Penn State copes with drop in tight end stats
College Football Videos
UNIVERSITY PARK — Bill O'Brien sent two tight ends to the Pro Bowl during his final season as an NFL offensive coordinator. During his first season as a college head coach, he not only turned a freshman into an all-Big Ten honoree at tight end, but he also signed the player who was rated by many as the top high school recruit at the position.
Even if his team hasn't been leaning on the position nearly as much this season, O'Brien insists Penn State remains a tight ends' haven.
“The tight ends,” O'Brien said, “will always be a big part of what we do at Penn State.”
Kyle Carter's reception on third-and-goal from the 15 on Saturday in overtime was the winning score against Illinois. It was Carter's first catch in 21 days and just his 14th of the season. Contrast that to 2012, when Carter was second on the team with 36 catches in only nine games.
Carter's numbers mirror those of Penn State's tight ends. Last season, Nittany Lions tight ends accounted for 83 receptions for 1,097 yards and 10 touchdowns. With two-thirds of this season complete, tight ends have combined for 39 catches, 440 yards and two touchdowns.
Last season, tight ends accounted for 30 percent of the Nittany Lions' receptions, 33 percent of the team's receiving yards and 42 percent of its passing touchdowns. In 2013, the tight end shares — almost all of which has come from Carter, Jesse James and heralded freshman Adam Breneman — have fallen to 22 percent (catches), 20 percent (receiving yards) and 14 percent (passing TDs).
“We talk about it all the time, just getting the ball thrown to us more,” Carter said. “We just know that whenever it is thrown to us, we've just got to catch it so that (quarterback Christian Hackenberg) will throw us the ball again.”
There are plenty of reasons for the lack of production from tight ends, including the efforts of Allen Robinson. After his third 11-plus catch performance Saturday, the junior is second nationally in receiving yards (130.4 per game) and tied for eighth in catches (8.3).
Another contributing factor for the downtick in tight end production is Matt Lehman's season-ending knee injury in the opener against Syracuse.
Carter has spent most of the past calendar year at less than 100 percent health. A dislocated right wrist in the Nebraska game ended his season early and kept him out of spring practice. Then, a Syracuse player fell on his left elbow Aug. 31.
Although he didn't miss any games, Carter couldn't lift weights properly, and the lack of ability to push left him virtually useless in the blocking game. It wasn't until the Indiana game Oct. 5 that, Carter said, he was 100 percent.
“Everybody that catches the ball, you know, gets a little frustrated (when they aren't getting as many catches),” Carter said. “But as long as we're winning games and as long as my friends are doing their thing, I'm definitely happy.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh Regatta will go on without boats, water events
- Rossi: Rutherford shines as old boss pouts
- LaBar: What’s killing professional wrestling
- Crane tips over, smashes into roof of building at Pitt
- Lower Burrell couple charged with 6 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty
- Fireworks displays costly, but W. Pa. communities feel obligated
- Former Jeannette coach held for trial on charges of assault on teen girls
- Liriano, Pirates complete sweep of Tigers
- Shaken by economic, political turmoil, MLB forsaking Venezuela
- Penguins’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin
- Pyrotechnics display turns from benefit to burden in Tarentum