Every position for the Brigham Young Cougars had their own struggles and difficulties during 2010. The tight end spot suffered the most. While every other position group found their groove eventually, the tight ends did not. As a unit, they finished the season with 26 receptions, 315 yards, and 0 touchdowns. If you want to put a positive spin on it, 12 receptions for 152 yards came in the final three games of the season. Will the tight ends have a presence in 2011 or should BYU just substitute a slot receiver or extra lineman depending on the down and distance?
Besides inexperience, part of the problem last year was the five man log jam. Two of the five have been moved. Marcus Mathews was never really a tight end and is now a WR/TE hybrid. Mike Muehlmann has moved to defensive end. However, it is still a four man race with Kaneakua Friel, home from missionary service, joining Devin Mahina, Austin Holt, and Richard Wilson. Wilson may be the best, but rumor is that he found his way into former Offensive Coordinator and Tight Ends Coach Robert Anae’s dog house, and the playing time and play selection became personal. Wilson also had offseason shoulder surgery.
Bottom line is that one of these four needs to step up and pick up 500 yards through the air and score five touchdowns. BYU needs a tight end who is lethal in goal line situations. There really is no reason why one of these four can’t do it. Look at their credentials.
• Austin Holt: U.S. Army All-American.
• Devin Mahina: Rated 11th best tight end by Rivals.com.
• Richard Wilson: Rated 4th best tight end by ESPN.com.
• Kaneakua Friel: All-State tight end in Hawaii.
Dennis Pitta and Chad Lewis were both walk-ons.
Notwithstanding initial fall camp reports to the contrary, I think one of the four will come through. Wilson could easily be the guy. He had 3 receptions for 45 yards in the 2010 season opener. That was good enough for second on the team, and he was clearly the quarterback’s favorite tight end target. Jake Heaps and Wilson started their BYU careers together, which, I think, will have an influence on the field.
Matthew Edwards and Colby Jorgensen are the other tight ends on the roster.
Other 2011 Previews: Season Preview, Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs, Offensive Line, Defensive Backs, Linebackers, Defensive Line, Special Teams
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