for 343 yards, both Ohio Valley Conference-leading.

“He worked this summer at his craft, and it is paying off,” Dameron said.


Anthony Catezone (@AnthonyCatz) can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].