Utah football: Junior receiver Christopher wasn't off during offseason
The recent offseason was like no other for Utah receiver DeVonte Christopher. And believe it or not, it had nothing to do with "Twittergate."
Utah's junior receiver made a bigger splash at the Las Vegas Bowl with Twitter than he did on the field by referring to Boise State as "Girlse State."
Christopher, who was Utah's leading receiver with 660 yards and six touchdown catches, didn't have a reception in the Utes' 26-3 loss.
That defeat was a bitter one for the Utes and particularly Christopher, but he said it wasn't because of the controversy he caused.
More than that, the game was a revelation for him in understanding he had a lot more work to do to be the kind of receiver he wanted to be.
Enter the offseason, when Christopher said he worked harder than ever to get ready for the 2011 year.
"I took a whole other mentality on and fully focused on being a receiver and the best player I could be," said the Las Vegas native, who signed with the Utes out of high school as a quarterback. "Whether the Twitter thing happened or not or we lost that game or not, I knew I had to take a whole other approach."
The player who has a reputation for being hot or cold spent more time working out with his Utah teammates, but also worked out when he went back home to Nevada. He worked with a running coach on his routes and on his catching. Off the field, he met with a nutritionist and changed his diet habits, too.
Except for the occasional stop at Jack in the Box, Christopher ate a disciplined diet that helped him put on eight pounds of muscle.
"I worked on everything," he said. "What I ate, my sleeping habits and all that. A lot of people don't know how much that affects you but it does. I didn't go out as much. I spent a lot of time at home."
So far the work appears to have paid off as Christopher has had a very strong camp and is slated to start. Quarterback Jordan Wynn maintains he can't have a go-to receiver that guy has to be whoever is open but he and Christopher have worked so much together they have turned into a strong duo, on the field and off.
"He is taking it seriously this year, all of us juniors are," Wynn said. "This junior class, we are all a year older and we have come together and know we aren't underclassmen anymore. We've taken over along with the seniors."
Christopher hopes he can take over against opponents, too, and end his streak of being an inconsistent player, something receivers coach Aaron Roderick reminds him of frequently.
"We don't want those peaks and valleys," Roderick said. "We want him to be steady all the time. He has the tendency of being hard on himself and when he doesn't do well, he fades but we need him to be steady all the time."
Christopher gets that message.
"The coaches talked to me about doing that this summer and being an every-down player and they are right," he said. "I didn't think about it before but the young guys are looking to me to keep things going. People forget this is only my third or fourth year at receiver I still need to learn things."
Christopher's 2010 season
Opponent Rec Yrd TD
Pitt 8 155 1
UNLV 1 8 0
New Mexico 2 55 1
San Jose St. 1 6 0
Iowa State 6 124 1
Wyoming 3 40 1
CSU 5 111 1
TCU 6 73 0
Notre Dame 4 32 0
San Diego St. 2 19 0
BYU 1 37 1
Boise St. 0 0 0
Totals 39 660 6