The tight end position is a hybrid.Â It is a cross between an offensive lineman and a wide receiver.Â A player that is seen to be a little too small to be a lineman and maybe does not have as good of hands as the receivers was usuallyÂ made a tight end.Â Primarily used as a blocker that lines up in a three-point stance at either end (sometimes on both sides) of the offensive line of scrimmage.
You need to look no further than the coach of the tight ends unit to realize those that hold this position can be so much more and are.Â Tight ends coach Jake Moreland is the all-time leader in receptions by a tight end (143) and receiving yards by a tight end (1,414) in the history of Western Michigan football.Â Tell him that blocking is the only thing a tight end should do and he will respectfully disagree.
Moreland will never tell you that blocking is not an extremely important part of the tight end's job and that is evident during practice and especially during the unit's individual drills.Â The tight ends work on foot work during performing effective blocking.Â They work to position their opponent at an angle and in a direction that provides their offense the best chance to succeed.Â Many times when a running back is able to get to the outside or "turn the corner" it is because a tight did his job in sealing off the defensive end.
Now their is also the pass protection.Â Everyone's job on the line is to protect the quarterback and allow him to make the throw.Â It is the job of the linemen, the running backs and the tight ends that are not running patterns.Â But a tight end can effectively do both.Â Many times the tight end will hold his block for a moment and then release into the flat between the defensive line and the linebackers, becoming another threat for an opponent to pay attention to during a play.
Brandon Ledbetter is the leading returning tight end.Â The true sophomore played in all 11 games during his rookie campaign and hauled in a pair of touchdown grabs while averaging 6.9 yards per reception.
Former Western Michigan Bronco and current Denver Bronco Tony Scheffler was in the mold of his positional coach and is an example of what the tight ends corps looks to emulate.Â Ledbetter is joined by Keith Schultz, who snagged a five-yard touchdown reception in Thursday's scrimmage, Matt Stevens and newly converted Fernand Kashama.
Along with the newcomers, WMU looks to continue the tight end tradition on Stadium Drive in 2006 and beyond.
Courtesy of the WMU SID