- By John Antonik
- July 12, 2011 10:56 AM
Tyler Urban is a popular man these days after the way he performed last spring in coach Dana Holgorsen’s new offense. The ex-tight end, who used to spend most of his time with the tackles, defensive ends, linebackers and fullbacks, is now a 250-pound pass catcher working with guys much, much smaller than him.
That means slightly different workouts for Urban this summer.
“I’ve been working with combos with the linebackers and fullbacks running, and I’m trying to make all of the offensive skill times,” Urban said. “Even in the weight room, I’ve been doing a little different workout - not doing as much heavy lifting trying to get that speed. I’ve even been doing agility stations with all of the wide receivers, so I’ve kind of been kind of tricking myself into being really fast.”
Urban said he talked to Holgorsen after spring practice to get a feel for where the head coach wanted his weight to be when fall camp starts in August. Right now Urban says he weighs 252 pounds.
“I asked him what he wanted me to play at and he said around 250 is fine,” Urban said. “I’m back up to around 250-252 (after dropping to 244 during spring practice), but I’m sure when camp comes along with the heat I’m going to lose weight again.”
Urban admits the workouts strength and conditioning coach Mike Joseph has been putting the players through this summer are geared more toward Holgorsen’s fast-paced offense.
“I think we’ve been going at a higher pace because we’ve got this new offense coming in with a much faster tempo,” Urban explained. “There are more agility stations and more conditioning afterwards. We have hit the hill a couple more times this summer. We’re just trying to prepare for the season.”
Urban believes he is in excellent shape and it’s now a matter of working on flexibility and speed for the remainder of the month to get ready for camp.
Like some of the holdover players unsure what Holgorsen’s offense was going to mean for him as a former tight end, Urban had his doubts that he would fit in. That obviously has changed after the way he performed last spring, along with Holgorsen’s willingness to throw him the football. Urban has had more balls thrown to him in a single spring practice than he had thrown to him in three previous years playing tight end, his 17 career catches for 203 yards nothing really to write home about in an offense that is designed to have many different guys catching many passes.
“I know when I first found out about the offense I wasn’t real thrilled about it, but after spring ball I got a little bit more comfortable,” he said. “I’m just taking it with open arms now. I liked how it went during spring ball and I’m trying to continue that.”
Urban is presently No. 1 on the depth chart at Y receiver, but he is smart enough to know a summertime depth chart is only temporary.
“I know we’ve got all these new freshmen coming in and they are going to mix it up a little bit so it’s just whatever is going to fit – how we perform during fall camp is going to determine how we are going to play in September,” he said.
Despite that, Urban is confident he will remain in the mix when fall camp begins.
“I always had confidence in myself, but during spring ball that definitely boosted my confidence and I just hope to build on that,” said Urban.
And while the reviews for Urban’s spring performance were outstanding, he knows there are still plenty of things he needs to work on when the games count in September.
“I found out the things I need to work on during spring ball, and I’m trying to do all of that this summer trying to catch up and just try and build on that,” Urban said.
“I’ve got to be on the JUGS machine. I’ve got to catch balls every day,” he continued. “I’ve got to work on some of my releases. I’ve got to work on my route running and just try and play fast and with a quick tempo. I’m not necessarily the fastest, but I’m going to try and play at a fast pace all the time.”
West Virginia University Mountaineers