Griz Tight Ends Step Up - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Griz Tight Ends Step Up

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Aside from the offensive line, a major question mark heading into the season was the Grizzly tight-ends, as jordan harper decided to stop playing football, and no other tight-end returned to the team with much experience. Which meant a young position group, and one senior switching positions., but so far...so good.

"Spring ball helped a ton for all of us. Because that is right when I switched, and all of them are young. This summer we were here working here too, and fall camp on top of that when we were able to actually wear pads was when we took our biggest step was our fall camp," says Griz senior TE Mitch Saylor.

"I think we came out of camp really well. There was a big question mark whether Mike Ralston or Mitch could actually handle the job. I think they both have proven they can, and they'll be very effective at the tight-end, the Y and the H spot," says Griz TE/Special Teams coach Ross Brunelle.

They already showed their effectiveness, as both Saylor and Mike Ralston played a role in the passing game, with Ralston getting a fourth quarter touchdown against Wyoming.

"Everyone's improved a ton. It was a tough transition for me, since I've never played tight-end. Learning football from inside instead of outside where the receivers are took a little bit of time, but still getting better and learning every day," says Saylor.

While Saylor is in a new position for his senior year, his coaches say the changes aren't too extreme.

"The stuff we're asking Mitch to do is the same stuff at wide-out as far as blocking over-hang players, blocking safeties and corners. Other than putting his hand down and blocking a big physical defensive end, there's not much difference. For those guys that are a little smaller, it's about using your leverage and angles to block the bigger defensive ends," says Brunelle.

And at the end of the day, it's football, and that means being tough.

"Ross does a good job of harping on physicality first, because we can't do anything in the pass game if we can't block, so we need to block first, take care of our assignments, and that will help us if we do our job blocking, it will help us in the pass game," says Saylor.

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