Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Given the results he’s produced over the last two seasons, it would be easy for Devin Ross to complain right now.
The Colorado senior is used to making catches and helping his team, but in the past two games, he’s been shut out.
As the Buffaloes (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) prepare to visit No. 15 Washington State (6-1, 3-1) on Saturday, however, Ross isn’t griping.
“Especially after being the leading receiver last season, you just want to be able to make plays for your team,” Ross said. “I still do my job. I still go out there and do my assignment, no matter what. I’m not going to get frustrated or let it affect me in any way. I just keep playing.
“Opportunities come a lot in this game and you just have to wait for your time.”
It’s been a while since Ross has waited this long between opportunities, however.
Ross, who led the Buffs with 66 catches a year ago, hasn’t caught a pass since 11 minutes, 30 seconds remained in the third quarter of CU’s 27-23 loss to UCLA on Sept. 30. It’s the first time since his freshman year of 2013 that he’s played two consecutive games without a catch.
Ross was targeted just once against Arizona on Oct. 7 (a low pass that he probably should have caught) and just once last week against Oregon State.
“I told Devin, ‘Don’t get frustrated,'” co-offensive coordinator/receivers coach Darrin Chiaverini said. “It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re not getting the ball. Things go in circles. Sometimes the ball is not finding you for whatever reason. He played over 50 snaps in the last game and the ball just didn’t find him.”
The past two games, CU’s offense has run through tailback Phillip Lindsay, while outside receivers Bryce Bobo and Shay Fields have had most of the targets from quarterback Steven Montez. In fact, against Arizona, Ross was often on the sidelines more often than usual, because the Buffs often used two tight ends.
Bobo had one of the best games of his career in Saturday’s 36-33 win against Oregon State, with nine catches for 126 yards and two scores. Fields was the only other receiver who caught passes that day, hauling in five for 42 yards.
“The game plans have been based on the outside receivers, because of the corners we played against,” Ross said. “I was just happy for Bryce having a good game and Shay got his catches. One week it might be me getting all the catches, so it just depends.”
That’s why Ross isn’t too worried.
Prior to the Arizona game, Ross had caught at least one pass in 20 consecutive games, and his 120 career receptions rank 12th in CU history. This season, he’s caught 23 passes for 327 yards and a touchdown.
Ross is confident plenty more passes will come his way, and Chiaverini has been pleased with how Ross has handled his drought.
“Devin does a great job of working hard in practice,” Chiaverini said. “He’s a really good player and the ball is going to find him.
“It could be easy to get mad and upset and get frustrated. I’m sure he does at times, but it doesn’t affect him on the football field.”
With five games left in the regular season of his senior campaign, Ross said this is no time for him to get frustrated. He just wants to help the Buffs reach a bowl game for the second straight season.
“This is my last five games in my career at CU, so I have to make the most of it no matter what, no matter how many balls I get,” he said. “You can’t pout in this game and be mad because that’s when you mess up when the ball does come to you. You have to be confident and make plays when they come.
“I just have to get to my spots and hopefully Montez sees me. If he doesn’t, whoever he does throw to, I hope they come down with the catch.”