Spring Football Preview: Tight Ends

Something that I believe will be of great value as spring football gets underway for Oklahoma State on Monday is the enthusiasm that comes with new coaches on the staff. I know there is a lot to be said for continuity, but there is also a lot to be said for new blood and the thrill of coaching at a new school and bonding with new players, especially when they are eager to be coached.

Oklahoma State has three new position coaches and it was easy to spot their enthusiasm last week during the final week of off-season workouts as they watched and got to know their players.

"Look at him go," new tight ends coach Jason McEndoo said as he was watching Zac Veatch on the obstacle course during the Tuesday competition day finals. "I know he is happy to be playing out on the edge again."

I believe Veatch is glad to be back at tight end after going a couple of seasons inside as a backup and then a starting offensive guard. Veatch, who had trouble staying at 290 pounds, was often giving up 20 to 50 pounds inside to opposing defensive tackles. The athletic-for-his-bulk Veatch is in a position to blow up defensive ends, outside linebackers, and safeties on the edge. McEndoo is anxious to see it happen.

Veatch represents a cluster of players at the tight end position that can be interchanged to give the offense some very different looks and match-up issues for opposing defenses.

Returning Starters
44 Jeremy Seaton, FB/TE, Sr., 6-2, 250
47 Blake Jarwin, TE, Jr., 6-5, 240
86 Zac Veatch, TE, Jr., 6-4, 280

Contenders
85 Jordan Frazier, TE, RS-Fr., 6-5, 242

Waiting to be Discovered
48 Dawson Bassett, TE, So., 6-4, 235

Veatch did start two games (Baylor and OU) as a tight end. He also started 10 games at offensive guard. It started back in the 2013 season when Oklahoma State entertained unbeaten and third-ranked Baylor on the ABC prime-time telecast.

ESPN College GameDay was in town and the Cowboys surprised Baylor with a two-tight end personnel group and formation, hitting the Bears defense over the head with it like a sledge hammer in the 49-17 win.

Since then offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and head coach Mike Gundy have flirted with the package. When the decision was made to play Mason Rudolph at quarterback and move Veatch back to tight end, allowing for some max protect and heavier packages the offense has taken off.

The way the Cowboys use the tight end is not just an extra tackle but it can be. It is a diverse multi-purpose player that can move around and can accomplish a wide variety of objectives.

Is Veatch primarily a blocker? Yes he is, but he can catch the football and he can run routes downfield and serve as a blocker on the second and third level of the defense against players that may have more speed and agility. But if not expecting it, can got overpowered by Veatch.

Jeremy Seaton, Blake Jarwin, and we believe Jordan Frazier can all run routes downfield or in the flat, catching passes and make plays, but they can also block quite well. It becomes a position that the defense has a hard time predicting what the player will do.

Seaton is a veteran and a former quarterback that also doubles as a fullback, and he is good all the way around. I love in a scramble situation his experienced mentality of knowing where the scrambling quarterback would best like him to be to bail out a gain from what looks like a sack.

Seaton is a walk-on who is now on scholarship, and bet on Blake Jarwin joining him on scholarship. Jarwin grew up loving Oklahoma State, and like Seaton, he has become a dependable receiver in both flat and especially in seam routes down the field. Jarwin is also a dependable blocker.

During the bowl practices, Gundy paid close attention to several of the redshirting freshmen and one of them he paid really close attention to was Jordan Frazier. Gundy really seems to like the home-schooled standout from Missouri and his blocking prowess was pointed out and congratulated several times in workouts.

Like any tight end, Frazier does like running routes and catching passes and he had the advantage of arriving early last year for the spring and has worked a lot with starting quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Dawson Bassett is a stalwart on special teams for the Cowboys and is now a tight end after serving as a defensive end and linebacker in previous seasons. It's interesting in that his older brother Cooper made good of a switch from offense and tight end to defense and defensive end. Maybe Dawson can make the exact opposite switch come out well for him but he will have competition to fight through to get it done. He does get a fresh start with the new coach in Jason McEndoo.


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