Every year is supposed to be a breakout year for Ohio State’s tight ends. This season, that might actually be the case.
With athletic playmakers like Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett occupying the position, mixed with Urban Meyer’s offensive philosophies, the potential for a cocktail of points and highlights seems inevitable.
The duo only combined for 17 catches and 217 yards a year ago, but the offense wasn’t a well-oiled machine either. The first season in the system had numerous roadblocks along the way. Entering Year 2, the level of confidence and togetherness has hit a new high.
“Last spring we were putting in a new offense, with the new coaching staff coming in, and so the emphasis for me was on figuring it out, learning it and getting confident with it," Vannett said. “Now I've got that whole year behind me where I understand it and I can just go out and play the game and be confident. And I am definitely more confident this year than I was last spring.”
Said Heuerman: “We can do a lot, between Nick and I. We have a great combination of tight ends. That is huge. You can’t just play with one tight end. We’re getting better every day. It’ll be a good year.”
According to Heuerman, who’s developed quite a reputation for being a jokester, the tight ends are No. 1 on the offense’s pecking order – ahead of Braxton Miller. When Heuerman made the claim, he did so with a straight face. It quickly gave way to a smile, though.
The current situation Heuerman finds himself in wasn’t exactly what he signed up for. But he isn’t going to start complaining anytime soon. Jim Tressel was the head coach when Heuerman was being recruited out of Naples, Fla. Tight end wasn’t exactly a glamour position under the old regime. Recovering a fumble was the most likely way to touch the football.
In a Meyer-led offense, the viewpoint is a tad bit different.
“A lot of people say this is the best offense in the country for the tight end,” Heuerman said.
“It’s fun. No one was sure of it or what was going on last season. Once you get it down, though, it’s a lot of fun. You get to do a whole lot of things you wouldn’t normally do in a pro-style offense.”