MORGANTOWN - It was silly, really.
To think West Virginia wide receiver Ivan McCartney would be down after last season was, in retrospect, absurd.
McCartney is, after all, the cousin of outspoken Cincinnati Bengals wideout Chad Ochocinco.
So it will take more than a season in which McCartney had but one catch for 4 yards to get him down.
"I don't doubt myself," McCartney said after WVU's practice Wednesday. "I don't regret anything. I just work hard. What happens in the past is in the past."
You might think McCartney is simply putting on a brave front. There's no way he can avoid being a little shaken, right? After all, the guy hit WVU as one of the most highly touted recruits in recent years. Was a Florida Class 6A first-team all-state player. Was a member of the Sporting News Top 35 recruiting list. Was named the No. 1 receiver in talent-rich Broward County. Heck, he was a member of the Miami Herald's Top 5 in South Florida.
So to hit Morgantown, participate in 12 games and 125 plays and finish with one catch ... well, it's not what one expected.
"Not at all," McCartney said. "But it was a learning process, and it motivates me for this year. I mean, I'm not planning on going through another year of not playing that much and having one catch for just 4 yards. It motivates me to work harder and do what I have to do."
That motivation could pay off in a big way. Of all the players on WVU's team, McCartney could be the biggest beneficiary of new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen's "Air Raid" offense.
"Coach Holgorsen spreads the ball around a lot," McCartney said. "Everybody touches the ball, and more than just one time. I feel real good about the upcoming season."
Also, despite the lack of production last season, McCartney feels good about himself. Real good. As in channel-the-inner-Ochocinco good.
"When it comes to me, think of [Houston Texans All-Pro] Andre Johnson," McCartney said. "Think of Chad Ochocinco. I play the way they play. You put those two together and you would get me."
You may think that's bluster. McCartney does not.
"The Andre Johnson aspect would be my height, ball skills, jumping in the air and catching the ball and getting down the field," said the 6-foot-3, 176-pound sophomore. "With Chad Ochocinco, I'm talking about route running, catching and moves after the catch, those types of things."
He should get the chance to prove himself. Wearing No. Cinco, he's currently the starter at the outside "X" position. Then there's the matter of Holgorsen's offense. And there's also the talk from receivers coach Shannon Dawson that at least one Mountaineer could finish the season with 100 catches.
"Right now," McCartney said, "our focus is on doing our part to help out the team. If those 100 balls come, those 100 balls come."
The Miramar, Fla., product is confident. But he's confident in his teammates as well as himself.