By Mike Kuchar
Senior Research Manager
It’s no secret that one of the biggest obstacles in developing the versatile tight end in an 11 or 12 personnel system is time. This player is entrusted with learning a great deal of information in a small time period. His time is torn between working with offensive linemen in the run game and pass protection only to be tossed over to the receivers for route progression work. It’s a daily carousel that must be honed in an organized fashion so that these players are prepared to accomplish everything that they are asked to.
At an FBS level program like Texas with ten paid assistant coaches on staff, one might not think this to be a problem. But according to Longhorns tight ends coach Derek Warehime it’s an issue he has to deal with daily. Because he’s only given 25 minutes during game week and can’t steal time from special team segments (tight ends are involved), he must be creative in how to add time to get done what he needs to. So, in this case we wanted to provide whatever coaches with a formulized plan on how to accomplish everything they need to, including drill work. We’ve even enlisted the help of a high school program that runs a similar system, Waverly High School (OH), and offensive line coach Jacob Knight who will spend a good deal of time working with this player during game weeks.
For a frame of reference, Waverly High School is a district with about 220 boys at the high school, 55 of who are football players aged 9-12. This past season their player was much more of a fullback than a tight end, so they spent a lot more time with him in the run game than pass game. According to Coach Knight, this season’s model is a converted wide receiver so he anticipates more of a 50/50 balance with run and pass to him. “Because of this you have to have a coach that is dedicated to this position and for us this guy is our tight ends coach/Special Teams coordinator Daniel Sand,” said Coach Knight. “For us knowing we have to balance this player we felt it was ultra important to have a coach dedicated solely to this position.”
Our research is segmented into a three-day work schedule during game weeks. In most college design, Sunday is day one (players are off Monday), Tuesday and day two and Wednesday is day three. By the time Thursday rolls around it’s travel time for away games or more times spent in walk through. At the high school level, Tuesday is day one, Wednesday is day two and Thursday is day three.
Day 1 Schedule
For Texas this is a general drill workday with 25 minutes of pure individual time. This time consists of hand placement, insert reads and basic rules. Coach Warehime will also mix in some pass protection drill work and whatever “game corrections” he needs to go over from the previous game.
Waverly High School Model
Monday is a big workday for Waverly. The tight end work is broken down into the following segments:
2 Minutes Stance Segment
On line of scrimmage off the line of scrimmage and split out as slot.
6 Minutes Kick Out Progression
Tight end will start on a line, and the coach will give them a verbal cue to take their first drive (step). Tight end then works his first and second drive step with emphasis on getting on their proper kick out angle for power schemes.
10 Minutes Routes on Air
Tight Ends are working on running their routes appropriately as they fit into route concepts.