Tight End Rundown

Despite the loss of Dennis Pitta and Andrew George, there's a lot of reason to be optimistic about the Cougar tight ends. They're all young and inexperienced, but they possess various strengths. Richard Wilson gave Total Blue Sports a rundown on how BYU's tight end corps is doing.

"I think we're building confidence, definitely, with the offense and we're making plays," Richard Wilson said. "We're making more plays every day and just need to keep doing that. You just have to get use to the speed of things and the tempo of the offense."

BYU's tight ends aren't lacking in talent or credentials, but the experience isn't there. Nevertheless, Wilson expects the tight end corps to produce.

"We just have to make sure we're doing what we are coached to do," he said. "I think if we do that, making plays will follow. Coach Anae focuses on that aspect with us, and so that's the most important thing we can do as young guys. We have to make sure we know what is expected of us and do what is asked. We have to know our assignment and do what the coaches ask us to do.

"Coach Anae has been stressing a lot about blocking. We've been focusing on a lot of that and have been working a lot with the linebackers in one-on-one drills. Getting down some of those basics and then applying those basics when needed has really helped us overall.

"I think what helped me a lot with those things last year was playing on the scout team and having to block guys like Jordan Pendleton and Coleby Clawson every day. I think we still have a lot to learn, but it's just learning those things and feeling comfortable with it and then applying it effectively."

The next step is putting all of that into practice.

"The thing we do is take what we've been given and go out and do that one thing," Wilson said. "It's about executing what we've been given by the coaches. Then we look at how well we were able to do it and make corrections and make it to where we feel comfortable with it. Once that happens we add to it.

"The next step would be building more chemistry and that's something that's earned. The quarterbacks have to trust us, and so it's something that has to be earned. We're gaining more and more trust by the quarterbacks as camp has worn on. We're getting more and more balls thrown to us as camp goes on. I expect that to continue as we continue to grow as a unit."

Over the past five practices of fall camp, the tight ends have had some success with the young-but-talented group of quarterbacks. Wilson feels that as fall camp has worn on, the tight ends have played a greater role.

"I think we've shown that we're starting to feel more comfortable with what we've been given so far," said Wilson. "Devin [Mahina] is out there making plays and he made a sweet play today. Austin [Holt] is making more plays every day and Mike [Muehlmann] is doing the same. You can see that we are becoming more a part of the offense as fall camp progresses."

Each of the quarterbacks have a diverse playing style that can affect how the tight ends play.

"Riley [Nelson] is definitely more of an agile quarterback and can make plays with his legs, and so you need to know that when Riley is in that you might need to break out of your route and go make a block. With Jake [Heaps], he's going to step up in the pocket and find another read or hit a backside seam."

The Cougar tight end position is both deep and versatile. There's no doubt about that, and the tradition of fielding successful tight ends at BYU appears as though it will continue. In fact, the tight ends are able to improve because of what they learn from each other..

"During team meetings, Coach Anae will show us film on how one of us did something during practice and say, 'Look at this. See how he did that? That's what we are looking for and how we want to do it,'" said Wilson. "For example, we'll go back and look at practice and Coach Anae will show us an example of Austin doing a reach block or a cutoff block. Or say Marcus [Mathews] runs a good dig and comes back downhill [towards the ball], Coach Anae will say, 'That's how we want that ran.' Coach Anae is able to take something good from everyone and use that as an example on how something is done right or how he wants something done."

Tight End Evaluations

Austin Holt

Just home off his mission for about six weeks now, Holt has come into fall camp looking as if he never left the program. Physically he passes the eye test and is still working to shake off the missionary rust from his legs.

"Austin came from a high school where he was just a beast and is a great blocker," Wilson said. "He can catch the ball as well, but he's a great blocker. He's just coming off his mission and looks really good."

Devin Mahina

Mahina was here during spring camp and worked primarily from the H-position. A leaner more rangy tight end, Mahina covers ground quickly and can stretch defenses much like he did when he had a 44-yard reception on Thursday.

"Devin is just so long and rangy and always finds a way to get open," said Wilson. "He covers a lot of ground really quickly because he's so rangy. He can also catch the ball really well and is a really good athlete."

Mike Muelhmann

Like Wilson, Mike Muelhamann is a redshirt freshman one of the most experienced of the bunch.

"Mike is overall a great blocker," Wilson said. "He's done a great job of picking that part of the game up and uses it to his advantage. He also has great hands and [can] go out and make the catch in traffic."

Marcus Mathews

Mathews was a four-star wide receiver out of high school, but Cougar coaches have switched him over to the tight end position.

"Marcus Mathews is quick and he's a receiver placed in the slot," said Wilson. "There are a lot of mismatches with him because linebackers have to now go out and cover a guy that's really a tall receiver playing the tight end position. He's got good hands as well."

Richard Wilson

"As for me, I think I have a lot of speed," Wilson said. "I think that allows me to get open a lot and create more separation between me and the defender. I'm not as tall as some of the other receivers but I think my speed helps me create more separation. I have good hands and can go up and be physical to catch the ball."

Mathew Edwards

The grandson of legendary BYU head coach LaVell Edwards, Mathew Edwards comes in at about 6 feet 3 inches and 225 pounds and has done some good things with the limited amount of reps he's received.

"Edwards has made some sweet plays this fall and has come a long ways since last spring," Wilson said.

"I think overall we're a very strong group because of our many abilities. I think in the end we'll all make each other better players and the position stronger."


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