Tight Ends Catching On With Rutgers Spread Offense

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- How much changed for the Rutgers tight ends from the pro style to the spread? With experience in both offenses, senior Nick Arcidiacono discusses in a one-on-one with Scarlet Report.

 Nick Arcidiacono spent his first three years at Rutgers in a pro-style offense under three different coordinators. But for the most part, the scheme stayed the same.

When a spread entered under offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer, each position group on the offensive side of the ball transitioned.

Five games in, Arcidiacono discussed the changes specific at tight end.

“Obviously, we’re moving around a lot more, kind of,” Arcidiacono said. “Last year was pro style, we were hand-in-the-dirt kind of tight end, hold most of the time. This year we lay a little bit of that, but also in the slot, in the backfield a little bit. So really, we’re kind of all over the place, need to be versatile. So that’s one of the biggest differences.”

While popular belief stereotypes tight ends as one-dimensional receivers, Arcidiacono dispelled that as a misconception.

“I would say we have an opportunity to receive the ball more, but we’re blocking just as much,” he said. “Other people think that when we get a spread, the tight end doesn’t have to block and all of that, and that hasn’t been the case. You have to be able to do both, and I think we’ve been able to do that pretty well.”

Arcidiacono acquainted himself with the multi-faceted abilities at tight end before the pro style at Rutgers. He previously ran the spread during his days at Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood.

“For me, personally, it wasn’t very different because I did the same thing in high school,” Arcidiacono said. “So what was really different was this past spring when we switched to the spread a little bit. But I think adapting to it … went pretty smooth because coaches did a great job teaching everyone exactly what they wanted. I think the hardest part was going from the power to the spread.”

The 6-foot-4, 244-pounder has seven receptions for 54 yards. Junior Matt Flanagan rounds out the tight-end production with three catches for 13 yards. Redshirt-freshman Nakia Griffin remains the third option

Miami transfer Jerome Washington rounds out the four Rutgers tight ends. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder impresses in practice, according to Arcidiacono.

“Obviously, he’s ineligible this year,” Arcidiacono said of Washington, who has two years of eligibility remaining. “So from what I see (in practice), he’s been unbelievable. He’s going to be a really good player, I think, and I’m excited to see how he does in the future.”

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