H-Back Position Ideal for Zellner

Sophomore tight end Chris Zellner was just getting comfortable with the new offensive coaches and schemes until he had a setback late last week.

Zellner "tweaked" his knee in practice when a player rolled it back. The injured left knee then turned into an injured left ankle. So for now, Zellner is resting his ailments.

"Spring has been going good. I got a little nicked up, so I am just trying to get better," Zellner said. "First it was my knee and now it is my ankle. I am just trying to heal them both and get back to practicing by the end of this week.

"I thought I was progressing very well before the injury. I was happy because at that point they had to put Greg and myself in at the same time in a lot of two tight end and H-back sets. It set me back a little, but it just seems I have to work that much harder to get back to that level."

Like all the offensive players, Chris Zellner has had to adjust to a new coaching staff. Zellner shared his thoughts on the new coaches.

"Coach Olson seems like a really cool guy that knows what he is talking about," Zellner said. "It seems like we are going to have a great year this year. We should win it all with the way we are playing and practicing.

"Coach Pannunzio is a smart guy. He will talk to us about anything, so I like him a lot. He is pretty laid back, but he is Italian, so when you do get on his bad side, he'll get in your face a little bit."

The H-back position is something the new coaches have talked to Zellner about for next season. At 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, the H-back position would be a perfect fit for Zellner because of his great blocking ability.

"They said the role of the tight end will be a lot greater than it was last year," Zellner said. "They are putting in a lot more routes for us."

Zellner is excited about the H-back position.

"They are saying that we may use more H-back, so I am pretty excited about that. That is something Greg Olsen and I have been working on this spring. Hopefully they can make some trick plays for us. But, for now we need to work on blocking and catching the football."

The biggest surprise to Zellner this spring has been the athleticism and play of freshman tight end Richard Gordon.

"He is doing awesome. He is doing a lot better than I expected him to. He is having trouble with the plays, but his blocking is impressive—he is a strong athlete—and he has hands better than mine. He is doing a great job and it is awesome to have a three tight end rotation."

Zellner says that even with the receiver shortages this spring and possibly next year he will not be moved to wide receiver. He admits his greatest strength is blocking, so if he is needed at fullback, he is willing to play there.

"I am in mainly for the blocking," Zellner said. "I think somebody like DajLeon may play receiver. Me, I like to block and get down in there in the trenches with the offensive linemen, so if they need me to be a fullback, I will do it."

David Lake is a Staff Writer and can be contacted by emailing him at lake@canestime.com


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