Will tight ends become part of the Gator offense?

Patronage in the Florida passing game by those occupying the tight end position has been deplorable in 2004. To date, David Kenner has hauled in four passes for 72 yards, while Markell Thompson has caught one pass for seven yards. However, both of those took place in the spring of 2004. Specifically, the Orange & Blue game. Is the concept of using the tight end in the passing game lost on Larry Fedora?

Absolutely not. Fedora has done exactly what any good coach would do in this position. Use what you've got. Fedora has made wise use of the talent at running back and wide receiver, which has kept defensive coordinators burning the midnight oil.

Thompson and Kenner are not bad players. Their routes are not that complicated. Neither are their roles. At this stage, Fedora and company are seemingly more comfortable with their blocking skills. It certainly doesn't hurt to have a cloak and dagger disguise available when the opportunity arises either.

Tennessee's John Chavis drilled it into the heads of his defense two weeks ago. Kentucky defensive coordinator Mike Archer warned his troops last week. And you can bet Razorback defensive coordinator Dave Wommack will be preaching it through the 4th quarter as well: "Watch for them to drop one in to the tight end. Don't get complacent". Watch for the cloak and dagger!

The question is not if, it's when…

Arkansas. LSU. Georgia. South Carolina. Florida State.

Who knows? I really don't believe that the tight end will become an integral part of this offense in numbers, but rather by success. If the timed right, a pass to Thompson or Kenner could potentially play a major role in continuing the surge or even determining the outcome of a game.

A linebacker or safety who gets caught napping or bites on a Chris Leak play action pass to the tight end will be toasted, roasted, and fried when he gets to the sidelines…and into the next meeting. He can expect to hear those three little words, "I told you…"

Other than their blocking ability, the potential element of surprise is certainly the greatest contribution at tight end thus far. The maturation of Florida's young receivers and continued success of the running backs both through the air and on the ground make for interesting talk around the water cooler or in the chat room as to when Fedora might play his final trump card… The tight end.


Fightin Gators Top Stories