Mizzou practice No. 2: The evolution of the Tiger tight end

Tight ends practicing for expanded roles within Mizzou offense

Tyler Fulghum, Sports Director, tylerf@kmiz.com
POSTED: 06:04 PM CDT Aug 02, 2013    UPDATED: 10:20 PM CDT Aug 02, 2013 
Sean Culkin 8.2.13
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Missouri held its second practice of the fall Friday morning under overcast skies and light showers

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Offensive players and assistant coaches were the assigned group to meet with the media today.  That presented an opportunity to grill that side of the ball and the coaches involved about how the offense will look different in 2013.

First and foremost, the depth chart now has 12 starting spots on the offensive side of the ball.  Of course, only 11 players can be on the field at one time; that rule has not changed.

But the move signifies a subtle shift within the offense for the tight end position.  It's no longer a glorified receiver.

Tight ends now have position specific drills to do during individual work focusing on blocking techniques and footwork.  Previously, tight ends mostly worked with wide receivers and quarterbacks during individual periods practicing their catching and route running techniques.

That will still be an important facet to the Tiger offense for the position, but as offensive coordinator Josh Henson pointed out after the practice, his scheme will not function as it should without a tight end that can be versatile enough to help with pass protection and run blocking. 

Remember, Henson has a background coaching tight ends at two different stops before coming to Mizzou and working as a co-offensive line coach prior to the offensive coordinator promotion.

Protection is a premium element to his scheme.

Getting the tight ends on the roster to master the the added responsibilities within the offense, though, will take time.

Henson was very blunt in admitting that the group still has a lot of work to do on the blocking end, and because of that much of the coaching focus early in camp will be geared towards protection fundamentals as opposed to receiving fundamentals.