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Incoming! More Tight Ends More Problems

The Bearcats signed their biggest crop of tight ends in recent recruiting history. Now what to do with them all, because they can't all stick at the position. So what is the way forward?

Matt Opper: Eddie Gran and Co. went after a lot of tight ends in this class. They came up with three commitments from tight ends (Travis Johnson, Chris Burton, and Korey Cunningham) plus, Tyler Cogswell who everyone assumes will be a TE, eventually. With Blake Annen, D.J. Dowdy, Jared Golden, Josh Russ and Matt Staubach already on the roster the Bearcats could carry as many as 8 tight ends on the roster this year. That raises two disparate questions. 1) Will Eddie Gran and co. actually try to carry that many tight ends on the roster? 2) What does he envision the role for the tight end position to be?

Jeff Gentil: I cannot see them keeping all of these guys at tight end unless they were planning to transform the offense into a true ball control type of attack. More tight ends means more seam passing which would be fine if they are able to develop a Celek/Kelce player who can get open down field. Sure UC has had success developing tight ends lately, but both Celek and Kelce were under different staffs, as the next one obviously would be. (And since they don't currently have a tight end that is an anagram for Celek or Kelce, it's going to be difficult)

My gut tells me they will shift a few of the guys earmarked for tight end to either offensive tackles or see what they can do on the defensive line. All three of the tight ends from the newest class are pretty highly regarded at that position, but I just can't see all three coming here knowing there was such a logjam there.

Question for you, with Tuberville being more of a run-first coach, do they shift to more of a pro set with more tight ends, jumbo packages, and between-the-tackles running? And if so, do fans collectively groan and think Mark Dantonio is back in town with his "3 yards and a cloud of dust" excitement?

MO: No, I don't. The notion that Eddie Gran is going to try to turn the Bearcats into some sort of Wisconsin lite is baffling to me, unless Al Borges is a much bigger influence on him than I am expecting. He has always been a one back offense guy, or at least the offensive coordinators he has worked for have been. The Bearcats will be multiple on offense, using a wide range of personnel groupings and formations. But Eddie Gran wouldn't have put together this offensive staff if he wanted to run power 30 times a game.

If the fans groan in won't be because the offense isn't exciting enough, it will because the offense doesn't click. My biggest worry is that Gran and co will try to do too many things. A classic mistake from first time play callers is that they add complexity to the offense, often times needlessly. The most effective offenses tend to only run a handful of schemes, three or four run blocking concepts, five or six passing concepts. But those 10 concepts can be run out of any formation, with any personnel. That is a lesson that is usually only learned through repetition and experience, Gran has lots of coaching experience, but he has never called plays before, and I have no idea what he is actually planning.

JG: What comforts me about the potential to do a lot of different things is 1) a veteran quarterback (whoever it may be) and 2) a veteran, cohesive offensive line. You can interchange the other skill positions in and they won't be as vital in my opinion.

Tuberville's offenses have been known to score a lot of points, so I really don't think UC fans will care exactly how that happens. Eddie Gran has a great pedigree as an offensive mind as well. I fully expect a dynamic offense every year that is balanced and keeps defenses on their toes. But I do expect a few of these tight ends to ultimately switch positions. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. There are too many big bodies to be buried down the depth chart when they, like Connor Barwin and Travis Kelce before them, were moved either to or from the tight end position.