McBride has become a deep threat for Hawaii

Hawaii wide receiver Steven McBride (7) reacts after making a catch over San Diego State during the second half of a game on Saturday in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

HONOLULU — In 10 months as a Hawaii football player, wideout Steven McBride has formed deep connections.

“‘Glide’ McBride,” quarterback Brayden Schager said of his speedy long-distance target.


Of Schager’s 52 deep passes (traveling at least 20 yards from the line of scrimmage), 18 were intended for the 6-foot-1, 165-pound McBride. The Kansas transfer is averaging 45.9 yards on his eight catches on go routes.

“It’s my job,” said McBride, whose average targeted depth is 19.1 yards. “That’s why they recruited me, to be the deep threat. That’s the job I have to do. As long as they keep trusting me, I have to do my job.”

In this version of the run-and-shoot offense, McBride’s vertical routes are meant to stretch defenses and de-clutter middle-depth coverages for teammates. Against San Diego State on Saturday, McBride, who has a team-high six touchdowns, set up scores with receptions of 62 and 65 yards.

“I can be an all-around player,” said McBride, who is skilled on quick cuts and change-of-speed patterns. “If you throw it, I can go get it.”

McBride’s passion for football was nurtured in Napoleonville, a Louisiana village with a population of about 700. (Retired NFL running back Brandon Jacobs and former UH and Olympic volleyball player Kim Willoughby also grew up in Napoleonville.)

On any given Sunday, there was a family cookout featuring McBride’s great-grandmother’s gumbo and a boiling pot of crawfish, crabs, potatoes, sausages and corn. The family would watch NFL games into the evening, McBride said, “hang around, call it a night, and then eat leftovers the next day.”

And McBride would try to emulate a Hall of Fame receiver.

“Growing up, I always modeled myself after Randy Moss,” McBride said. “The speed. His vertical. The way he catches the ball. The way he runs his routes. The way he runs after the catch. And how he always goes up for the ball. I always tried to be like him. I’ve always been called ‘Moss’ since I was young.”

McBride is 3 inches shorter and 45 pounds lighter than the 6-4 Moss, who played at 210 pounds. But McBride, who has a 431 /4-inch vertical jump, is capable of running 40 yards in 4.4 seconds. He also is diligent in his workouts.

After practices, he works on different types of catches, from over-the-shoulder to varying heights. He also practices one-handed catches. “You can’t catch enough balls,” McBride said.

In his room, he plays catch with a tennis ball or football. To strengthen his grip, he palms a basketball.

He often goes to a park, field or the beach to run routes. “It’s good to run on the beach, it makes your legs stronger,” McBride said.

McBride proudly wears jersey No. 7. Growing up as an LSU fan, McBride noted, former Tigers standouts Tyrann Mathieu and Leonard Fournette wore that number.

“Where I’m from, No. 7 is a very meaningful number,” McBride said. “It’s being an impactful player. If you’re No. 7, you have to be a dog. That’s the way I look at it from my eyes.”

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