FAYETTEVILLE — Senior Mike Woods and junior Treylon Burks are one of the best wide receiver combinations in the SEC and nation.
The two combined in 2020 to catch 83 passes for 1,439 yards and 12 touchdowns. On Saturday, both impressed at the Red-White game. Burks grabbed two passes for 67 yards and a touchdown while Woods also caught a pair for 40 yards and also got into the end zone once. Sam Pittman was impressed.
“They’ve had a good spring,” Pittman said. “They have to because the secondary forces you to. I’ve said it multiple times that I’m so proud of the way our secondary plays and the way that they’re a unit back there. I know there was a couple of guys that got behind them. I’m really not concerned about that. We’ll get that fixed. They have to, because there’s a lot of pressure that this secondary puts on them, and they’ve taken to the challenge. They played plenty today along with Cat (Jalen Catalon) and those guys. We got them plenty of reps, probably not as many as they wanted, but we’ve seen them for 14 practices. We didn’t need any more than what they got.”
In the first quarter on Saturday, Woods got behind the secondary for a 33-yard touchdown catch while Burks added one from 31 yards away. Pittman was impressed with the receivers, but not worried about the secondary.
“Well, I mean, you’re always concerned about guys wide open,” Pittman said. “But we have one of the best secondary coaches in the country and they’ll get it fixed. But hopefully it was just a throw and a catch. I’ve seen different quarterbacks, because they got so wide open, over throw that throw as well. So Barry (Odom) and Sam (Carter) will get that fixed. I’m not concerned about it at all.”
KJ Jefferson is the starting quarterback and who connected on the long passes to Woods and Burks on Saturday.
“The connection on the deep ball with Treylon and Mike is pretty good,” Jefferson said. “We’ve been working all spring about it. Coach (Kendal) Briles is a huge believer in giving guys a chance on the outside and going up and making plays. We’ve got playmakers. So why not give them a chance? As far as me I put my trust in those guys. They trust me to put the ball in good spots and they are going to make plays.”
Safety Jalen Catalon is also one of the best in the SEC at his position. He talked about facing Woods and Burks.
“Most definitely, those are top notch guys to me,” Catalon said. “Like I said, I might be biased but I think they’re the best receivers we have in the SEC, and they show it every day in practice with their consistency. They make us better, and I think the DBs are playing so good that we’re making them better, so it’s an iron sharpens iron. But no, they’re ballers. Definitely helping us out.”
Catalon also talked about the two big touchdown receptions by Woods and Burks early in the game.
“Yeah, I think we had just a couple of breakdowns,” Catalon said. “Coach Carter has told us that we can’t have that early in a game. That’s definitely something we’ll watch the film and correct and make sure it doesn’t happen again. I’m not glad it happened, so we understand that no matter how good we think we are we can always get beat if we’re not mentally prepared right from the start. I definitely think we kind of came in cleaned that stuff up and I thought we were consistent on the defense. And on both sides for sure, I felt like we did a lot of good things. Some things we’ve got to clean up for sure, but overall I thought it was good production from the defense.”
In 2020, Burks caught 51 passes for 820 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games. In 10 games, Woods added 32 receptions for 619 yards and five touchdowns.