During the Miami Hurricanes’ Spring Game, the world got to see how new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis plans to run the offense. There were a few things that I noticed, but the way he schemed the ball into the tight end’s hands was very interesting to me. How did Gattis use the tight ends in the Spring Game, and how does he plan to utilize them going forward?
The Block and Release
During the Spring Game, Gattis showed his preferred way of getting the ball in the tight end’s hands: the block and release. The tight end stays back, acting like he is part of the pass protection. After two or so seconds, he takes off and is usually open. In that two or so seconds, the linebackers have already dropped into coverage, resulting in an easy 5-10 yards before contact. Most times, the LBs think the TE is out of the play once he blocks for one second. An easy, simple play that the ‘Canes will run a lot in the fall.
In the Spring Game, the TE was targeted five times on this play, with it being completed 4 times for 36 yards (9 yards per reception).
The Clearout Drag
The other play that Gattis loved in the Spring Game is the clearout drag. The wide receivers on one side run clear-out routes, with the tight end running into the vacated space on a drag route. Primarily used against man coverage, the clearout drag play makes defenders run into each other and leaves the tight end alone with a plethora of space to work with. In reality, it’s a simple play that gets the ball into a playmakers hands. Tight ends are hard to bring down once they get a head of steam, so this play seems to be one that Gattis will utilize during the season.
What Can We Expect In ‘22?
The ‘Canes have an interesting quartet of tight ends. Led by senior Will Mallory, the ‘Canes have three capable players behind him in sophomore Elijah Arroyo, redshirt freshman Kahlil Brantley and true freshman Jaleel Skinner. Mallory missed the Spring Game, but he is seen as one of the most underrated tight ends in the nation. Arroyo and Brantley had a chance to showcase their skillsets in the Spring Game due to Mallory’s absence. Skinner was ranked as the third best tight end in the 2022 class. All three have unique and different skillsets from one another. Regardless of who is playing tight end, they will be heavily utilized in Gattis’ offense. I expect to see these plays a lot during the 2022 season.
When it comes to comparing their expected production to last year’s stats, I expect the tight ends to take a step back in terms of touchdown production. In the Spring Game, Gattis’ red-zone ideology was clear: ground-and-pound the ball into the end-zone. Of Tyler Van Dyke’s four touchdown drives, three of them were rushing touchdowns. The tight ends weren’t a big priority on the red-zone drives.