Tight Ends Making an Impact
It didn’t take long for quarterback Chris Turner to complete a pass to his starting tight end Saturday. On Maryland’s first offensive play, Turner completed a pass to Dan Gronkowski for nine yards. In all, tight ends caught seven passes for a combined 47 yards Saturday. Gronkowski caught four passes for 24 yards. Lansford Watson caught three passes for 23 yards. So seven of Turner’s 15 completions were to tight ends. Offensive coordinator James Franklin talked at length during training camp about wanting to use the tight ends a lot in his West Coast-version of the offense. Coach Ralph Friedgen elaborated on the use of the tight ends this week.
“A lot of the things James does in the passing game, tight ends are first read. [Redshirt freshman] Lansford Watson is learning, still making a transition from high school wide receiver to tight end. Sometimes blocking is not one of his favorite things. But he is getting better. He has very good hands. And I think he will develop into a very good tight end before long. He can run and he is probably a little more maneuverable than Dan, who has the ankle [bothering him].
“We have to get Dan healthy. We were fortunate to have both Joey [Haynos] and Dan as kind of bookends. We don’t have that luxury right now. I wouldn’t put Lansford in Joey’s category yet. Hopefully he will develop into that. But we had 6-6 and 6-8, 260 pound tight ends that can run pretty well, that’s pretty nice. Not too many teams in the country had that. Now besides Dan, our tight ends are young.”
Will Gronkowski have an even bigger impact once he is fully healthy? What does everyone think about Watson’s progress so far?
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