Perhaps nobody has better insight of the wide receiver position than their defensive counterparts — the cornerbacks who face them at practice every day. A position group loaded with top-end talent taking on the weakest sector of the team is an utter mismatch. Yet the leader of the “ball hawks” Riley Moss, donning a white tank top and a mustache he admits has grown irritating, went up to bat for that group:

“There’s some times, you know, they’ll run routes, they’ll run a comeback, and their hips are too high,” Moss said. “It’s really easy for me to see that they’re gonna break stuff like that. I give them tips and stuff just to help them out. But they’ve they’ve gotten a lot better this past year, and it’s really cool to see.”

The receiver room is close to depleted heading into Saturday’s opener. 5th year senior Nico Ragaini won’t be ready to suit up for at least the first few weeks, leaving sophomores Keagan Johnson and Arland Bruce IV leading the unit until he returns. And even then, Johnson is nursing a hamstring injury and could be limited or out all together. True freshmen walk-ons Alec Wick and Jack Johnson are more than likely going to be burdened with meaningful snaps as well. If Moss is concerned, he didn’t display it.

“Jack Johnson and Wick have really increased their value over the offseason and fall camp,” the Big Ten defensive back of the year said. “Arland and Keegan — they’re running crisp routes, they’re catching the balls they need to catch and in my opinion, you know, as a receiver, that’s your job and they’re doing the job.”

Attrition has been the primary concern lately, let alone the talent. Even at full strength the receiving unit is deficient of top end weapons, aside from Sam LaPorta, who lines up at tight end. Head coach Kirk Ferentz even said point blank: “We’re not as deep as we’d like to be.”

But in the end, you play the cards you’re dealt, especially in the game of football. Moss doesn’t think anybody’s crying over spilled milk.

“I’m not worried at all and I don’t think the coaches are worried at all. So there’s no reason to kind of get up and heckle about, you know who’s in and who’s not. I think the reason they’re in there is because they’re trusted and they’re going to do their job.”

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