SALT LAKE CITY — Triple digits. That’s what Utah wide receivers Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott have in mind for the upcoming season. The juniors would like to combine for 100 receptions.
“At least. We’ve just got to make big plays for our team,” said Anderson, who added that it’s all about having the confidence to do so. “We’ve got to go out there with a swagger and every time we step on the field just know that when the ball comes our way that we’re going to get it no matter what — contested balls, free balls, just catch everything.”
A year ago, Anderson and Scott had 36 and 32 receptions, respectively. Upping the combined total to at least 100 is just fine with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
“If that’s the case, that’s great,” he said. “Because we need them to be more productive than last year. We didn’t get enough production in the throw game.”
Utah averaged just 190.7 yards per game passing in 2012 with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
While noting that it wasn’t just the receivers at fault, Whittingham said if the Utes are going to improve on last season’s 5-7 record, then they have to throw the ball a lot better.
“It was a team-wide thing. We weren’t good enough on offense. The receivers didn’t do our part, some of the other position groups maybe didn’t do theirs as well as they should, either,” said passing game coordinator and receivers coach Aaron Roderick. “So now we’re just focusing on doing our job as a part of the collective whole. But last year is over. We’re going forward.”
Anderson and Scott, who have both been in the program since redshirting in 2010, are leading the receiving corps.
“They’ve both been in the program for four years now and so they know exactly what’s expected of them,” said Whittingham.
Both are determined to get the Utes back to a bowl game. Scott said he thinks about last year’s miss every day. It’s also on Anderson’s mind.
“That hurts the most. Utah has been known for winning bowl games. Not just for getting there but winning them,” he said. “So not even making it to one, that’s heartbreaking for our whole Ute Nation. So we never want to put our team in that predicament again.”
As such, word of their goal to combine for 100 catches caught Roderick off-guard.
“I don’t know where that number came from. In fact I’ve talked to them about just winning games,” he said. “But we do what to have a bunch of catches from those guys. I wouldn’t really put a number on it, but we need production from them.”
While noting the need for more big plays and an increase in explosive plays, Roderick said Anderson and Scott have always been leaders. Both players are on the verge of graduating as juniors — Anderson is a mass communication major, while Scott is enrolled in family and consumer studies.
“They’re kids that do everything we ask them to do. They really work hard and they’re great guys,” Roderick said. “They’ve always been leaders. They just didn’t have experience to really demonstrate it, and now I think they’ve played enough ball that hopefully this year we’re going to see some great things out of them.”
Quarterback Travis Wilson has high expectations for the duo.
“Kenneth and Dres have been doing outstanding this whole offseason and this whole beginning of fall camp,” he said. “I’d love to give them both 100 receptions for this year. So they’re definitely going to be some main targets for me, and I’m really excited to have them.”
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