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UNC’s Steele hopes to make an impact
University of Northern Colorado tight end Doug Steele didn’t get a chance to have much of an impact last season, but he should this year if he gets his head on right.
Steele, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound junior, did start in four games last season and caught 12 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, but sat behind senior Sam Sewell most of the season after transferring from Pima Community College in Tucson.
With Sewell gone and Steele playing this year in the new spread, no-huddle offense of head coach Earnest Collins, Steele is expected to see more balls thrown his way this season as the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart right now.
In fact, the tight ends all could become a bigger part of the Bears’ offense this season.
“If they can get done what we need them to get done, they can be a big part of our offense,” Collins said. “They will all have a role and with Doug Steele being as athletic as he is, he can be a big part of it.”
Collins said that so can sophomore Austin Wilbers, and former Eaton High School standout Cameron Stewart because of their good hands, and junior Darin McDonald, once he recovers from an injury.
However, it is Steele who could have the greatest impact because of his size and athletic talent. Right now it is just the mental game that he needs to work on.
“What I have to work on most is being full-speed, full-time,” Steele said. “I kind of take some plays off that I know I am not going to get the ball and stuff like that. And I have been really working hard to make myself the best player that I can be and be full-speed, full-time.”
That is exactly what Collins is looking for from his junior tight end.
“Doug has all the athletic ability in the world, there is no question about that,” Collins said. “Doug just has to learn how to work. That is Doug’s biggest issue. Doug has to work. If Doug decides he is going to work at this game, he could be pretty good.”
With his ability, Steele knows he has the potential to become an all-Big Sky Conference player this season. However, that is not what he is concentrating on.
“At my full potential, I think I will be the best player that I can be,” Steele said. “If I am all-conference, then I am all-conference. If I am not, then I am not. I am just out here to be the best that I can and help the team as best as I can.”
Steele was a big-play receiver for the Bears last season with a fourth of his catches going for touchdowns, including three in the final four games. Steele is hoping that in the new offense he will get even more chances to touch the football.
“I am hoping to catch passes more,” Steele said. “We will see what happens, though. That is what I am hoping is to get balls and make plays, which I thought I was good at last year. We’ll see what happens there.”
That seems likely. In the new offense, the tight ends get opportunities to line up in a spread formation like the receivers, giving them the chance to create mismatches with linebackers.
“It is a nice changeup to be able to take our hands off the ground and be able to see the defense and be out there as an athlete with our feet spread, instead of in the 3-point (stance),” said Wilbers, the 6-2, 220-pounder out of Cherry Creek High School. “So it is nice, but football is the best even if I am in the clump or outside running around.”
Coaches in no hurry to announce UNC’s starting QB
While fans and media are eagerly waiting to hear who the starting quarterback will be for the University of Northern Colorado football team, quarterbacks coach Jon Boyer and head coach Earnest Collins are in no hurry to make an announcement.
They want to give their quarterbacks a chance to know first.
An announcement on the starting quarterback was expected Thursday after practice, but Boyer wanted time to review the film of Thursday’s practice and then let the quarterbacks know before announcing the decision.
Collins has left the decision to Boyer, but told him that he wants a decision by this morning, so word will come by then, Collins told the media Thursday.
There is a three-way battle for the starting job between senior quarterback and last year’s starter Dylan Orms, junior Matt Baca and sophomore Seth Lobato.
Collins had said he wanted a starter in place two weeks before the season opener against Lindenwood on Sept. 3, but Boyer asked to be given the last three days to evaluate each quarterback one more time.
Orms got his chance to take most of the snaps Tuesday, while Baca got the majority on Wednesday and Lobato on Thursday.
UNC TO PLAY NORTHERN IOWA IN HOME-AND-HOME SERIES: The University of Northern Iowa announced that they have reached agreement on a home-and-home series with UNC football starting in 2013.
The game will be at Nottingham Field on Sept. 21, 2013 with the game next season in Cedar Falls on Sept. 6, 2014.
Collins was asked about the series, but has his mind on only one thing.
“Lindenwood,” Collins said. “That is all I am worried about. I am not thinking about next year or two years from now. Lindenwood, that is my focus.”
By Matt Schuman, Greeley Tribune