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Position Preview Tight Ends: Group Has Both Youth and Experience

October 11, 2020
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As recently as four years ago, the tight end position did not exist in Cal football, discarded by Sonny Dykes as a relic, useful only in antiquated offenses. But under head coach Justin Wilcox and offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin, the tight end returned and will be even more prominent under new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

“We value tight ends like no other,” Musgrave said Sunday in a Zoom call with the media. “The tight ends can help us be multifaceted and diverse. A lot of tight ends have a strength, whether it is in the receiving department or blocking department. I feel like our guys can do a little bit of both. 

“They are very well-trained under (position coach)  Marcus Tuiasosopo. The tight ends are going to help us, especially in the passing game when they can get matched up on a smaller DB or a slower linebacker. I feel good about those matchups.”

Tuiasosopo said the four spring practices gave his group a hint of what Musgrave’s offense holds. “We were just getting going,” Tui said. “I want to see the extent of the development. ….Coach Musgrave spent a lot of time in the NFL and utilizing your personnel to your advantage. Our guys are excited about what that entails.”

As were all the coaches and players, Tui and the tight ends were eager to hit the practice field.

“I think we finished last year strong, so it is going to be nice to see where we are when we go for a longer period of time,.” he said.

A close look at the tight ends

Nick Alftin, 6-5, 230 Redshirt sophomore

Briefly: Former linebacker who converted to tight end in 2019, but played both positions last season. Primary duty has been on special teams.

Tui: “He is big and athletic, just getting his bearings on offense. It will be interesting to see where he is. He definitely has the length and body type to help us out.

Collin Moore, 6-4, 230, Redshirt junior

Briefly: Former quarterback who moved to tight end three years ago. Played in all 13 games last year including his first career start against Washington State as a tight end. Had two receptions for 11 yards and one touchdown.   

Tui: “He is like the glue in the room, he’s a leader. He’s physical, did well blocking last year. I am looking to him kind of take the reins and bring everyone along with him.”

© Kelley L Cox USA Today
Gavin Reinwald goes airborne 

Gavin Reinwald, 6-3, 235 Redshirt junior

Briefly:  Has played in 25 games with four starts. He has caught 25 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Four of his catches were for 15 or more yards. Also has one kick return for five yards. 

Tui: “He is athletic with great ball skills, a fighter and a competitor.”

Jake Tonges, 6-5, 230, Redshirt junior

Briefly: Became the No. 1 tight end by midseason. Played in all 13 games with nine starts including the last eight games. Recorded 13 catches for 262 yards and one touchdown on a career-long 60-yarder at Ole Miss that was the longest Cal play from the line of scrimmage in 2019. Eight of his 13 catches were explosive plays of 15+ yards while five were for more than 20 yards Averaged a team-high 20.2 yards per reception but did not have enough catches to qualify for the list of NCAA or Pac-12 leaders.

Tui: He kind of jumped onto the scene last year, made big plays for us. He really improved as a blocker as the season went on to go with his receiving skills.  I expect a lot of production out of him this year.”

Elijah Mojarro, 6-4, 235, Redshirt freshman

Briefly: Did not see any playing time in redshirt season. In high school, totaled 61 receptions for 623 yards and six touchdowns. Named Cal's Scout Team Offensive Player of the Week for his performances in practices leading up to a win at UCLA.

Tui: “He really transformed his body last year, and is maturing physically. I am really excited to see his role expand this year. He can do it all, he can run, he can catch he can block. He is your prototype tight end.”

Jake Muller, 6-5, 225, Freshman

Briefly  Played three varsity seasons and compiled 52 receptions for 786 yards and seven touchdowns, as well as one tackle in high school.

Tui:  “He is long and athletic. His ability to run and catch is what excites me, I am looking forward to seeing how he does at this level.”

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Discussion from...

Position Preview Tight Ends: Group Has Both Youth and Experience

2,019 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 15 days ago by calumnus
calumnus
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The idea that Baldwin "brought back" the TE is fallacious. Maybe in name only. Baldwin's spread used them similarly to Sonny but less often. Same with Tedford under most of the "Tedspread"

TEs
2009
Miller 26 catches 357 yards 0 TDS
Curran 8 catches 130 yards 2 TDS
Sparks 3 catches 45 yards 0 TDS
2010
Miller 13 catches 152 yards 1 TD
Ladner 3 catches 12 yards 0 TDs
Sparks 2 catches 18 yards 0 TDS
Aigamaua 1 catch 7 yards 0 TDS
Wark 1 catch 5 yards 0 TDS
2011
Miller 24 catches 263 yards 3 TDS
Hagan 12 catches 94 yards 2 TDS
2012
Rodgers 20 catches for 288 yards 1 TD
Wark 7 catches for 74 yards 0 TDS
2013
Rogers 39 catches for 608 yards 1 TD
Anderson 14 catches for 125 yards 0 TDS
Wark 2 catches for 8 yards 1 TD
2014
Anderson 46 catches for 661 yards 5 TDS
Hudson 8 catches for 124 yards 0 TDs
2015
Anderson 41 catches for 474 yards 2 TDS
Hudson 10 catches for 140 yards 0 TDS
2016
Hudson 16 catches for 165 yards 3 TDS
2017
Reinwald 11 catches 104 yards 0 TDS
2018
Bunting 18 catches 195 yards 0 TDS
Hudson 4 catches 53 yards 0 TDS
Castles 1 catch 15 yards 0 TDs
2019
Reinwald 14 catches 146 yards 2 TDS
Tonges 13 catches 262 yards 1 TD
Skinner 3 catches 22 yards 0 TDS
Moore 2 catches 11 yards 1 TD

The big years above for TE productivity were Richard Rodgers Jr and Stephen Anderson under Sonny's 3 years with Tony Franklin as OC. You have to go back to Morrah among TEs under Tedford to find similar productivity. What made it worse under Baldwin IMO is that we lacked great talent at WR and the TEs (and McMorris at FB) were relatively much more productive and deserved more PT (but that required running an offense that utilized them).

I'm really looking forward to seeing what Musgrave will do with the position.
BearForce2
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This is music to my ears. Can you imagine Beau Baldwin saying something similar?

Quote:

"We value tight ends like no other," Musgrave said Sunday in a Zoom call with the media. "The tight ends can help us be multifaceted and diverse. A lot of tight ends have a strength, whether it is in the receiving department or blocking department. I feel like our guys can do a little bit of both.

"They are very well-trained under (position coach) Marcus Tuiasosopo. The tight ends are going to help us, especially in the passing game when they can get matched up on a smaller DB or a slower linebacker. I feel good about those matchups."
calumnus
How long do you want to ignore this user?
BearForce2 said:

This is music to my ears. Can you imagine Beau Baldwin saying something similar?

Quote:

"We value tight ends like no other," Musgrave said Sunday in a Zoom call with the media. "The tight ends can help us be multifaceted and diverse. A lot of tight ends have a strength, whether it is in the receiving department or blocking department. I feel like our guys can do a little bit of both.

"They are very well-trained under (position coach) Marcus Tuiasosopo. The tight ends are going to help us, especially in the passing game when they can get matched up on a smaller DB or a slower linebacker. I feel good about those matchups."



Agreed. Looking forward to it.
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