Kentucky’s tight end group is long overdue for a breakout year. Only once since 2007 has a Kentucky tight end caught 20 or more passes in a season—CJ Conrad with 30 receptions in 2018—and even then he was severely underused in the offense. Before Conrad you will have to go back to Jacob Tamme and his 56 catches his All-SEC senior season to find a year a tight end caught 20 passes at Kentucky. For perspective, 73 college tight ends caught 20+ in 2019, the last full season of football.
So it is fair to say UK’s tight ends have been underutilized and for various reasons we don’t need to revisit, but Marrow is pressuring new offensive coordinator Liam Coen to feed the tight ends in the new pro-style system. While hosting Wednesday’s KSR, Marrow couldn’t wait to ask Coen how he plans to work Marrow’s position group into the passing attack.
“I have one question,” the Big Dog said. “How are we going to get the tight ends the ball?”
After the laughter in the room died down, Coen told UK’s tight ends coach, “The tight ends in this system have always naturally gotten a lot of targets,” pointing to the successes of L.A. Rams tight ends Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett as proof. He explained that sometimes practice can be frustrating for a tight end if they’re not getting frequent looks, but assured Marrow the opportunities will be there in time.
“There’s ways you guys know that we can game plan, specifically in the red zone or third down matchups, for tight ends to be able to get them on linebackers or on safeties if we can; so really just naturally, those guys get touches they haven’t been used to getting this past spring.”
“I do think we have the ability to make those guys an asset and it’s a group that can help us win,” he continued. “I think we haven’t even scratched the surface yet of what’s come off of (spring practice). Some things we’ve talked about, (we will) really take to the next level from what we installed this spring… I’m excited about that group and I think we need to have that group play really well for us to be successful, which I know they will.”
Hear Coen’s full explanation to Marrow: