Sometimes the life of a receiver can be hit or miss.
Hurricanes sophomore receiver Phillip Dorsett, who posted two of the top 10 individual receiving games in UM history in wins at Georgia Tech and at home against N.C. State at the end of September, is now in one of those month-long slumps -- and he's looking to Saturday's game at Virginia to snap out of it.
"I definitely want to be able to perform better," said Dorsett, who still leads the Hurricanes in receiving with 36 catches for 545 yards and three touchdowns despite four sluggish weeks in a row.
"I haven't had that many catches these last few weeks. I just got to keep working and whenever the ball comes my way just catch it and do something with it."
Since hauling in 15 catches for 375 yards and three scores against the Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack, Dorsett has continued to see passes thrown his way -- even after his four drops against Notre Dame. In all, Dorsett has been targeted a team-leading 25 times in the last four weeks. He and quarterback Stephen Morris just haven't been able to hook up.
Dorsett has just eight combined catches for 81 yards and no touchdowns during the stretch. Only two of his catches -- a 26-yard catch last week against the Hokies and a 23-yard catch against North Carolina -- have produced double-digit yardage.
His special teams work? Equally disappointing. Last week against the Hokies he made the mistake of fielding a punt at the Canes 1-yard line and drifting into the end zone, before recovering and avoiding a safety by getting tackled at the 1-yard line.
"Special teams is a crucial part of the game for us. Blocking that punt gave us a big momentum boost. Me fielding that punt on the 1-yard line shifted the momentum to Virginia Tech," Dorsett said.
"The hardest thing about catching punts is knowing where you are. Say you are on the 20-yard line and the punter punts the ball real high up, once you are up looking you don't realize you are backing up. The only thing on your mind when the ball is in the air is catch it. I'm backing up and realize 'Oh, snap I'm on the 1-yard line.' I just got to do better, practice plus territory punts and get better at that."
Despite Virginia's 3-6 record, Dorsett said the Canes know they are in for a battle Saturday against the Cavaliers defense. Virginia ranks 34th against the run, 44th in pass efficiency defense and ninth overall on third down defense.
"They like to play a lot of Cover 8, Cover 1 defense," Dorsett said. "They're a big physical defense. They took it to us last year and we're looking to take it to them this year. We got to answer the bell."