Ty MacArthur doesn’t spend much time envisioning a larger role for himself in Air Force’s offense.
When asked what a dream scenario would be for himself, the receiver didn’t have one.
“Anything that will help the team,” said the senior-to-be. “Nothing specific.”
That’s OK, his coaches are on it.
“We’re going to do as much with him as we can,” Falcons receivers coach Mike Thiessen said. “We can get as creative as we need to to get him the ball, and we will – obviously within the framework of what we do.”
MacArthur is one of the few familiar faces returning among Air Force’s skill position players on offense, and easily the most prolific. He carried the ball 57 times last year for 467 yards and two touchdowns, caught 24 passes for a team-high 411 yards and two more scores and fielded 13 kicks (10 punts, three kickoffs) for 135 more yards.
Despite having his knee scoped in early January, MacArthur is back for spring practice. And it’s a good thing, because Air Force’s young receivers need someone to follow and its young quarterbacks need a reliable target.
“He’s the guy we’re relying on, he’s our stud,” Thiessen said. “If there’s one person on offense you kind of depend on to be productive and solid, steady and kind of compassionate leader of the offense, he’d be the guy.”
MacArthur, 5-foot-9, 175 pounds, has an interesting athletic lineage. His father, Matt, played baseball at Arizona and in the Angels’ organization and his mother, Kelly, was a gymnast at UCLA and competed in the 1980 Olympic trials.
What they didn’t hand down in raw ability, it seems they did in athletic drive.
“He’s kind of one of those typical Air Force guys who doesn’t really flash, doesn’t have the fastest 40 time, but when you put on the film he’s always there making a play,” Thiessen said. “He’s the most competitive, fiery guy you’ve got, the biggest-heart guy. He’s that guy that’s got every intangible that you look for here. That’s why he’s so good.”
The question is, how much and in what ways will Air Force utilize him as the Z-receiver? Thiessen said MacArthur’s touches will continue to be split – likely evenly – between the running and passing game.
“As we get into the summer and we see where he is with his body, we’ll take a look (at his role),” coach Troy Calhoun said.
That MacArthur identifies Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead as his favorite athletes for paving “the way for small dudes in the NFL,” speaks to his ultimate aspirations. But for now, MacArthur is providing soft hands for top quarterback candidates Kale Pearson and Jaleel Awini (“they both have great arms, which is great for me,” MacArthur said) and helping to be a steadying force.
He’s also learning all he can to remain a reliable resource and maybe even pick up a few things that might be designed with him in mind.
“We’re putting in some fun new stuff,” MacArthur said. “So I’m just trying to get all the plays down.”