Bonner notices, enjoys attention from Kubiak

Bonner notices, enjoys attention from Kubiak
May 28, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Several times during the first four days of the Texans’ organized team activities, head coach Gary Kubiak has watched a play unfold before singling out one offensive player.

Kubiak will yell for Alan Bonner. Then, the rookie will run over to the head coach to receive some extra instruction.

Maybe, it’s a suggestion. Maybe, it’s to yell at him or tell him what he’s doing wrong.

Either way, Kubiak has seemingly taken a special interest in the sixth-round wide receiver from Jacksonville State.

“Yessir,” Bonner said when asked if he’s noticed some special attention from the head coach.

“I just know he’s pushing me to the max,” Bonner continued. “He wants me to be at my best potential. He ain’t going to let up on me. I encourage that and I want that out of my head coach.”

Kubiak has actually shown a deep interest in Bonner since before the 5-10 receiver from Jacksonville State ever stepped foot on the football field as a Texan. After the 2013 draft was completed, GM Rick Smith and Kubiak were asked by a member of the Houston media to pick one player to watch from the later rounds of the draft.

Smith picked defensive tackle Chris Jones from Bowling Green. Kubiak said he liked that pick but chose Bonner instead.

“There’s a big step for him to take from where he’s coming from,” Kubiak said in late April. “He’s going to get a great opportunity with us. We’re so young at wide receiver, there are plenty of reps to go around, and I think this kid’s got some special stuff to him. We’ll just sit there and work with him but I think he’s got a chance to help our football team.”

During his senior season in college, Bonner led the Gamecocks with 50 catches, 859 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He ranks second on the school’s all-time career receiving yards (1,986) and receiving touchdowns (20) lists. When Bonner was taken with the 195th overall pick, he was the first player from Jacksonville State to be taken in the draft since 1991.

Bonner thinks he’s getting extra attention from the head coach because Kubiak notices the potential in him.

“Yeah,” Bonner said. “He sees the potential in me and everything and he just wants me to get the whole mental aspect and grasp it fast and pick up with the vets. He just wants me to be at my full potential.”

The rookies, Bonner included, took a collective step backward on Tuesday, the first day of the second round of OTAs.

“Obviously, we’re getting into a lot more stuff this week,” Kubiak said, “so the challenge gets bigger.”

Bonner said he’s still learning the plays and getting used to being in the NFL. It’s a process and not one that moves extremely fast for many players. While first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins has been working with the first unit, there are plenty of other young receivers for Bonner to battle with. Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin are the returning wideouts, while there are also several undrafted rookie free agents in camp too.  
“I’m getting to where I need to be. It’s coming along,” Bonner said. “I don’t think any of the rookies, right now, are really where they want to be right now. But like I said, we’re in the process of getting there and getting where we want to be.”

A lot has been made of Andre Johnson’s mentoring Hopkins since the Texans used their first-round pick on the wideout from Clemson. The two are seen walking onto the field with each other everyday and sit next to one another in the film room.

But Johnson isn’t just mentoring Hopkins. He gives tips to all the young receivers, Bonner included. Johnson doesn’t talk much, but when he does, the receivers listen.

“He’s got the most respect around here on the offensive side of the ball,” Bonner said. “From my standpoint, he’s got the most respect. Him telling me a few things means a lot to me.”

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