White With Options at TE

Brian White's group of tight ends has some big shoes to fill with Aaron Hernandez's departure to the NFL. White is dealing with a young group that presents three unproven guys. Still, he's not worried.

Brian White is putting some serious faith in Jordan Reed. Both White and Urban Meyer have mentioned Reed and "playmaker" in the same sentence when talking about the versatile red-shirt freshman.

"Jordan has had tremendous recall from spring ball. It's very evident that he worked this summer. He's a tremendously improved football player. I can't wait to watch him in the Swamp. He's going to do some special things," White said after day two on the practice field.

The 6-3, 240-pound Reed is joined by 6-3, 240-pound true freshman Gerald Christian (yes, they are listed as the same size on the roster). Christian will see playing time as a true freshman and White said he looks the part.

"He's another drastically improved football player. What's evident in the first two days is Jordan Reed and Gerald Christian really improved themselves this summer. All the work they did with coach (Mickey) Marotti and his staff has paid tremendous dividends. They are much improved."

The 6-5, 244-pound redshirt freshman Desmond Parks would be the third player to bolster the TE crew but he is nursing a wrist injury and may not be back in action for at least two or three more crucial weeks. White said they are certainly expecting Parks to make an impact when he is healthy.

"Certainly it hurts our depth. Desmond's a guy who's in the developmental stages as well and a great young man who was making progress. It prevents us from practicing with as many tight ends as we want to."

That leaves true freshman Michael McFarland who has some height on his fellow TE's at 6-6, 237 pounds. McFarland is very green and was not an early enrollee so his experience may be lacking and he will likely redshirt this season.

Jordan Reed will be more than just the potential starter at tight end in 2010. He will also shoulder the task of playing quarterback in the wildcat formation sometimes. White talked about the pressure on Reed.

"He's handling it well. We're putting a lot on his plate but we're trying to be smart not to overload him. At the same time, he's such a dynamic athlete. We as coaches get selfish and want to put the ball in his hands as many times as we can so he's going to have a major role on this football team. It's very evident."

Another theory being thrown around involves using DE Earl Okine as an offensive weapon in the form of a primarily blocking TE.

"We're working with him in some short yardage and goal line situations. He's done a nice job as well. He's got decent hands. We're not going to vertically stretch the field with him, just in case you were wondering. But, he'll be functional catching the football."

White said it's all about being creative and finding unexpected ways to enhance the offense. They may find unique ways to get the job done but he feels his group could be more impressive than most are expecting.
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