I’m building trust with the quarterbacks and have got to keep making plays. Every chance I get, I need to make that play, whether it’s down the field or across the middle. —Andre Lewis
SALT LAKE CITY — With the likes of Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott grabbing the headlines, Utah receiver Andre Lewis doesn't get much attention.
But the senior wide receiver gives the Utes another good option in their deep receiving corps.
Lewis is listed as Anderson’s backup at the X-receiver position. He’s one of several receivers — along with newcomer Tim Patrick, JC transfer Kaelin Clay, sophomores Delshawn McClellon and Dominique Hatfield, and freshman Kenric Young — who will all be counted on to catch passes for the Utes this year.
“That group has had a complete makeover since spring,’’ said coach Kyle Whittingham. “Andre, he’s working hard and had some days where he’s really shone.’’
Lewis made a tough catch over a defender for a touchdown in a recent practice and also caught a TD pass from starting quarterback Travis Wilson in the Utes' last scrimmage.
“I’m building trust with the quarterbacks and have got to keep making plays,’’ Lewis said. “Every chance I get, I need to make that play, whether it’s down the field or across the middle.’’
At 6 foot 3, 208 pounds, Lewis is one of Utah's tallest receivers. He says his physicality, good hands and leaping ability make him a solid target, especially in the red zone.
Lewis is the younger brother of Steve Johnson, who caught more than 300 passes for the Buffalo Bills over the past six seasons before being traded to San Francisco in the offseason. Even though he didn’t play much for the Utes as a junior, Lewis hopes to take a similar path as his brother — as a late bloomer.
“Looking at my brother’s story ... he went through junior college and played at Kentucky, didn’t play much his junior year, and his senior year he didn’t get a lot of playing time, but still got it done,’’ he said. “Then he was like the last player picked in the draft and got a chance to be a great NFL player. I just hope I get a chance to follow in his footsteps.’’
A BROTHERHOOD: Defensive line coach Ilaisa Tuiaki said he’s got a good group of guys on this year’s squad.
“I don’t have any guys that are selfish. They are guys that understand that we’re going to do what’s best for the team,” he said. “The best guys are going to play. Outside of that, I’m not going to hate or love you because of the way you play. Everybody is going to love each other because we’re a tight group.
“You’re a human being and that’s the way it’s got to be,” Tuiaki continued. “But on the football field, it’s business and we’re competing and after that we’re all brothers.”
SALT SHAKER: Senior Junior Salt is a team leader for a variety of reasons. Whittingham said the starting left guard is a high-character guy with a great work ethic and maturity. The 26-year-old, he added, carries himself well.
“He’s just a great kid,” Whittingham said. “He’s just the type of guy that you love to have in the program that does everything right, on and off the field.”5 comments on this story
Whittingham noted that everybody has a great deal of respect for Salt and that’s why he was elected a captain during the offseason.
“We just expect our leaders to set the bar and then expect everyone else to live up to that level that they set. That’s the function of a leader — to set the bar and make sure that you can rally the troops to get everyone to rise to that level,” Whittingham said. “There’s nothing really unique or different that we tell Junior that we don’t tell all our leaders. That’s what is expected out of all of them. We will vote for captains and announce them Saturday and I full expect him to be elected again.”
EXTRA POINTS: Whittingham said that there may be a little bit of live work with the twos on Thursday, but the ones are done with full contact until the season opener on Aug. 28 against Idaho State. ... No definitive decisions on redshirts will be made until the fourth week of the season. Whittingham estimates that the Utes may end up with a dozen redshirts, but that is to be determined. ... The annual fan fest is set for Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday from 6-9 p.m. ... The "Training Camp Olympics" continued with a basketball hoop on the south end zone. Marcus Williams edged Kenneth Scott in a game of "lightning" redubbed "The NBA 2K14 Challenge."