Taylor Estes - HornsDigest.com

Texas Longhorns Offensive Coaches Overall Consensus - Wide Receiver Position Loaded With Talent In 2017

The Longhorns' are loaded with talent at wideout, returning the Top 3 WR from last season. First-year head coach Tom Herman's offensive assistant coaches weigh-in on the skill sets Texas has at the position in 2017.

There are a lot of unanswered questions pertaining to the direction of Texas football, and in some instances, answers may not be revealed until the season begins.

With all of the uncertainty, one position appears to be on solid ground - wide receiver.

After spending a few hours with the Texas Longhorns' offensive assistants, it very quickly became clear the staff is - as best described by first-year head coach Tom Herman's favorite word - "aligned" in their opinions of the Longhorns' receiving core.

Running backs coach Stan Drayton has noticed flashes of talent all over the roster, but the physical skill sets possessed by the receivers stands out to the assistant.

"I look at that receiving core, and the size, speed and agility that they have, if they get the right mindset, they could become dominant football players," Drayton said. "Charlie (Strong) recruited very well. It's a very young football team, but they are extremely talented."

Drayton is not alone in his thoughts. Offensive coordinator Tim Beck expressed similar remarks about the wideouts.

"I love the receiving core," Beck said. "I think that's a talented group.

"You have every animal in the zoo - you have the tall ones, the fast ones, the means ones, you've got them all."

Wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer walked into a room stacked with talent when he accepted the job at Texas. The Longhorns return the Top 3 receivers from last year - Armanti Foreman, Devin Duvernay and Dorian Leonard - in addition to a load of young talent.

"There are some guys that definitely pass the eye-test," Mehringer said of his unit. "There's some guys with some good speed and good height. That's great and all of that stuff is awesome, but I think it's going to come down to - for this football team, and my unit specifically - can we be mentally tough? 

"When critical situations arise are we willing to discipline our mind and revert back to the way we have been trained to go execute in those types of situations? That's what wins and loses ball games."

QB Shane Buechele did a decent job spreading the ball around during his true freshman campaign. Texas and Texas Tech led Big 12 schools with the most wideouts to have at least 200 yards receiving in 2016 - both teams finished with eight.

But unlike conference opponents, the Longhorns lacked that go-to option at wide receiver. Texas was the only Big 12 team to finish the season without a WR gaining more than 500 yards.

Mehringer is aware of the struggles the team has faced in recent years and knows work needs to be done with his unit. The wideouts have apparently been open to change under the new staff, according to the assistant coach.

"The past is the past," Mehringer said. "I don't think that any of the players are particularly happy with the results they had, and there's a lot that has to change. We're not trying to rip open old wounds, but we're not trying to ignore the past either.

"There are some tools there. There's a little big of rawness that has to improve, but there are a bunch of guys that are willing, and I think that's more important than actual talent.

"You can be the best and most talented player in the world, but if you're not willing to work and improve, then what are we really doing here? There are some willing souls and some guys that are willing to lay down their individual pride, open their heart up and be coached in there, so I think that's the most exciting thing about (the wide receivers)."

While some of the talent is young, the roster of wideouts returning in 2017 has the potential to be dominant. With the proper mix of skill sets and a consistent passing option at QB, the future could be very bright for the Longhorns' wide receivers. 

"Drew's (Mehringer) going to have his hands full," Beck said of the depth at WR. "There's going to be great competition, great competition out there.

"I'm excited to see that group and be able to throw to those guys."

 

 


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