Colt's been a horse in fall camp
Colt Linster (88) is popular with teammates. Play Video
Colt Linster (88) is popular with teammates.
A year ago, Colt Linster was walking around the JU football training camp wide-eyed and in a daze. He was a guy on the team with a pretty cool name who had a hard time navigating campus and couldn’t straighten out feet from fannies on the field.

That seems like a long time ago to the wide receiver who this season has grasped the big picture and has opened a few eyes with his pass catching ability … and his ability to take some heavy hits going over the middle.

“I came in late last year and it was about this time I just started grasping the offense, now it makes sense,’’ Linster said. “Last year I was running one position I would get the call and just focus in on that on that one position now I’ve been running three and four positions and been trying to fill in where I can. Now I hear the play called and I think of the whole call, the big picture.’’

His early confusion was noticeable, even to the point normally mild-mannered receivers coach Ernie Mills bolted onto the field to get in Linster’s face after another mistake.

“We had a play, Ruby Fanny, where the outside guy goes up and goes to the guy you’re going to pick for and you run at his butt so he can run a fade route outside,’’ Linster, who grew up in Macclenny, said. “I would always get that and Ruby confused. Ruby you run at his feet; Ruby Fanny you run at his butt. No matter how many times he would tell me I would get confused. I would get confused and one day he ran out on the field yelling “IT’S RUBY FANNY.’’ When he came out on the field screaming at me one on one I was like ‘uh, I’ll never forget again’ and I didn’t.’’

Now, Mills notices for other reasons.

“Colt’s doing a good job and had a good scrimmage on Saturday (at Bolles),’’ Mills said. “He’s gotten better each week and he’s learned the offense. We’ve had some injuries and Colt’s been able to move around to different positions that aren’t where he plays and he’s picked it up. He’s raised some eyebrows.’’

While getting in on quite a few plays per practice and catching quite a few balls, Linster also has experienced the taking a shot part of the business. On at least three occasions this camp he has been on the receiving end of clock cleaning hits by teammates.

The biggest of them came last week when he was leveled by safety Jordan Dewhirst on a route over the middle.

“I think I did something to make the quarterbacks mad,’’ Linster, who played a year at Louisiana Tech after graduating from Jacksonville’s Episcopal High School, said with a laugh. “On the hit by Dewhirst, he hit my head and hit me so hard I think my head was the first thing to hit the ground. That was a hard hit but I try to be tough out there.’’

Quarterback Kade Bell insists the hits are nothing personal, although he was chuckling when he said it.

“He didn’t make us mad, those hits just happen,’’ Bell said. “The thing is, he’s not scared to go over the middle and make the catch and he’s catching everything that’s thrown to him. He’s in very good shape and his route running is crisp, he plays hard and he stays healthy.’’

- Jim Nasella