Tight end utilization will create favorable matchups for Kentucky

Adam Luckett6 months


Aritcle written by:Adam LuckettAdam Luckett


Keaton Upshaw
(Photo by Mark Cornelison/Getty Images)
[caption id="attachment_345579" align="aligncenter" width="2560"]Keaton Upshaw - Kentucky - tight end (Photo by Mark Cornelison/Getty Images)[/caption] In the modern game of football, creating matchups is what every play-caller is looking for. No longer do plays make things happen, players make things happen and offenses must find ways to create the best matchups possible on a down-to-down basis. The tight end position can be the best way to do that due to the position's required versatility. Kentucky will attempt to take advantage of this unit's depth and playmaking ability this fall. "This offense is a lot different from last year," Keaton Upshaw told the media on Saturday. "Moving us around to the outside, inside, slot, to on the ball. With the motions and stuff, we're moving a lot. We're really liking how it's going this year." Upshaw is a player that the fanbase has really wanted to see used more often in the passing attack. The Lima (Ohio) Senior High product was a real weapon last season. The 6-foot-6 and 245-pound tight end recorded 11 receptions for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the last half of 2020. For the first time in his career, the intriguing prospect was heavily utilized in the passing game. Now with an NFL mind coming in to run the offense, the Wildcats can take advantage of Upshaw's unique skillset while also involving super senior Justin Rigg and redshirt junior Brenden Bates. Expect plenty of 12 personnel, but understand that these tight ends can create matchups for Kentucky's other skill talent. "Very important, very important," Coen told the media on Tuesday when asked about using the tight ends. "It's a little bit different in the NFL when you displace the tight end out in the formation. A lot of times that can give you some answers to the coverage. Whether they put a safety out there in man coverage or if they leave a corner out there, now your slot receiver is now one-on-one with a safety. Displacing the tight ends is something that we definitely want to be able to do. They're smart kids, they're multiple. We'll be able to use those guys in multiple different ways." Using the tight ends can help an offense unlock so many things. These are players that can constantly be used in pre-snap motion to dictate the strong or weak side for the formation. A talent like Upshaw can easily line up in the slot or at X receiver to take advantage of potential man coverage. Rigg and Bates can be key anchors in split zone concepts blocking the backside defender or even sneaking out in play-action. The position is the swiss army knife of modern offensive football. Offensive football is all about creating matchups for players and not just running plays. "Using those guys is a huge advantage for us," said Coen. "Getting matchups on them but also trying to create matchups for some of your other skill players. Heading into the season, Kentucky does not have proven pieces to depend on at the outside receiver positions. However, they do have two highly capable inside receivers with Josh Ali and Wan'Dale Robinson. Both players have proven to have the ability to consistently create separation in the short-to-intermediate passing game thanks to sharp route-running and quality short-area quickness. The tight ends are going to be a major factor in making sure both No. 1 and No. 6 can consistently get favorable matchups in their alignment. "Our formations create that multiplicity to be able to create some of those matchups," said Coen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45YSE76R2MU

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