Football: Family heritage pushes Anderson’s game

Junior wide receiver Dres Anderson sprints past BYU defenders on Sept. 21in Provo. Anderson's father Willie aka Flipper played in the NFL for ten seasons. — Chad Zavala
Junior wide receiver Dres Anderson sprints past BYU defenders on Sept. 21in Provo. Anderson’s father Willie aka Flipper played in the NFL for ten seasons. — Chad Zavala

In the mid 1980s, Willie “Flipper” Anderson made his mark on UCLA football and now sits in 10th place on the Bruins’ all-time career receiving yards list. After his college career, he spent 10 years in the NFL.
On Thursday night, his son, Utah wide receiver Dres Anderson, wants UCLA fans to remember just how much the Anderson family is known for explosive plays.
“I’m pretty sure by the end of the game I want them to know me very well and really just know the Utes, you know,” he said. “We’re just looking at this game as taking first place in the [Pac-12] South and just getting a head start in the Pac-12.”
Dres Anderson grew up a Bruins fan but said his father never pushed him to choose UCLA over other schools. Flipper Anderson always encouraged his highly recruited son to consider which school was best for him. Now that the younger Anderson plays for the Utes, he said his whole family has been quick to forget their association with the Bruins — at least for now.
“They’re 100 percent Utah this week. You know, they’re gonna ride for me no matter what,” Dres Anderson said. “They just want me to have the best game and for the Utes to come out on top.”
Anderson is having the best season of his career. He has already amassed 404 yards on 18 receptions and has scored on three of those catches, and he isn’t planning on slowing down for the Bruins despite the family ties to UCLA.
While being undoubtedly satisfied with his colossal numbers, Anderson is quick to put his team first. He credits Utah’s coaching staff, especially new co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson, for finding ways to break him loose downfield.
“The up-tempo thing tires out the defense, and me having speed, it’s a lot easier to get behind a defense and run a lot,” Anderson said. “I already know Erickson’s always setting us up for success, so every time he calls a play, we know that it can go the whole way. We just gotta execute.”
Execution falls on the shoulders of the entire offense, and Anderson isn’t the only one delivering, as quarterback Travis Wilson has been dishing out passing yards all over the field. He’s having a season worth national attention, and Anderson’s success is a direct result of that.
“[I’m] very proud of him,” Anderson said of Wilson. “He’s only a true sophomore, and he’s showing so much promise this year. He’s consistent, and every game he’s coming with it. We just pray that he keeps it up.”
Anderson has been doing his fair share of bolstering Wilson’s numbers, too. Once the ball is delivered, Anderson has been reluctant to go down and has gained many of his yards after the catch.
“You gotta get that YAC, man. Once you get that ball, you gotta get loose with it,” Anderson said. “Don’t get tackled by the first person. Even if they pull your pants down, you gotta drag ‘em for somethin’.”
A junior, Anderson is looking to follow in his father’s NFL footsteps and said he isn’t done putting up big numbers.
“Oh, no, no, no, nowhere near,” he said. “We’re only on our, what, fifth game? So we got a lot more, you know, big time things to do.”