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SUU T-Birds seek new passing targets
In Brad Sorensen’s first season at quarterback for the Southern Utah football team, he had two tremendous targets.
Of Sorensen’s 261 pass completions in 2010, 167 - nearly 64 percent of the total - were divided between Tysson Poots (85) and Fesi Sitake (82).
With the 2011 season opener a little more than two weeks away (Sept. 3 at South Dakota State), one big question for the T-Birds on the offensive front is relatively obvious.
Who will see the football coming their way through the air? With Poots and Sitake both graduated, a new receiving corps is beginning to take shape.
Among the fresh targets Sorensen will have are seniors Austin Minefee and Jared Ursua. Minefee, a Canyon View alumnus, ranked third on SUU with 27 catches for 257 yards.
Minefee knows that adjustments in the team’s approach will be required.
“The first thing we’re looking for is for guys to step up,” he said. “There are some injuries right now, but we have veterans who can step up and give a balance to the running game.”
Even with Sorensen’s numbers that included a school-record 3,163 yards through the air with 21 touchdowns and only six interceptions, Minefee isn’t letting them go to his head.
“We haven’t set any kind of standard,” he said. “We’ll just go out there and play our game. Our coaches have great scouting reports for the teams we’ll be playing.”
Ursua only caught eight passes from Sorensen last season, but two went for touchdowns, including a 70-yarder against Texas State in Week 4. The senior believes Sorensen is the biggest weapon for the T-Bird passing game.
“The one fortunate thing we have as a receiving corps is a talented quarterback,” Ursua said. “(Brad) knows where the ball needs to be.
“I don’t think there’s a receiver here anywhere near the caliber of Fesi and Poots, but we’re aware of what we need to do. We fill our specific roles and Brad makes up the difference.”
Although several receivers have dealt with injuries in the first two weeks of fall camp, T-Bird head coach Ed Lamb is impressed with the development of several key underclassmen, including tight ends Jameson Gann and Anthony Norris along with wide receiver Brady Measom.
“Measom has been a pleasant surprise for us all through training camp,” Lamb said.
Gann is a redshirt sophomore, while Norris and Measom are both freshmen.
In addition to defending its first Great West Conference title this season, SUU will be getting a good look at its future as six of its 11 games will be played against Big Sky opponents, starting with the home opener against Sacramento State on Sept. 10.
“There’s an expectation level, but I think it’s more from the public,” Minefee said. “As a team, we have high standards, but we’re not there yet. Once we iron out our mistakes, we’ll make a run (for the Great West title) again.”
Added Ursua: “The goals we have set are to continue what we’ve already established, including dominance in the Great West and finding our niche in the Big Sky.”
By Tom Zulewski, The Spectrum