HOLLYWOOD, California — As the leading returning receiver in the Pac-12, Utah senior Dres Anderson is a well-known commodity. He caught 53 passes for 1,002 yards last season — leading the conference with 18.2 yards per reception.
Anderson’s ability to make big plays, thus, makes him an obvious focal point of the Utes’ offense.
“People pay attention to him,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “No doubt.”
That was especially true last season when injuries sidelined wide receiver Kenneth Scott and eventually shelved starting quarterback Travis Wilson. Anderson carried a big load for the offense in 2013, logging six 100-yard games receiving.
Continued success, though, may require a little help.
Whittingham said it’ll be the key. The receivers around Anderson — like Scott, junior college transfer Kaelin Clay, Delshawn McClellon, Dominique Hatfield, Geoffrey Norwood and incoming freshmen — need to take some of the pressure off.
“The supporting cast is going to be as important as anything else for Dres’ success,” Whittingham said.
Having additional threats, he added, should allow Anderson to showcase his ability to get vertical.
“If we’re going to be successful he has to do that for us,” Whittingham said.
The son of former NFL star Willie “Flipper” Anderson is eager to do whatever it takes to make the Utes successful.
“I’m a team guy,” he said. “Every time I come into a season I’m coming in with the same focus and hunger, determination just to win every game that we play and be competitive.”
Anderson, who joined defensive end Nate Orchard in representing Utah at the Pac-12 media days, knows it’ll take a unified effort to get it done. He’s also confident that the Utes have the personnel to do it.
“I’ll for sure be a marked man, just because coming into the season I’ve been getting so much hype. But you can’t sleep on our other guys. We’ve got so many weapons ready to come in and do their thing and prove themselves,” Anderson said. “So if you cover me too much, those guys are going to be open. We’ve got playmakers. Some guys you don’t want to see in open space.”