The tight end position will take on a different look in 2015 for Iowa State after the Cyclones lost one of their top offensive playmakers to graduation.
With E.J. Bibbs (and his 45 receptions) a thing of the past, Iowa State now has four tight ends entering the 2015 season with little experience. Redshirt senior Ben Boesen, who has played the majority of his career on special teams, will lead the group. After him are three inexperienced redshirt freshmen in Cole Anderson, Scotty Schaffer and Justin Chandler.
The best bet for the outlook of the tight end position is that Iowa State will focus on using its tight end more as a blocker in 2015 with some of Bibbs’ 2014 touches being spread around. Only time will tell how offensive coordinator Mark Mangino will use his four tight ends.
What was Learned
Tight end was set up to be a position to watch during spring ball after Bibbs graduated, and it became more interesting from Day 1.
With Quan West moving back to receiver (Iowa State tried him at TE in ’14), Iowa State was down to three tight ends in Boesen, Schaffner and Chandler. A new name emerged when Iowa State announced Anderson had moved from being an offensive lineman to playing tight end. While raw, by all accounts the spring went rather well.
“It’s kind of an unusual move, but it’s out of necessity,” Mangino said. “He made a few mental mistakes, but it’s to be expected, he was a center. He has a lot of good qualities about him that makes that job competitive.”
There were no reported injuries out of the tight end group, so all signs point to a healthy bunch for the competition when fall camp rolls around.
To Be Determined
There remains a lot to be determined at tight end, primarily who gets the bulk of the snaps and how Iowa State will now use its tight end in the offense.
Boesen, currently, figures to be the primary tight end, but the young guys will certainly have a chance to work into the rotation. In regard to Anderson, it’s possible Iowa State will use the former center in certain blocking packages.
As for how Iowa State uses its tight end in the pass game, it’ll certainly be different. Mangino has shown the ability in the past to alter his use of a tight end depending on his players. Will Iowa State have one of the tight ends with 45 receptions? Almost certainly not, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be a factor, either.
"If I knew that answer right now, my man, I’d be in tall cotton," Mangino said in early spring. "We’re working with some young guys that really care and working hard and they’re trying to get better. We’re spending a lot of time with them to make them better. I think there’s some talented guys in that group. It’s my job to get them ready to play and I’m nowhere near telling you how that’s going to play out."