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Oklahoma football: Is the tight end position making a comeback at OU?

OU fans will get their first glance at the 2014 Sooners in next Saturday’s spring game, and while Blake Bell’s knee injury might dampen some of the excitement, lots of eyes will still be on the tight ends.
by Jason Kersey Published: April 6, 2014

/articleid/3951091/1/pictures/2393527">Photo -  Blake Bell (10) goes through drills as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) begin spring practice on Owen Field at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Blake Bell (10) goes through drills as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) begin spring practice on Owen Field at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

When OU used tight ends in 2013, it was generally fullbacks Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski filling that role. Position coach Jay Boulware often cites that as evidence that the group was important to the overall offensive effort — even if they weren’t catching many passes.

“I had two kids that played 50-something plays a game in Trey Millard and Aaron Ripkowski,” Boulware said. “We rushed for more yards last year on our offense than we have in I don’t know how long, and our tight ends had a lot to do with that.

“Now as far as our productivity in the throwing game? That’s where we have to improve.”

Bell, who started eight games at quarterback last season but switched to tight end in January, will miss the rest of spring practices with a knee injury suffered last week. But junior-college transfer Isaac Ijalana and sophomore Taylor McNamara could make waves this fall. OU also will add Tulsa Union product Carson Meier this summer.

“For the first time maybe since I was a recruit or in college, I looked at the highlight film of the incoming tight ends we have this year,” Smith said. “They all look pretty salty. It’s nice to see that type of athlete back on campus for OU.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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