Best TE in the Country?

At the conclusion of the first day of practice head coach Larry Coker was listing off the strengths of the team and stated that Greg Olsen was the best tight end in the country.

Greg Olsen is a 6-foot-5, 250-pound sophomore tight end from Wayne, N.J. Last year as a redshirt freshman he caught 16 passes for 275 yards and one touchdown while playing in nine games.

Olsen suffered a broken wrist in the seventh game of the season against North Carolina on October 30. At the time of his injury he was second on the team in receiving yards and was on pace for 25 catches 457 yards in the season.

2004 Receiving Stats After Game 7
WR Roscoe Parrish 21 rec 331 yds 15.8 avg 6 TD
TE Greg Olsen     15 rec 264 yds 17.6 avg 1 TD
WR Lance Leggett  13 rec 246 yds 18.9 avg 3 TD
TE Kevin Everett  16 rec 230 yds 14.4 avg 0 TD
WR Sinorice Moss  11 rec 222 yds 20.2 avg 2 TD
He missed three of the final five games including the Peach Bowl against Florida and would only catch one more pass the rest of the season. It was determined that Olsen needed to have surgery to repair his wrist because of the long healing process.

Olsen participated in spring practices with a cast on and although he was still able to catch the ball, it was not the same.

Saturday was the first day of fall practices and the first day Olsen did not practice with a cast since last October.

"It feels great having the cast off," Olsen said. "It makes a lot of difference catching the ball. I feel real good out there."

One of the things Olsen has to get used to is getting back to catching the ball effectively with two hands instead of compensating for his injury.

"The whole time I was playing with a cast I would subconsciously protect my wrist," Olsen. "Now I can go back to catching the ball with two hands instead of trapping it."

Coker considers Olsen to be the best tight end in the country and although Olsen appreciates the comment he knows he has work to do.

"I really haven't done much yet," Olsen said. "Last year I was a back-up, but now it is time for me to step up."

Olsen looks forward to the challenge of expectations.

"Since I was little I always wanted to play college football," Olsen said. "But just playing is different than being called out there on that first play as a starter especially on a team like this. This is not like playing at any other school. To earn a starting spot here is pretty special."

Olsen will be counted on heavily in the passing game with a new quarterback, however there are plenty of receivers who have played a lot that has Olsen excited about the passing game.

"I think we are going to be dangerous," Olsen said. "I think with all of the guys we have at reciever and with both quarterbacks we have a lot of weapons we can use."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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