Ayden Eberhardt on Wyoming Football’s Receivers: ‘We’ve got to Execute’
LARAMIE -- Wyoming's official roster says Ayden Eberhardt is a communications major.
If that doesn't work it out, he has a long career ahead of him in politics.
The Cowboys' super senior receiver spoke to the media for nearly 13 minutes Tuesday evening. He smiled and was as friendly as always. But, if you think you're getting anything out of him about the team's new offensive scheme under first-year coordinator Tim Polasek, you're barking up the wrong tree.
"I'm not at liberty to say a whole lot," Eberhardt grinned when asked if the wide outs are going to be a much bigger part of the grand plan in Laramie. "But, I'm really excited for this next year. So, I can't wait."
What is it like playing for Polasek and learning this new system? What's different from his last five years under Brent Vigen?
Eberhardt started his response by reiterating that he is not talking negatively about the former offensive coordinator, adding that Vigen gave him plenty of opportunities. Then he brought up a couple of words we've been hearing an awful lot of since Polasek strolled onto campus in early February -- "Positive energy."
"There's so much energy from him, and then all the other coaches, as well," Eberhardt said. "So that's been really nice to see. And, you know, practices have been pretty fun out there."
Is that a new change?
"It's a passion, is how I look at it," he said. "Everyone's yelling and we're all passionate about doing this. We love this game and we want to win football games. We're going to put points on the board.
"We all have the same common goal."
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There's one thing Eberhardt wasn't about to deny, having a new game plan on that side of the ball is bringing excitement to the entire roster -- even the defense.
"I think it's kind of like in Madden (video game), when you find a new play that works," he smiled. "We've just got some different concepts and some different things that we've been trying out and seeing what we can do and what personnel we have. Who can do what and kind of going from there. So, it's been really cool to kind of be testing the limits of who can do what we can do, as an offense."
Wyoming linebacker Charles Hicks has definitely noticed a difference.
"They move a lot more -- a lot more," he said. "There's a lot of moving pieces ... They're getting on the ball quick, lining up fast and snapping the ball, so that makes us have to line up faster. They're trying to throw us off everyday."
He even admitted to getting winded.
"Oh yeah," he added. "When they are lining up fast, it's like, OK, we have to step up and get rolling."
And speaking of personnel in the wide receiver room, junior wide receiver Gunner Gentry, UW head coach Craig Bohl announced last week, will miss "several months" with a knee injury. Dontae Crow is no longer with the program, either. That leaves Eberhardt and a mostly young, unproven group of wide outs to snag balls from Sean Chambers and Levi Williams this spring.
Losing Gentry hurts, Eberhardt said, but it does open doors for some other players not named Isaiah Neyor to make some plays.
He was asked who those guys might be. Let's just say Congressman Eberhardt wasn't singling anyone out.
"Well, obviously I'm the oldest one here, so if I had a real answer for you, it would be all the younger kids," he laughed.
We don't know what he knows, but we do know this: Wyoming is returning just three healthy receivers who caught a ball last season.
Eberhardt led the team with 16 receptions for 252 yards.
Neyor caught eight balls for 248 yards.
Devin Jennings snagged one for seven yards.
Basically, Eberhardt said, it's simply time to put up or shut up.
"Now, we can talk about this and talk about that; what's looking good in practice and what's not, but when it comes down to it, we've got to execute the moment," he said. "We've got to show up during the games next year.
"... It all starts in practice. We can't just go out there in a game and just kind of toss it up and try to make something work or anything like that."
This is it for Eberhardt. He's been in Laramie since 2016, and thanks to COVID-19 and an NCAA ruling, he, along with six other UW seniors, will get one more collegiate season.
Last fall, Eberhardt had one breakout game against Border War rival Colorado State. That November night in Fort Collins, just 14 miles from his hometown of Loveland, Eberhardt hauled in seven passes for 132 yards. He showed the fan base he could do it. He showed his teammates he could do it.
Most importantly, he showed himself he can be a big time playmaker that this team so desperately needs.
Pressure does come with that. For Eberhardt, it's the internal kind.
"You know, quite a bit," he said. "I wouldn't say it's too much pressure to where it's weighing me down or anything like that, but with a new offense too this is kind of a fresh start. I mean, we all aren't going to kid ourselves here, the last couple years here haven't been great with the wide receiver corps or passing the ball. So, I know we all put a pressure on ourselves -- quarterbacks, wide receivers, running backs, everybody has been -- coaches, too.
"We all know what we need to do. We've just been trying to go through plays and execute in practice."