Photo Credit: FAU Athletics

While coaching wide receivers at Texas, Drew Mehringer saw the development of multiple wide receivers, including three NFL wide receivers.

In 2018, the Texas trio of Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Devin Duvernay, and Collin Johnson combined for 2,707 yards and 20 touchdowns. Now, the trio sees their names in the NFL. In 2018, Humphrey went undrafted before being signed by the New Orleans Saints. Duvernay and Johnson were selected by the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively, in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Using What He’s Learned

Now co-offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic, Mehringer is ready to use what he learned from Texas with his new group of wide receivers.

“Those three particularly were willing to challenge everything that you taught and they made me a better coach,” Mehringer said. “They weren’t rude or anything like that but ‘coach, why? Coach, why?’ Those guys were always hungry for more information — wanted to improve technique, wanted to understand the game from a quarterback perspective. They really made me a better coach because they were professional football players even before they left for the NFL.”

Although Mehringer has only had a few weeks with the FAU wide receivers, he has seen a promising start from them.

“I think that to be totally fair to our players, they’re unbelievably football smart — one of the smartest football teams in terms of players I’ve been around,” Mehringer explained. “In terms of them picking up what we’re trying to install out on the field, it’s been way better than I thought it would be.”

There have been expected struggles with the team’s techniques and fundamentals but overall, it has been a success for both Mehringer and the players. Not only has Mehringer seen success from the wide receivers, but the receivers have had praise for Mehringer.

“Coach Mehringer is a very personable guy. He is not the common football coach,” graduate transfer wide receiver Aaron Young said. “He is very relatable. One that you can talk to almost about anything. He has valuable input on more than just football, just life in general. Very, very smart. He has valuable input about more than football, and football as well.”

A Revamped Corps of Pass-Catchers

Mehringer, however, does face question marks at the position. Overall, the Owls return just limited receiving production and must find replacements for Harrison Bryant, Pico Harrison, and DeAngelo Antoine. Senior John Mitchell is the team’s most productive returning receiver but the team has transfers behind them.

One player that could make an impact for Mehringer is Cincinnati transfer Yanez Rogers. Rogers, an alumnus of Pampano Beach-Blanche Ely, is relatively new to the wide receiver position and is still learning the position, according to Mehringer. Rogers caught just one pass in his Cincinnati career and did not see the field in 2019. After receiving a waiver from the NCAA, Rogers is immediately eligible in 2020.

“Part of him is still learning the position right now,” Mehringer said. “I think that the idea that you just go out there and you run routes and then you just catch the ball when you throw it to them is an antiquated idea in terms of the position of what the position is nowadays. … He has been one of the most steady improvement players that we’ve had. To where his first day out there was not real good, but then he’s kind of just brick-by-brick had better and better days.”

In terms of returning talent, senior slot receiver Willie Wright should provide a solid piece to the FAU offense. Viewed as a slot receiver by Mehringer and the offense, Wright should see additional time compared to his junior season.

“He’s a guy that’s played a lot of football here,” Mehringer said. “No one is ever going to accuse him of being tall or anything like that, but he’s got speed, he can change direction, been very vocal for our team. When he’s out there and he’s going, he’s a good player for us.”