UH offensive players were made available to talk with the media on Thursday afternoon. An offensive player from each of the major position groups was featured: left tackle Patrick Paul, running back Ta’Zhawn Henry, quarterback Clayton Tune, and receiver Nathaniel “Tank” Dell.
Dell led off the Zoom meeting, looking and sounding confident, and was the loose, happy guy his teammates have described for 2.5 years. Dell talked vividly about playing the slot.
“From the slot position you’ve got to play fast and play smart,” Dell said. “I feel like I’m a very smart football player and…can make moves on the run.”
At AAC media day, Dana Holgorsen acknowledged that it was Dell that came to him during the 2021 season begging to be put in the slot position full-time. Dana said he hesitated because he saw him as an outside guy. Dell’s explosiveness and his ability to function as a 3rd down machine make him one of the best slot guys in the country.
“When I get the ball in my hands, I feel like a very dynamic player,” Dell continued. “When I get the ball in my hands, I’m comfortable.”
Dell shared that he will be returning punts this year. He said he spent the entire offseason fielding punts.
“We lost Marcus so I’m the punt returner now,” Dell was proud to announce. He will be replacing Marcus Jones, who obliterated school records in kick return average in a season and a career. Tank is expected to continue as a kick returner as well. He’s returned 18 kickoffs in the last two seasons.
He was then asked about his chemistry with his quarterback. “Me and (Clayton) Tune, it’s like we’ve got the same brain.
“That’s just repetition…we’ve been going in, getting extra reps. The chemistry there is great. Once you get it clicking, it’s unstoppable.”
Dell caught 90 balls last year for 1329 yards and 12 TDs but says his goals for this year are even higher. He wants 100 catches, 15 TDs, and “a lot of yards.”
“I got some big goals. I ain’t gonna tell y’all everything,” he said with a laugh.