Pair of wideouts looking to solidify passing game
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
After losing five wide receivers to graduation in 2011, The UTEP Miners have only two returning wide receivers for the 2012 season, including leading receiver senior Mike Edwards.
With plenty of young personnel, both Edwards and sophomore Jordan Leslie, will be the leaders and backbone of the passing game.
Wide receivers coach Guy Holliday is pleased to see that his two experienced players are taking a leading role in the team.
“Our expectations follow what we’ve always done,” Holliday said. “We are the bomb squad of UTEP, so we expect to perform, we have a high level of expectation, and they buy into it, and we’re going to do what we always do, make plays.”
Holliday said newcomers perform better than expected and added that players such as sophomores Malcolm Trails and Jim Jones had an outstanding camp during the summer. He also said that Ian Hamilton has shown good signs of being a great player, just needs to be more consistent.
During the 2011 regular season Edwards and Leslie produced 40 percent of the total offensive yards.
Edwards recorded 50 receptions for 657 yards, averaged 54.8 yards per game and scored three touchdowns. He had at least two receptions every game and had five in five different games. Meanwhile, Leslie had a total of 30 receptions for 430 yards.
Both players also have had to adapt to a new role in the team, which is to help the incoming receivers for the Miners.
“We got a lot of young receivers so we’ve being coaching them up and helping them to come in and make big plays,” Leslie said. ”We have young receivers like (freshman) Jaquan White coming in and a few more, they are very quick learners, they picked up the plays well and it’s fun to teach them.”
The scrimmages that the team has held at the Sun Bowl, prior to the season, helped them to improve in various aspects.
“All you can do is show them how to work,” Edwards said. “You have to get in their ear, talk to them, and teach them what to do and how to do it, so that they are ready for the games, because this season, every game is a big game.”
One of the strengths of the group of wide receivers is the depth. Holliday has variety of players from which to choose, and despite being very young Holliday said he admires the work ethic of his players.
“We feel we should be okay, we need to get through the first games and give our guys experience on the field.” Holliday said.
The passing game did very little during the 24-7 loss to Oklahoma Sept. 1. Leslie was the only of the two with a reception in the game that went for negative yardage.
Edwards, who also serves as the starting punt returner, suffered a concussion in the final minutes against the Sooners. According to head coach Mike Price, he will likely miss the upcoming contest against Ole Miss Sept. 8 in Oxford, Miss.
Edwin Delgado may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.