Tarleton tight ends working to aid pass game, maintain dominant blocking
STEPHENVILLE — Thanks in part to the Tarleton tight ends, the spring season rushing game had no issues from week-to-week.
The Texans averaged 178.9 yards on the ground per game, a mark that would have put them 20th at the FCS level. In the passing game, however, Tarleton's TE group was largely absent from the box score.
"We're working on a bunch of things – we got to be better in the pass game, help our pass game," Assistant Coach (RB and TE) Jonathan Beasley said. "We also have to be better dominant blockers, understand our fits, make sure that our helmet placement and fits are good so we can get our runs going, get them open and try to make some plays."
In the pass game, Beasley is looking at Marvin Landy and Randy Clemons II to help the most. Clemons had seven receptions for 27 yards in 2020, playing in all eight games in his first year at Tarleton. Landy had the lone TD by a tight end, a six-yard score against Dixie State on March 13. He played in all eight games as a freshman.
"Landy's more of a fast guy, but he can still get his nose in there and block," Beasley said. "Clemons, he dropped some weight, which I'm proud of him for doing that. That's going to help his pass game stuff and he's a really great blocker, a dominant blocker at the point of attack. And the same for Maxfield. So those guys give us three viable options that we can use and try to utilize their skills each time."
Landy finished his high school career among the top-5 in all receiving statistical categories in Lakeland, Florida. Clemons also had an impressive high school campaign, earning First Team All-Conference honors three times in Quartz Hill, California, and finishing as a two-star prospect.
Max Maxfield has been with Tarleton since 2017. He transitioned to TE from DL in 2019, primarily serving as a run blocking TE for the No. 4-ranked scoring offense (45.0) and No. 14-ranked rushing offense in the nation (248.0) at the NCAA Division II level. At Amarillo High School, he was a 5A All-State LB and Defensive Player of the Year.
"Those three guys are going to be in the mix," Beasley said. "Cody Henderson and Ryan Ward have done a great job as well, so I think they're building great continuity and they're a great group of guys.
Henderson has been with Tarleton since 2018, playing in one game last season, where he returned a kick against Northeastern State on March 27. He graduated from Weatherford High School, where he was First Team All-District at RB and LB. As for Ward, he made his debut as a true freshman last season against Dixie State on Feb. 27. He played his high school ball at Colleyville Heritage High School, earning All-District honors twice.
Most of the group didn't play TE in high school, but these guys all have what is required out of the position.
"You got to have that attitude and be nasty," Beasley said. "You're in the trenches with the line most of the time. Every snap you're one-on-one with someone or you're double-teaming. It's constant contact. So, you got to be tough, you got to be smart, because we make checks, you got to make calls. Just a whole bunch of different things that we do that you got to be able to do."