The off season of college football is a long one. Sure, recruiting helps fill the void, but nothing compares to game day and the excitement that Canes football brings. To help ease you into the post season, SOTU will be going through the position groups of this year's Hurricanes, and comparing them to the previous year's group. The purpose of this is to see how the team has changed, what improved, what didn't, and what to look forward to in 2013.
In this episode of reviews, we're going to take a look at some tight ends.
2012 was supposed to be a big year for the tight ends, as Walford and Cleveland were both extremely promising players after a good 2011 campaign. However, once the actual games rolled around, it became clear that, for whatever reason, they were just not ready for prime time. They were highly unstable targets for Morris, and as such, saw a huge decline in their roles in the offense. Only late in the year did Walford come out of nowhere to be a great target, while Cleveland was pretty much nowhere to be found. So did the 2011 production easily outpace what the position put up in 2012? Let's take a look:
As you can tell, the 2012 numbers were actually increased over 2011, but perhaps not as much as the coaches had hoped. Even with contribution from one more player in 2011 (even though it was only 1 catch, the point remains), the 2012 squad outplayed the previous year's but nearly doubling the yards and average, and actually doubling the scoring. All with one less player and just 2 more total catches.
So how does this bode for the 2013 group? Well, things certainly don't look so good for Asante Cleveland, as 2012 was supposed to be his breakout year, and after disappearing for the most part he looks to be buried on the depth chart behind Walford and new guy Beau Sandland. Walford came on very strong towards the end of the year, and there's no reason he shouldn't be able to carry that through to this season, although because of the slow start to 2012, allow me to hold me breath on that.
The additions of the above mentioned Sandland, who is about as close to a Jeremy Shockey clone as one is going to get, and Standish Dobard, who is a fantastic player in his own right, add a heck of a lot of depth and skill to a position that was relatively thin and dependent on the production of just 3 main players. If I had to predict a depth chart for the TE's right now, it would be extremely simple. I see no way that, on throwing sets, Sandland and Walford are not out there. When it comes time to block, Dye is your man one one side, and Walford/Sandland will hold down the opposite spot. Those three look to be the top of the food chain, unless Dobard comes on strong and early, or Cleveland comes out of absolutely nowhere to be the player his talent says he can.
What are your thoughts?