FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – First-year wide receivers coach Tim Plough has plenty to be excited about this upcoming season. Plough has the top three receivers from a year ago under his wing, as they accounted for more than half of the total receiving yards.
"Coach Plough has taught us a lot," said wide receiver Nick Cole. "He really knows what he is doing. We've gotten better each day and I'm ready for the season."
Northern Arizona returns 1,335 yards and 12 touchdowns between returning lettermen Cole, Dejzon Walker and Ify Umodu. Walker led the unit last year with 505 yards, but it was Umodu who had a team-high six receiving touchdowns. Cole added 349 yards on 25 catches.
"I think we have a lot of talented leaders returning," said Plough. "Whenever you come back from a season with the kind of success NAU had last year, there's always a lot of excitement and I'm happy to be a part of it."
Senior Jesse Brantley and sophomore Alex Holmes have both caught some impressive passes during fall camp, as they look to battle the trio of Cole, Walker and Umodu for playing time. Brantley caught nine passes for 98 yards and one touchdown last season. Redshirt freshman Hayden Sovacki will also challenge the group for playing time.
"This is going to be a great season," said Umodu. "We're showing a lot of talent. Coach Plough is teaching us from the quarterback's perspective, which allows us to be able to read the defense better. It's been an overall growth for us."
With the size and quickness that NAU has returning, it only enhances the depth of their roster.
"The newcomers were thrown into the fire early on due to some minor injuries by the veterans, so they have had a chance to get a lot of reps," said Plough. "There will be some mistakes at first, but they've been coming along really well.
With 12 wide receivers on the roster, this offensive unit will be stacked full of talent from top to bottom.
Position Preview Schedule
Aug. 14 – Offensive Line
Aug.15 – Tight Ends and Fullbacks
Aug. 16 – Wide Receivers
Aug. 17 – Running Backs
Aug. 19 – Quarterbacks
Aug. 20 – Linebackers
Aug. 21 – Defensive Line
Aug. 22 – Secondary
Aug. 23 - Special Teams