Willie Taggart’s offense is predicated on finding the one-on-one match ups and giving the ball playmakers in space. This has been his MO since coaching at Western Kentucky, but there – as well as other stops – he didn’t have the available talent pool that was left for him by Jimbo Fisher at FSU.
Now he has elite athletes at every position on offense.
One position group that hasn’t been as prominent at FSU since the departure of Nick O’Leary left is the tight end. Ryan Izzo showed flashes and much was expected of Marvin Saunders, but under Fisher in recent year’s tight end has been relegated to a blocker and running dummy routes that every now and then receive the ball.
Not really a threat.
Statistically speaking, Izzo would’ve been on par with the production of Taggart’s tight end at Orgeon, Jacob Breeland. In 2016, Taggart’s tight end at USF, Mitchell Wilcox, had fewer targets, but averaged 23 yards-per-catch. In 2015, between Sean Price and Elkanah Dillion, the position accounted for almost 800 yards on the season.
What makes me believe that tight end productivity should open up at FSU in 2018 are the athletes the Noles have at wide receiver. DJ Matthews, Nyqwan Murray, Tamorrion Terry and Keith Gavin should stress defenses to the point where Tre’ McKitty, Naseir “pop” Upshur and converted fullback Gabe Nabers can take advantage from the tight end spot. Reports from spring practice indicate the tight ends have received more action against a defense that at many times has forced the young quarterbacks into throwing the ball to what should be considered the less “athletic” positions.
“Sophomore tight end Tre’ McKitty looked smooth going through wide receiver drills,” Wayne McGahee wrote in the Tallahassee Democrat. “He worked consistently first through drills and Naseir Upshur worked second.”
This can be considered another wrinkle in this offense.
In the practice I attended, I noticed Nabers making plays as well. The fullback is definitely going to have a role in this system as an H Back. I’ve always said this, something I got from Old Man Bowden, “if you want to win give the ball to the fullback!”
RELATED: The “four fights” Willie Taggart is challenging his team to take on.
Article Originally Appeared On Gridiron Now: http://gridironnow.com/new-offense-should-increase-productivity-for-florida-state-tight-ends-in-2018/