WATCH OUT FOR THE TIGHT ENDS
Normally, this position is completely forgotten by the Gators. But, somehow it seems like their tight ends tend come up big and/or score their first/only TD of the year/career against us. At least two years stand out...
In 2005, Tate Casey (#84) caught 3 of his 10 catches all season against us and his only touchdown of the season. He accounted for 1/2 of their TD production in that game. So far this season, the senior tight end has zero catches for zero yards and zero touchdowns. I am not sure if he is healthy or not.
In 2002, two of Florida's three TDs came from the combined efforts of tight ends Aaron Walker and Ben Troupe who each caught one. Indeed, those two guys combined for 8 catches on the day. Want to know how many TDs Troupe caught that season? One.
This season, Cornelius Ingram (#7) is listed as a tight end, though he looks and plays like a wide receiver. He has 21 catches and 5 touchdowns. Only Tim Tebow has more TDs for the Gators this season. Also, Aaron Hernandez (#81) - last year's top tight end recruit in the nation, has 2 catches and one touchdown.
Obviously everyone knows about the threats posed by Tebow, Percy Harvin and Andre Caldwell. But we also have to worry about Ingram and possibly even Hernandez. However, hopefully we can give them a strong dose of our own tight end medicine with Tripp Chandler and Bruce Figgins. In our last victory in Jacksonville, 2004, Leonard Pope scored two long touchdowns in the first quarter! In 1993, tight end Shannon Mitchell set a UGA single-game record with 15 receptions in the rain-soaked game ending with the controversial time-out nullifying the game-tying touchdown.
As a former tight end, I pay particular attention to this position. I hope we have much to cheer about regarding our tight end play Saturday afternoon. Let's go Chandler, Figgins, and Watson, GATA!