Warhawks' Huber makes noise upon return

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Eric Schmoldt
Friday, October 11, 2013

WHITEWATER--Tyler Huber caught one pass near the sidelines at La Crosse and sprinted the width of the field attempting to get past defenders.

The UW-Whitewater receiver hauled in another Matt Behrendt pass and stormed 77 yards, though the touchdown was called back due to a penalty.

If film from two nonconference games hadn’t already done so, Huber announced to the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference that he’s back after missing nearly all of last season with a broken ankle.

“We don’t time our returning players—that’s more of an offseason thing, so I don’t know on the clock. But he appears to be up to speed to me,” UW-W coach Lance Leipold said. “If he’s not 100 percent to where he was, he’s pretty darn close.”

Huber enters Saturday’s home game against UW-Stout with 15 receptions for 221 yards and three touchdowns in his three games this season.

He was a preseason Division III All-American heading into 2012, what was supposed to be his final season in Whitewater. He was coming off a year where he caught 79 passes fo 1,244 yards and 10 touchdowns in 15 games.

But his senior year ended after just two games after he suffered the injury against Buffalo State when a tackler fell on his leg.

“It was one of the hardest parts of my career, sitting out and having to watch practice and having to watch my teammates play in games,” Huber said. “I couldn’t do anything; I just had to sit on the sidelines, cheer them on and do my best.”

Because he missed so much of the season, he was granted another year of eligibility.

In Huber’s eyes, returning to that top form was never in doubt.

“I knew I was going to be back sooner or later,” he said. “I worked hard during the summer and worked hard with our training staff to get back where I am. I had no doubt at all.”

Leipold believed in his receiver, as well.

But most of his offensive assistants are brand new, including offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki. And because Huber missed spring camp and some time during fall camp, they weren’t sure what to expect.

“They were talking and gameplanning for Buffalo, and it was kind of one of those things where, don’t forget about Tyler,” Leipold said of the week leading up to the Warhawks’ second game of the season. “I think they all kind of got a glimpse of what he can do.”

“It was definitely a bit of a relief, just being able to be back in the end zone and back on the field with everybody,” Huber said.

Huber caught five passes for 80 yards and a score in that game and has quickly returned to being a critical piece of the offense since.

He’s got touchdowns in each of the three games he’s played, and the USA College Football Division III Preseason First-Team All-American caught eight passes for 99 yards at La Crosse last week.

He and the Warhawks, which rank 36th nationally in passing efficiency, will attempt to keep the momentum going against Stout on Saturday.

“The last couple of games we’ve been clicking real well,” Huber said. “We’re going into the meat of our schedule right now … so if we can keep this thing going, I think we’ll be all right.”

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