football Edit

Fall Camp Preview: Tight End

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As things get close to the start of fall camp,
HuskerOnline.com will spend the next two weeks breaking down the different position groups and biggest storylines heading into the 2015 season.
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We continue our breakdowns today by looking at the tight end position. A group that had become maybe one of the most underutilized pieces in Nebraska's offense under the previous coaching staff, the hope is the tight ends have a much bigger presence in new head coach Mike Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf's system going forward.

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size="+2">FALL CAMP PREVIEW - TIGHT END
style="padding: 4px; background-color: rgb(228, 231, 235); font-size: 8.5pt; text-transform: uppercase; font-weight: bold;">WHAT
WE KNOW - Carter can be a weapon
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align="right">One of the most frustrating aspects of the gradual disappearance of the tight ends' role in Nebraska's offense over the past few years was that the Huskers were letting some of their better playmakers go virtually unused. Whether it was the likes of Mike McNeil, Kyler Reed or Ben Cotton, many fans were left scratching their heads as to why the ball didn't go to the tight end far more often.
The most recent example has been junior Cethan Carter, who despite his obvious potential and physical ability has caught just 16 passes and one touchdown over the past two seasons combined and was only targeted 12 times total in 2015.
The good news is that Carter might benefit as much as nearly any Husker from the change in NU's offensive scheme, as his speed and athleticism could play perfectly into what the staff wants from a tight end to create mismatches in the passing game. Carter missed the spring game with a minor foot injury, but no player could benefit from a fresh start more than the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Metairie, La., native.
The depth behind Carter remains to be seen, as veterans like Sam Cotton, David Sutton, Trey Foster and Nebraska-Kearney transfer Luke McNitt are all still battling to fill out the rotation behind him going into fall camp. A new face will also join the mix this fall in true freshman Matt Snyder, who could make a big jump up that list by the end of camp.

 

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WE WANT TO KNOW - Is Carter ready for the workload?
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align="right">One issue that has hindered Carter's development over the past couple of years has been his trouble with injuries, particularly a foot injury that forced him to miss four games last season and then the end of spring ball after it flared up again.
The hope and expectation is that as long as Carter can stay on the field, a major boost in production will follow. But the reality is that he has yet to actually be tested as a consistent factor in Nebraska's offense, as he's only caught 16 total passes in his career and has started 14 if the 22 games he's played in over the past two years.
Barring any more injury setbacks, though, it shouldn't be much of an issue for Carter to emerge as a go-to target.
 

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WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING - How will the tight ends' role change?
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align="right">There's a reason the expectations for Nebraska's tight ends are as high as they've been in years, as the numbers the position put up under Riley at Oregon State in recent seasons give tangible reason to believe the group will take on an entirely different look.
Not only was Carter only targeted 12 times last season, NU's tight ends were only thrown to 24 times as a whole in 2014. In contrast, Oregon State's tight ends caught 55 balls last year and 81 in 2013, and the group accounted for 17.3 percent of OSU's completions from 2010-14.
Based on those numbers alone, it's a safe bet the Huskers will see a lot more of Carter and Co. this year and beyond.
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CAMP NEWCOMERS
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align="right">Nebraska's lone new addition at tight end this fall will be a fairly significant one, as Snyder joins the mix as a former three-star prospect who picked the Huskers over other suiters such as Michigan, Oregon State and California.
At 6-5, 245, the San Ramon, Calif., native has a legitimate chance to become an immediate factor in NU's tight end rotation this season. Outside of Carter, none of Nebraska's tight ends have done much of anything to lock up spots on the depth chart, and given how hard Riley and staff recruited Snyder, they obviously think very highly of how he could fit into their system.
 

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CAMP PREDICTION
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Carter could finally be in for the breakout season he's ben waiting for this year, and he should help give quarterback Tommy Armstrong a valuable target both in the short passing game and as a player who could stretch the field when matched up against slower linebackers. Cotton is the No. 2 right now, but Snyder could see the field right away this year, as he looks to be the future of the tight end position after Carter.
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fall camp depth chart
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- Cethan Carter - Junior
2 - Sam Cotton - Junior
3 - Matt Snyder - Freshman
 
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