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WKU receivers coach Chestnut has high expectations for unit in 2019

Chris Chestnut is entering his first season as WKU’s wide receivers coach.
Chris Chestnut is entering his first season as WKU’s wide receivers coach. (Tyler Mansfield /

Chris Chestnut has liked what he’s seen throughout eight days of fall camp.

The first-year Western Kentucky wide receivers coach is leading a talented group of wideouts – spearheaded by redshirt seniors Lucky Jackson and Quin Jernighan – that will look to excel in first-year head coach Tyson Helton’s offensive system this season, and camp has shown Chestnut just how special his unit is.

“I’m pleased with the guys,” Chestnut said. “They’re working hard and doing everything we ask them to do. It starts in practice. I just told my guys that if they make the big play in practice, it’s probably gonna happen in a game. Continuing to come down with the 50-50 balls – we want to get better at that as receivers. We’re gonna be one to throw the ball downfield … I think everyone knows that. We’ve gotta come down with the ball at the end of the day.”

In a Helton-coached offense – one also led by offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis and all of the position coaches on that side of the ball, points will be scored and wide receivers will be used very often. That’s good news for Jackson (552 yards, four touchdowns) and Jernighan (437, TD), a receiver duo that combined for 989 yards and five touchdowns in 2018.

WKU has had a handful of standout wideouts – Taywan Taylor, Nicholas Norris and Jared Dangerfield just to name a few – come through its program over the years, and Chestnut is well aware of that. He mentioned that both Jackson and Jernighan witnessed those names excel and they have the capability of doing the same.

“Quin Jernighan and Lucky Jackson have been around the Taywan Taylor’s, the Nick Norris’, the Dangerfield’s, so they’ve seen what those guys done. I tell ‘em all the time, ‘If you wannabe on that level with those guys, just kinda repeat what they’re doing.’ It starts in practice, and I’m pleased with Quin and Lucky and what they’ve been. They’re gonna be big-play guys for us and I’m looking forward to seeing them on the field this fall.”

Jernighan – who started eight games and appeared in 11 total last season – has liked how camp’s been going so far.

“I feel like everything’s going good. We’re coming together as a family and learning how to play together,” he said. “During camp is just bonding time so when the season comes together we play together as brothers. I just feel like as a senior and a leader we show the younger guys the way so when it’s their time to step up they’ll get in and do their job the correct way.”