(This is the third in a position-by-position Q&A series on University of Central Arkansas football. Interviews were selected players were conducted after spring drills)
The Bears’ receiving corps has no seniors.
Junior Dezmin Lewis has made some big plays in the past and seems ready to lead a corps that is young, but versatile and talented.
6-4, 206, Jr.
How much better of a receiver are you now?
"I think I’ve learned a lot since my freshman year. I’ve gotten better and matured. I feel I’m more aggressive with the ball. I feel every time the ball goes into the air it’s mine. Everytime Wynrick throws to me, I promise him I’ll bring it down."
What are you working on for this season?
"More flexibility with my routes. Better route running. Creating space from the defenders and being ‘that’ receiver instead of a receiver."
What about your receiver corps?
"Our receiver corps is young but talented. I feel we will have different ways to attack the defense now. Rather than just the jump ball or the bubble screen, we’ll have more things in our playbook."
What did you learn from last year?
"We, as a team, can get better by playing all four quarters rather than putting us in those predicaments and situations of having to bust our tails at the end and pull out a stunning win. I feel this year we will have to play a full game rather than waiting to the end. That caught up with us in the playoffs."
What about this year?
"We’ve got to stay humble and grounded — and not settle by what we’ve accomplished in the past. We want a bigger ring rather than just a conference ring."
6-2, 206, So.,
What has been your biggest adjustment in transferring to UCA?
"I had to learn new stuff and learn a new way of life. By end of spring, I feel I’ve adapted well and I feel I can help this team get where I want to be and where we want to be.
"The offense is not complicated but it’s a matter of learning a whole new system. Everything is different. Offenses are always similar but the communication and words used are a lot different. For me it was learning to communicate the way they communicate."
What about your wide receiver corps?
"Some of these receivers could have started at Southern Miss when I was there and that’s not saying anything against Southern Miss players. It’s about the players we have here. It’s the best group of receivers I’ve ever been around and the fact that we don’t have one senior excites me a lot."
What about the offense?
"Even going two personnel deep, it seems there is nothing missing. We have what it takes to do what bigtime offenses do. That’s one of the first things I saw when I was deciding if I wanted to go here."
How has it been to work with Wynrick Smothers?
"I knew the quarterback was one of the best around. Eager to get on the field and catch balls from him. You catch his football with a good tight spiral, but that’s only one thing he brings to the table. He has his legs, too. If you’re not getting the ball as a receiver, you better turn your head and find where Wynrick is because he’s running somewhere. Once you get 20, 30 yards down field and you’re not carrying the ball, you’re looking to make a block because he is right behind you. He makes plays when there are no plays to be made."
6-2, 211, So.
Transfer, Air Force
How has the transition been to UCA?
Very different. Air Force is a run-first team. This is my first time to be in a pass offense. In high school, we were also a run-first team. It’s a blessing to be in a passing offense and getting the opportunity to make plays. You cant make the next level catching two balls, three balls a game."
What has been the biggest adjustment?
"How strict they are with routes. At Air Force there are not a whole lot of routes to pick from. I haven’t been taught how to run real, crisp correct routes, knowing how deep you can get, cutting off certain keys, reading the coverages.
What are you working on to improve?
"I’m trying to be comfortable there running the right plays and the right routes. When I first got here, I was kind of lackadaisical. coach Conque stayed on me."
6-1, 198, RSFR
How does it feel a regular part of team?
"It’s a very talented bunch; just to be a part of it is something special. We don’t have one senior. Where I’m from (Bentonville High School), I grew up with my receiving corps five-plus years. I know that camaraderie at that position leads to success for the entire team."
What’s the biggest adjustment going into the spring?
"Making plays is not a sometimes thing. You have to do it every chance you get."
What about your offense?
"I enjoy the offense with the spread but also how we utilize the running back. It’s kind of a push-pull type of relationship. We can trust our running backs to pound it in and pound it hard and when they (the defenders) get tired we can go to the receivers."
Have you had to make a different mental adjustment after playing on the scout team last year?
"At the beginning of spring, I was a little jumbled up in our offense. I started to get comfortable and move along better."
POSITION ANALYSIS: Dezmin Lewis is a proven playmaker. The development of several young receivers during the spring could turn the position from a question mark to a strength. The Bears seem to be in good shape inside and outside with as much length as they’ve had on the outside.
NEXT: Offensive Line