Great Expectations

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tom O'Brien wasn't shy about his expectations of a 'big year' from All-ACC tight end George Bryan.

Tom O'Brien wasn't shy when asked about his expectations for George Bryan.

"I expect a big year from him," O'Brien said. "George has worked extremely hard through spring practice and he has a lot of confidence. He's one of those guys that have now been in the offense three years."

Last season, Bryan led all ACC tight ends with 40 receptions and also pulled in six touchdown passes. He was named a first-team All-ACC performer for his performance, and now ranks fourth in the league in career touchdown receptions with nine in his first two years.

"I'm expecting a big year too," Bryan said. "I just want to go out there and help my team out, hopefully score and catch some balls."

His ability to catch the ball has made him a favorite target of quarterback Russell Wilson. The two have grown up together in the program, arriving on campus in 2007 together and redshirting as true freshman, developing a chemistry over their three years.

"We were on the scout team together when we first came in. He's been throwing me balls since I got here – it's just kind of developed," Bryan said. "It's working out pretty good."

O'Brien attributes their chemistry to something a little more basic – Bryan's ability to hang onto the ball. At 6'5 and 265 pounds, Bryan is a big, easy-to-find target for Wilson when he needs to get rid of the ball in a hurry. But it's his soft hands that make him arguably the most consistent receiver on the entire team.

"Some of the wide outs, we get out there, and they say ‘Russell won't throw me the ball' and I say to them ‘You don't catch it when he throws it to you. George catches it when he throws it to him,'" O'Brien said. "It's pretty easy; quarterbacks throw to guys who catch it."

Already a prolific pass-catcher, Bryan is spending the fall camp working on the other aspects of his game at tight end. He's continuing to improve his skill as a blocker in the run game, an area that gave him trouble at times last season.

"My strength and blocking – creating a new line of scrimmage," Bryan said. "Hitting some defensive ends and moving them back, not just getting into a stale-mate with them."

In fact, it's that ability to be both a lineman and a receiver that makes tight end such an attractive position to Bryan.

"I love tight end, I didn't play it until high school and it was the best move I ever made," Bryan said. "You can catch balls, you can hit people – you can pretty much do anything. You are real versatile."

Bryan's talent is just one of the reasons that the skill players on offense have started calling themselves the ‘perfect storm'. Senior wide receiver Jarvis Williams said that the combination of talent at receiver, tight end, quarterback and running back make for the ideal offensive combination.

"That's why we call ourselves – the skill guys – the perfect storm," Williams said. "We have receivers that can catch the ball; we've got quarterbacks that can throw. A back-up quarterback that's probably the best back-up in the nation. You've got George, one of the best tight ends in the nation. It's the perfect personnel and the perfect scheme."

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