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The Unfiltered Truth- WSU Tight End's
Written by OpenToClose   
Thursday, 11 March 2010 13:57

When was the last time we had a game breaking tight end? For one reason or another it's been hard to keep our tight ends healthy over the past several years. This year represents an interesting mix of players but none that currently project as a dangerous pass catching tight end. You typically start with tight ends that can do at least one of two things well: blocking and pass catching. If you land a tight end that can do both then you have an entirely different dynamic to your offense. This season we should be happy if we find a couple of tight ends that can do at least one of the above really well.


Overview: This Spring's grouping of tight ends mirrors the rest of the offense. Lots of youth and plenty of question marks. The hopes are pinned on the fact that the young guys picked up a ton of quality reps last season even if they didn't perform that great while getting them. The other big positive is that the unit is truly the size you need in your tight end's when playing in the Pac-10. All of the tight ends that play will be in the 260 pound range and possibly heavier in the Fall. That sort of weight gives you many formation options and the ability to possibly run the ball more effectively than we have in the past.


What to watch for: The development of double tight end sets in the offense. It seems that we have about four tight ends with good size and adequate blocking skills. They've also shown the ability to get out in pass routes and make the occasional catch. They'll never be speed tight ends but if they learn to effectively shield linebackers with their bodies while running routes they could be effective. Watch for the developments in the types of formations we run. If you start to see double tight's and Stormo, Tatman, and Lintz playing in rotation then you should be encouraged. It likely indicates the staff is growing confident in the depth at the position and their ability to block. Remember, we might not have a dual threat tight end on the roster until this Fall but if these guys can do at least one thing (blocking or pass catching) then we'll be moving forward because they now have the size to compete with any defense in the Pac-10.


What you should pray you don't read about: Talk from the coaches that Aaron Dunn could still come in and start at tight end in the Fall. Aaron Dunn is probably our highest rated recruit in this class. However, tight end is one of the most difficult positions to learn quickly. There is a reason why most teams have a coach dedicated to coaching just tight ends. They must learn to run block in space and also learn blocking protection schemes AND pass routes out of multiple formations. Aaron Dunn might play this season because of sheer talent. He could be a pass catching weapon but if he is asked to do more than play 10-15 snaps a game in which he's out in pass routes then we are in trouble at the tight end position.


What to hope for coming out of Spring ball: The development of Andrei Lintz. He probably represents the best hope at a pass catching tight end that can serve up mismatches with linebackers. He's got good size and reasonable speed. If you start to read about Lintz catching balls in scrimmages and playing more aggressively then you should be excited about the potential for a new dimension in the offense this Fall. You could certainly argue that Tony Thompson provided that pass catching threat but he was always a liability in the running game with his size. Lintz would represent a player that could be a three down tight end with the ability to run block and catch passes. There is a lot of ground for him to cover but this Spring would be the time for him to seize playing time as it will be his third Spring and he should know the system by now.

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