Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Kentucky’s tight ends might actually play a much bigger role in the passing game headed into 2019.
Now I know what you all are probably thinking, “yeah, yeah. Same ole, same old. Copy and paste from the last three seasons”, but I really believe there’s a chance for guys like Justin Rigg and Keaton Upshaw to get much more involved in this year’s passing game.
As fans, we always wanted to see the ball get into the hands of CJ Conrad after seeing how great he was at tight end, but in hindsight, with a generational running back in Benny Snell and Conrad’s ability to block, it makes sense that he wasn’t used in the passing game as much as we hoped.
In a year where AJ Rose can be effective as a receiving back, the coaches believe Terry Wilson will throw the ball 40 times a game, and with Lynn Bowden being the only receiver with significant playing time; there’s going to be no choice but to use the tight ends more often in this year’s offense.
That seems to be just what the doctor ordered for Terry Wilson as well.
After the first scrimmage on Saturday, Stoops had high praise for the involvement of Rigg and Upshaw into the passing game, even expressing how much comfort that brings Terry Wilson going into year two.
“Justin Rigg and Keaton Upshaw, they did some good things,” Stoops said. “We hit them over the middle a few times, they’re big targets. They really make good adjustments to the ball, I think we need to continue to build on that. That’s good for Terry to have that comfort zone for targets like that and to be able to throw some guys and throw them open a little bit.”
Jordan Griffin even had a small comment after yesterday’s scrimmage about the involvement of the tight ends yesterday, saying they were indeed being used a lot more. However, he didn’t say their involvement was a big part of the secondary’s sluggish performance on Saturday, it surely couldn’t have helped.
Justin Rigg has received high praise for his receiving ability, some even say he’s a better pass catcher than Conrad. If Rigg can get vertical, that adds a whole other dimension for the Kentucky offense this season.
Though I wasn’t able to get my phone out in time, I overheard Rigg say he believes he is a part of the best Tight End group in the country. While that may be music to Vince Marrow’s ears, they must be more involved this year in the passing game to prove it.