Tight end position continues to be a Fall Camp bright spot for Nebraska
Whether it was Tim Beck’s offense, or Tommy Armstrong’s style as a quarterback, for whatever reason the tight end position at Nebraska has not had a prominent role in the offense in quite some time.
As the Huskers wrapped up their traditional portion of Fall Camp on Friday, the improved play of the tight end position continues to be one of the bigger surprises of the offense.
The Huskers must replace three players from 2016, and two of them are currently on NFL rosters – Cethan Carter and Sam Cotton.
There’s no question that Tyler Hoppes will be the No. 1 featured player at tight end, but you can also expect to see Jack Stoll, Matt Snyder and Connor Ketter heavily involved as well.
At one point the tight end position looked like it was going to be a major deficiency of this football team, but after the off-season Hoppes had, there’s a good chance we are going to see the production be more than anyone ever could’ve imagined.
“I think the biggest thing for Tyler is, last year we knew what he could do athletically, he has soft hands, fluid in route running and last year we told him to get more physical,” tight ends coach Tavita Thompson said. “You need to be willing to stick your face in the fan and be able to hold the edge and he took it upon himself to really make sure he can do that. He’s proving himself to be able to do that and it’s really nice to see. He’s by far the most physical he’s ever been.”
The school record for receptions in a season by a tight end is currently 32, set by Mike McNeill in 2008. When you look at what Hoppes has done in Fall Camp, along with his work ethic, he’s got a legitimate chance to break that record with Tanner Lee now throwing him the football. Lee will incorporate the check down to the tight end as much as we’ve ever seen at Nebraska.
“Everybody is chasing Tyler for what he does in his work ethic,” Thompson said. “That’s not to take anything away from Jack Stoll because he’s one of the most improved players. Matt Snyder has never had an issue of working hard. That’s kind of the group as a whole, they know what they are deficient at. They are going to work to get better at it and that’s always nice to see.”
And don’t kid yourself, this football team is going to miss what Carter brought to the table the last few seasons.
He was as good of a blocking tight end as the Huskers have had in while, but Thompson is confident Hoppes is going to be a difference maker as well.
“Obviously there is going to be the first game jitters and all of that, but hopefully we can get that under the boat real quick and just start rowing along,” Thompson said.
“Cethan was a special guy, the things he could do and how physical he was and how explosive he was, you miss a little bit of that. But you make up for it with Tyler’s finesse and the physicality comes, it’s night and day. It’ll be interesting when we get underneath the lights to see how far he really has come.”