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Tight end position looks to make big impact in 2011

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

While it is often overlooked in the Ohio State offense, the tight end position may be the deepest and most talented position on the 2011 football squad.

Led by junior Jake Stoneburner, the four guys at the tight end position believe they can make a big impact in the offense this season.

True freshman Jeff Heuerman said through camp and at the scrimmages the tight ends have been making plays.

“Tight ends are getting the ball a lot more,” Heuerman said.

Last season Stoneburner had 21 receptions for 222 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Reid Fragel also had nine catches for 121 yards.

“I definitely think that with the lack of depth at wide receiver, and me and Reid’s ability to make plays and knowing the system pretty well, I think they’ll lean on us a little more, especially with a young quarterback,” Stoneburner said.

In addition to the thin wide receiving core, the quarterback situation is not yet set in stone. No matter who the starter may be, senior Joe Bauserman or freshman Braxton Miller, there is going to be inexperience under center, as neither quarterback has started a collegiate level game.

“With an inexperienced quarterback, they are going to count on us a little more,” Stoneburner said.

Offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said he was impressed with the talent at the tight end position.

“(Fragel and Stoneburner) will be a good tandem of guys to use. And the young guys are really good too,” Bollman said.

Fragel said that a lot of his role has been to help develop the younger tight ends, and that he hopes they can become a bigger target on offense.

“We’ve got a pretty strong group of guys. Both of them (Stoneburner and Heuerman) have good footwork, which is surprising for young tight ends, and I think that’s the core to any good tight end, solid footwork,” Fragel said.

Heuerman echoed both Stoneburner and Fragel’s thoughts on his position.

“We have a great bunch of guys. All of us have really been working hard this camp,” Heuerman said. “I’ve been learning a lot from Jake and Reed. We’ve really been competing and doing well this camp.”

With DeVier Posey’s five-game suspension, personnel packages should have one, if not multiple tight ends on the field. How many tight ends can actually be on the field at once?

“We have personnel groups we can get up to three or four in there,” Fragel said laughing.

After a turbulent offseason, this group of guys is ready to get out on the field and play some football.

“Ready? Yeah, oh yeah,” Fragel said. “We’re ready.”

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