Jonathan Krause ran 10 yards, jetted to the left and reached up to snag a high pass from Josh Grady for a touchdown.
A nice play during Tuesday night’s spring practice but one that has yet to play out during a game. Despite more appearances than any current Vanderbilt receiver, Krause has never caught a touchdown in his college career.
The senior has scored – twice each on reverses and punt returns – but over the last three seasons none of his 56 receptions have ended in the end zone.
“Yeah, I’d love it,” Krause said. “It would make me happy but at the end of the day whatever it is for the team I’ll still do it. I’m always a team player. To me, I produce. Not too many people see it with the blocking, cut blocks, getting free on the key screens. Whatever it is for me to help the team out, I’ll do.”
Ideally, the Commodores want to get Krause more involved in the offense.
In addition to his absence from the end zone, his receiving production has dipped each season. As a freshman he caught 24 passes for 243 yards. In 2011, he hauled in 23 catches for 171 yards. Last year, he finished sixth on the team in receiving. He even fell behind running backs Zac Stacy and Wesley Tate and tight end Kris Kentera with just nine catches for 69 yards.
At 5-foot-11, Krause is a smaller option than bigger wideouts Jordan Matthews and Chris Boyd. His stature may hinder him at times, especially when Matthews and Boyd have the edge in size on a one-on-one defensive matchup.
It has been hard to blame Vanderbilt for sticking with the hot hands. Over the last two years, Matthews and Boyd have combined for 216 receptions. The rest of the team had 170 catches.
“If [Krause] keeps developing we’ll find ways to make sure he is involved more than maybe what he has been,” offensive coordinator John Donovan said. “He is definitely a guy we are counting on to have a great year.”
Both Matthews and Donovan praised Krause’s route running. Though he sat out briefly with an injury this spring, Krause returned Tuesday and continued to impress his teammates and coaches.
“I feel like this spring his hands have really shown,” Matthews said. “He has caught a lot of great balls for us. It is going to help complement me and Boyd that much more. I feel like all three of us long with some of the other guys in the receiving corps we can give this team a lot of options.”
Donovan expects Krause to settle into the third receiver position and fight to be on the field when the Commodores show just two- or one-receiver sets.
This spring, he and redshirt-freshman Tip McKenzie are the only two receivers in the slot. Come fall, five freshmen will arrive on campus to add to the wide receiver depth.
But rather than fall back and blend into the crowd, Krause wants to stick out – and land in the end zone.
“Sometimes whether it was the coverage or the situation, his number wasn’t called,” Donovan said. “But he has the ability to do it. I think the more he gets reps here now in the spring and the older he is and the more confident he is, the more those balls will come his way. He is ready to have a breakout year… and we need him to do that for us to get to where we want to get to.”