Replacing a staple on one of the top offenses in the country is no easy task, but Indiana has a group of talented tight ends that have the capability fill in the hole Ted Bolser left when he graduated.
In his four seasons with the Hoosiers, Bolser finished with 117 receptions, 1,337 yards and 15 touchdowns. Making up for those lost numbers will be difficult, but starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld doesn’t expect anything less from the group set to take Bolser’s spot.
“I’m expecting a lot out of them, still,” Sudfeld said. “I think we have more depth at tight end then we’ve had in previous years, and we have guys who are great blockers. We have guys who are great pass catchers, so it’s going to be some great competition there.”
The position is competitive going into fall camp, as there isn’t one clear starter. Some of the players in the mix for playing time include sophomore Danny Friend, who played in all 12 games last year as a true freshman though mostly on special teams and junior Anthony Corsaro, who is coming off a broken foot from spring practice but is at full strength. Jordan Fuchs, an incoming freshman from Queens, N.Y. is a talented pass catcher, and junior Michael Cooper, a transfer from Arizona who showed promise this spring and summer.
"When you look at that group, you’re going to see five or six guys at 6-5, 250,” head coach Kevin Wilson said. “They’re all very mobile.”
With a mixture of size and athleticism, the coaching staff thinks this tight end group can do even more for the offense than it has in the past.
“We want it to be an even bigger factor,” tight ends coach James Patton said. “We have some guys that can catch the ball, all of them can catch the ball.
“At tight end, our situation isn’t getting Ted Bolser, it’s who’s going to be the guy to step up and replace him, or a group of guys.”
When Patton is looking for the starting tight end, or the group of tight ends, what he looks for most is what they are doing with the opportunities they have on every down.
“I think the biggest thing we will continue to strive on is make the competitive play,” Patton said. “In a competitive situation, whether it’s a catch, whether it’s a block on third and short, make the competitive plays.”