Hevesy Updates TE Position

The position most disrupted by injury for the Florida Gators this spring has to be tight end. Not just because of the season-long loss of Cornelius Ingram, but the fact that he was one of just three guys playing the spot. Florida has to try and replace Ingram's 34 catches for 508 yards and 7 touchdowns, and it won't be easy.

Sophomore Aaron Hernandez caught nine passes in his first season, god for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he'll be joined by fifth-year senior Tate Casey. Casey sat out last year with a variety of injuries after catching 24 passes in his first three seasons as a Gator.

Florida tight ends coach John Hevesy talked with the media guys about how Hernandez was adjusting to the role of being the starting tight end.

JH: "I haven't seen any change in him. I think that was the role he took with CI being in there that they were the two best guys we had in there at tight end. I don't think they ever looked at is as who's one and who's two? I think he's just missing him (Ingram) being out there and doing this with him, but I don't think he's changed his attitude any."

MG: How is Tate Casey responding to the opportunity to get a lot more playing time?

JH: "He's doing well. The biggest thing with Tate, just like I told him today at practice, is he's got to make big plays. Not just be a guy who's out there doing his job, he's got to be a playmaker. He's got to the best he can make up for what we lost with C.I. What he can do with his role is make the plays that he's asked to make."

MG: Have you seen a change in his demeanor since CI went down?

JH: "I've seen a change in Tate really since the end of last season. He came out and had a great spring, and he worked his tail off this summer. This fall he's come in and had a really good camp. The one thing I can tell you is he's got to go and make those big plays when they count."

MG: Is the two tight end set still alive and well?

JH: "It's still there. The whole philosophy is there. The things you get with Tate being that second tight end compared to CI, you're dealing with just a little bit of a speed difference. But in terms of blocking and everything else – that being assignments – everything else is still there. Do we have the ability to do it? Absolutely we can do it."

Well, maybe it's more than a little bit of a speed difference, but the Gators still have the potential to make plays from the tight end spot. But Tate Casey is not going to generate the kind of numbers Cornelius Ingram did and it would be foolish to expect that. But it's not foolish to think Casey and Hernandez might be able to match the 43 catches and 9 touchdowns Florida got from the tight end position in 2007.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel

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