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With injuries, Roddy's role as TE increases

With knee injuries to Foster Moreau and DeSean Smith, Caleb Roddy, LSU's newest tight end, barrels into a larger role for the Tigers.

Caleb Roddy was furious.

While only playing tight end at sporadic times during middle school and for two years in high school, Roddy preferred to play defensive end as he headed into college, which he said on Twitter in his announcement regarding his recent move to tight end.

During LSU’s fall camp, Roddy — "a big horse who can catch it," as LSU coach Les Miles said of the freshman — was bumped to tight end, which  flustered the 17-year-old for a short period of time.

“It’s different for sure,” he said. “But I wasn’t upset. The only thing I was upset about was that I worked so hard on my defensive game and then I came to college and am playing tight end. But I got over that quickly. Like I put on Twitter, I would prefer to play defensive end. But my team needs me at tight end, so I going to do whatever my team needs.”

Although learning tight end wasn’t "tough," he said, the uncertainty of not knowing whether he would be a collegiate defensive end or tight end dominated Roddy’s mind at times.

In LSU’s first meeting of fall camp, the soft-spoken, 275-pounder lost his cool to confusion.

“I’m not going to lie to you, going into the break before camp I didn’t know which one I was going to be, so I studied defensive playbook and offensive playbook," the Denham Springs native said. “My head was crammed. Everything was all disoriented, I didn’t understand anything. First meeting, I was so lost. I was sitting there and I was mad because I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. It was crazy.”

Since the announcement, he’s figured the position out, he said. 

Learning it first-hand, on the field, helped. Extra repetitions now are too.

Behind Colin Jeter, Foster Moreau and DeSean Smith, comes Roddy on the depth chart. This week, Moreau, LSU’s No. 2 tight end, was sidelined with a “bone contusion,” Roddy said, and is expected to miss roughly 10 days of practice. Smith's missed time too, he added.

“I’ve been taking Foster’s snaps right now,” Roddy said of Moreau’s knee injury. “Some sets where we’re mainly going to be blocking, I’ll be in there."

And for Smith? He’s a senior from Lake Charles who has battled a recurring knee injury since last season. The unspecified injury has lingered and is hindering him from select practices during the Tigers two-a-day stint of fall camp. The official diagnosis remains unclear.

“He’s in and out, I don’t know exactly what’s wrong with him to be honest,” Roddy said. “Sometimes he practices, sometimes he doesn’t. By the time the season rolls around, he’ll be good to go.”

With the extra reps, Roddy’s beginning to learn a more in-depth version of tight end, while also tossing in a handful of fullback and wingback sets, too.

Much like LSU seldomly used 300-pound tight end Dillon Gordon, LSU’s former No. 85, at fullback last season, Roddy, the Tigers new No. 85, is following the same trend.

“They put me at (fullback) sometimes. In some formations, I’ll be in the backfield or at the wing sometimes,” he said. “They’ll move me around.

“Definitely right now, my A-game is run blocking because I’m heavier than (fellow tight ends). I’m 275, I’m the heaviest one. Colin’s about 250, so I fill more space and I’m heavier off the ball. But I’m not a bad route runner or pass catcher, but it’s definitely somewhere where I need to improve.

Although he doesn’t believe himself to be the best route runner, or pass catcher, Roddy fancies his run blocking skills to have guided his offensive ascension.

“I think I’m taking the transition pretty well,” he chuckled.

Roddy speaks with media after Wednesday's practice

You can follow Christian Boutwell on Twitter, @CBoutwell_

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