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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Utes to turn tight ends loose

For many seasons now, the use of tight ends in Utah’s offense has been a bit of a joke. Every season the Utes promise they are going to use the players more often, and every season they seem to retain their role as nothing more than glorified blockers.
This year, finally, expect things to be different.
Utah co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick, whose BYU pedigree has influenced the way he coaches, promises the tight ends are going to be active in Utah’s passing scheme in 2010.
Two touchdown catches by Kendrick Moeai in the Poinsettia Bowl win over Cal were only a hint of what is to come. Two touchdown catches by a tight end in a game wouldn’t cause a stir at most programs, but consider at Utah last year, those TD catches represented a doubling of what was caught in the 12 previous games.
“Going out on a high like that, that is something you want to continue the next year,” Moeai said. “They are giving us opportunities right now to make our plays.”
The reason Roderick is determined to use the tight ends is that the Utes finally feel they have legitimate catching threats.
“We’ve made a point of recruiting that position for the last four years and it has taken that long to develop a pool of depth,” Roderick said. “Brad [Clifford] was on a [church] mission, then we recruited Kendrick, then Westlee [Tonga]. It has been a long time coming, but we have finally built a pool of talent.”
Moeai, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound sophomore, and Brad Clifford, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound senior, have the inside track on the starting role.

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