SPRING FOOTBALL: Expect more out of the tight ends in 2017

ABOVE: Chase Allen … Photo courtesy of Iowa State athletics communications. 

AMES — Iowa State tight ends have only caught 12 passes when you combine the last two seasons. That is a terrible statistic, so bad that it spurred current Iowa State tight ends coach Alex Golesh to utter the following after Thursday’s spring practice.

“I have to justify a paycheck, right?”

That’s his way of saying that things should improve in 2017 and you don’t have to look much deeper than at Chase Allen to understand why. Now at 6-foot-6, 230-pounds, this redshirt freshman very well could have played last year as a true rookie. In fact, even in a world where he wasn’t ready, Allen would have been the best tight end on Iowa State’s roster. There’s a reason why Allen was a top-25 rated tight end nationally two years ago.

“He’s a big, long, smart and athletic kid,” Golesh said. “I think mentally he was ready last year and as an assistant coach, you go to the head coach and you present that. But I think the way Matt put it made a lot of sense. You would rather have him ready to go physically and mentally instead of just mentally.”

Last season was tough for Golesh. You don’t get to this spot in the profession without being competitive. Allen fought injuries through fall camp last year that likely determined that he would redshirt but by the end of the season, he was a guy who could have helped Iowa State win.

It was tempting but looking back, Golesh feels like the coaching staff made the right decision.

“It would have killed him, I think, growth wise to play him,” Golesh said. “But yeah, it was tempting for me going into those last few weeks when we weren’t ultra-productive in the pass game.”

The only tight end with any experience at all returning is Sam Harms, a senior walk-on out of Spirit Lake. Along with Allen, fellow redshirt freshman Dylan Soehner will be a guy to watch this spring.

Regardless, the years of Iowa State’s tight ends catching single digit passes should be over with. In return, that will help the offense as a whole.

“It will allow Tom to be more creative,” Golesh said. “Not that we were conservative by any stretch last year, but I think we ended up going to four-wide a lot especially in obvious passing situations.”