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What New WR Coach Phil McGeoghan Means for the Bolts

It was a quiet January at Hoag Performance Center as Head Coach Anthony Lynn gave his staff a month away for some rest and relaxation before getting back to the grind.

Ever since their return in early February, the building has been buzzing as the team looks to build off an impressive end to the 2017 season.

The coaches are already burning the midnight oil, spending endless hours reevaluating last year's film, scouting potential draft prospects and grading potential free agents.

The faces are mostly the same as continuity was a major focal point for Lynn when it came to the coaching staff.  

Thus, there are only two new position coaches as the Bolts enter year two of the Anthony Lynn era. 

The other is Phil McGeoghan, who takes over as the Chargers' wide receivers coach after the Indianapolis Colts hired Nick Sirianni as their offensive coordinator.

A former wideout himself who spent parts of four seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders and New York Jets, McGeoghan boasts an intimate knowledge of the position.  He's spent the past decade coaching the position at both the college and NFL ranks, including stints as the wide receivers coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2015, and more recently, the Buffalo Bills in 2017.

It's also worth noting McGeoghan boasts a strong history with Lynn, who was a pivotal figure for the former wideout during his rookie season 17 years ago in Denver. As an undrafted free agent trying to make the club, he formed a unique bond with Lynn, who was the team's assistant special teams coach at the time.

The two have remained in contact ever since, with Lynn giving him tips on transitioning from player to coach.

"Obviously as a young coach, you try to (emulate) coaches who had a similar path," McGeoghan said.  "So we've kept in contact.  Obviously he explained to me what it would take for me to transition from being a player into a coach. What the requirements would be, the work ethic (needed) and the hours.  We had a chance to reconnect during the season, at the Combine and places you see each other.  So we had a great relationship."

McGeoghan is now charged with leading one of the top wide receiver corps in the NFL.  After all, the Bolts boasted the league's number one passing offense in 2017, led by Keenan Allen, who rewrote the team's record books with the single greatest season by a wideout in team history.

However, perhaps no wideout on the team will garner more attention than Mike Williams.

The Chargers' first-round pick a year ago out of Clemson, Williams' rookie campaign never really got going as a back injury hindered his 2017 season.  The seventh overall pick missed the entire offseason program and training camp, and didn't take the field until Week 6.  Overall, he played in 10 games with one start, hauling in 11 passes for 95 yards.

That's a far cry from his final season at Clemson when he helped lead the Tigers to the national title after catching 98 passes for 1,361 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

Now, McGeoghan can't wait to get his hands on a player he was very high on heading into last year's draft.

"He has a big catch radius," he explained.  "A tough, tough kid.  Unbelievable story with his resiliency to come back from the adversity he faced in college.  He has really big hands.  He can contort and adjust to the football.  Is really good in contested catch situations.  There's a lot of developmental upside to him."

With Williams healthy heading into 2018, McGeoghan knows this is a pivotal offseason when it comes to that development.

"It's invaluable for a young receiver to be on the field going through the process," he said.  "In my opinion, you can't just throw somebody in on Sunday and expect them to be operating at their full potential unless they've gone through the OTAs, mini camp and training camp.  All the individual periods and the situations you face against the defense.  There are a lot of things that go into the development of a young receiver.  When they participate in those activities, are available, do the drills and work really hard; they improve.  When you are not available, it is hard to improve.  You have to be exposed to those repetitions."

Williams' development will clearly garner significant attention; however, McGeoghan is quick to point out how deep and talented the position is on the Bolts' roster.  After all, few teams boast the likes of a Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin to go along with someone of Keenan Allen's pedigree and Mike Williams' potential.

"It's a deep group and a diverse group," McGeoghan said excitedly.  "They are differentiated in their skillsets.  They all have roles.  They have done a great job here of using them in a variety of different roles.  They obviously have a tremendous quarterback who can get them the football, which is a large percentage of being productive in this league.  So I'm really excited to go into work every day with this group."

While the wideouts must adjust to a new coach with new philosophies, the transition should be easy as McGeoghan's style fits right in with a hardworking group that demands perfection.

"I'm a passionate person and a very demanding teacher," he said.  "I like details and technique.  There will be a standard that is very clear in that room, and we're going to hold each other to a high standard.  We'll have a lot of fun with a lot of energy and a lot of juice, but again, we'll be detailed, disciplined and we'll play hard."

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