Chandler Catching On

Like many high level athletes, Scott Chandler plays the role of his own worst critic. The Iowa tight end sees flaws all over in his game. But the true sophomore has made great strides in adjusting to the switch from receiver and has become a key component of the Hawkeyes' patchwork offense. Read how Chandler feels his season is going in this HN.com premium feature.

Scott Chandler is a mess. At least that's his personal account of the situation.

"I've got to get bigger," Iowa's tight end says. "I've got to get stronger. I can always get faster. And I've got to get better in the blocking game. I've got to get better in the run game. I've got to start seeing the field a little better from this position. It's different when you're outside and standing up."

Jeez, it's amazing this guy can find his way to the stadium on Saturdays. He's a wreck.

Despite his harsh self analysis, Chandler is proving to be worthy of his scholarship. The true sophomore from Texas is adjusting well to his offseason switch from wide receiver.

Chandler (6-7, 230) has caught 19 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown this season. His breakdown game came two games ago in a 23-21 win against Purdue when he hauled in four balls for 122 yards.

"I've grown up a lot this year," Chandler said. "And we've grown up as a team this year."

Chandler is aiding an Iowa squad that lost tight end Mike Follett and a host of running backs to injury this season. The offense is employing the passing game at an unusual rate.

Last season, Chandler took off his redshirt after health issues hit the Hawkeye wideouts. He was given the role of red zone receiver, where he would run into the end zone for jump ball passes and attempt to outleap defensive backs.

Chandler also shared a good connection with the quarterback in 2003. His older brother Nathan was calling signals.

Scott said that Nathan isn't jealous that his replacement, Drew Tate, is living a quarterback's dream.

I think he's happy," Scott said. "Nate's a pretty gracious guy. He's happy that we're having a good season."

Scott Chandler has discovered a knack for getting open when it is most needed by Tate. He made two huge plays against Purdue in this manner.

"We have scramble drill rules on where we're going to run in the flat or we're going to go deep or we're going to come back," Chandler said. "But for the most part, it's run to the open spot and Drew will put it on you. He does a great job of seeing the field."

Chandler caught another big pass that set up a first- and-goal situation during last weekend's game at Minnesota. He recently has done a better job catching the ball in traffic and toughness in taking a hit.

Maybe the one knock on Iowa's offense of late is its in ability to get the ball into the end zone after driving deep into the opponent's territory. One could point to the predictability created by the lack of a running game, but the Hawkeye players refuse to make excuses.

"You can always improve from your last performance," Chandler said. "That's what we say before every game. I've left a couple of plays out there. We as a team have left a couple of plays out there.

"When the defense sets us up with good field position, we've got to do a better job of getting it into the end zone. We still have growing up to do as a team. When we start making those plays, we're going to be pretty tough. Drew does a great job of putting the ball on us. We've just got to catch it."

Chandler was experiencing a case of the dropsy's earlier in the season. But he's been reliable the last few weeks.

"You've always got to be ready and you've always got to come back," Chandler said. "Coach talks about adversity all of the time. There's a way to prepare for adversity. When you make a mistake, you've just got to learn from it and come back. I've made quite a few mistakes this year, and I've been trying to learn from them."

Chandler has been helped by approaching each play with the belief that anything can happen. Tate's ability to keep going even the ugliest of plays places everybody on their toes.

"You've just got to keep eyes open and stay alert," Chandler said. "You can't give up on a play just because you missed your hot. You've got to keep on going because the ball might be coming to you."


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