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In the last decade or so the tight end position has infringed on the domain of wide receivers. Especially in the NFL, it has become a glamour position that prizes athleticism over grunt work. But for Tom Herman’s offense, glamour is in the grunt work that helps the offense operate as intended. He’ll take any and all modern day mutants at the position, but they must possess the willingness to aid in the running game first and foremost.
Joe’s post from yesterday is instructive for this one. It’s easy to appreciate the individual talent of a wide receiver who makes a big play but it’s harder to understand the sequence of plays that preceded it that allowed it to work. The game moves fast and the game within the game moves faster. Defenses have to adjust to stop what’s working, and offenses have to scrap what isn’t.
Texas didn’t scrap what wasn’t working last year because Herman, like most coaches, is rigid to his philosophy. We saw his intent to use the tight end position but it’s harder to see what might have been had the position not been neutered by injuries and lack of talent. That is, if you don’t watch a lot of football.
What some would describe as stubborn or lacking creativity, Herman would call being patient and program building. It certainly isn’t excuse making to lament the lack of tight ends. If sticking with his preferred offense despite lack of options at a key position doesn’t underline his intent to use the position, perhaps adding four signees and two commitments in less than two years does.
While Texas continues to search for mutants at the position (it may have one in Brayden Liebrock), it will happily go into the season with a complement of grunts who possess just enough athleticism to unlock the position and in the process help unlock the offense.