NORMAN — First-year Oklahoma assistant coach Jay Boulware couldn’t provide a complete answer when asked about the Sooners’ tight end situation entering the 2013 preseason.
“We’ve got guys who haven’t played,” Boulware said. “It’s still in a rebuilding process. Until we get to a point where we’ve got some guys here who have some experience on the football field, I’m encouraged by the guys in the room and their attitude and just the overall position.”
Last season, junior Brannon Green caught the only three passes by any OU tight end all year. It was — by far — the lowest production from the position on any of Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma teams, which have often included excellent tight end play from the likes of Trent Smith, Joe Jon Finley Jermaine Gresham and James Hanna.
Green returns for his senior season, and he’ll compete for playing time with redshirt freshmen Taylor McNamara and Sam Grant.
Senior fullback Trey Millard, whose versatility has made him one of the best players on the Sooners’ current roster, could continue seeing some time at tight end in 2013, Boulware said, as could junior fullback Aaron Ripkowski.
“We’re talking about having multiple guys in the room,” Boulware said. “Trey plays tight end for us. Ripkowski’s another guy we’re talking about putting in the room with us. The fullbacks and tight ends are essentially interchangable, so we’re doing the same things, coaching the same techniques.
“That’s what you look for at the tight end position. You look for a guy who can do multiple jobs. You don’t want a guy who can just do this, because if that’s all he can do, then what’s his value to an offense that’s trying to tempo you? If we can do multiple things with our guys, we can leave our same personnel on the field and line up in different formations, and that’s what we’re looking for.”