Arizona football: Tight end was rarely used in '12; that should change

2013-07-07T00:00:00Z 2013-07-31T22:32:55Z Arizona football: Tight end was rarely used in '12; that should changeDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

If you watched the Arizona Wildcats just once in Rich Rodriguez's first season in Tucson, you know he likes his team to play fast.

He'll tell you as often as possible that a huddle is the biggest waste of time on a football field. He wants athletes at all 11 positions, quick snaps and probably wouldn't be opposed to using a baton rather than a football.

That said, where does the tight end position fit in? Last year, it didn't.

A tight end didn't account for a single catch during the UA's 8-5 campaign. Look for that to change this season.

Terrence Miller, listed on the roster as a wide receiver, will also see time at tight end and provide a mismatch if a linebacker tries to defend him. The position group also features Josh Kern, who originally signed with the Wildcats as a quarterback. The common theme? Miller and Kern are athletes who can play multiple spots on the field and give defenses a hard time.

"If you have variety, you have options, and if you have options, it's a great place to be," tight ends coach Charlie Ragle said this spring. "We feel really good about that. Our thing is we have to go fast. We're going to go as fast as we can. In order to go fast, you don't want to do a lot of subbing. So if we can sit there and keep those guys on the field, it will put us in a great position."

Michael Cooper, who played last season, will also be in the mix when fall camp opens next month. He's more of a blocker than a pass-catcher, but still gives Rodriguez and Ragle another option.

Here's our reset of the tight ends.

What the group looked like before spring practice: Michael Cooper, Jr.; Nolan Heyer, So.; Josh Kern, Fr.; Dame Ndiaye, So.; Ben Sullivan, So.

What it looks like now: Cooper, Heyer and Kern

Help on the way: None of UA's incoming recruits are listed as tight ends.

By the numbers: 326: Passes completed by UA quarterbacks last season, none to a tight end.

The lowdown: Ndiaye was a defensive end last season but was listed as a tight end entering spring. He decided to transfer after spring ball. Sullivan, a Salpointe Catholic product and a walk-on, was removed from the roster after spring. Heyer, the younger brother of former UA pitcher Kurt Heyer, is a walk-on who provides depth.

On StarNet: Follow the Wildcats through the offseason on Arizona Daily Star reporter Daniel Berk's UA football blog at

Summer stock

The Star will preview the UA's position groups over the next five weeks. Today, we look at the tight ends.

• Coming Thursday: Offensive line

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

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