The three amigos for the Hawkeyes are three second-year tight ends — sophomore Ray Hamilton and redshirt freshmen Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger-Coble — who are helping reshape the Iowa offense.
“That’s probably been the biggest change, is the number of them,” offensive coordinator Greg Davis said of the Hawkeye tight ends. “At Texas, I was very fortunate to have three great tight ends in a row, but I didn’t have three at the same time.”
Having multiple skilled tight ends has made Davis take a longer look at how he can use them in his offense.
“We do have some tight ends that can run, some tight ends that can catch, so we started in the spring preparing,” Davis said. “We can play some tight ends at wide receiver spots. We can line up and then motion them to wide receiver spots to try to create some match-ups.
“It’s opened up some things that I have not done for a long time.”
The leader is C.J. Fiedorowicz, who caught 16 passes for 167 yards, emerging midway through the 2011 season.
And like Fiedorowicz, Hamilton spent his freshman year working on special teams rather than taking a redshirt.
He is listed as the second tight end entering camp along with senior Zach Derby.
“We’re really going to allow all these guys to compete,” Iowa tight end coach David Raih said. “The depth chart is just a starting point. Every one of them has a role.”
Iowa likes its tight ends and tight end recruits like the Hawkeyes. Krieger-Coble, Hamilton and Duzey committed within three weeks of each other in the summer of 2010.
But there can only be one, or two, or three, on the field for the Hawkeyes at one time.
“It’s all good,” Duzey said. “It’s a good competition. We’re all friendly, but on the field we’re always competing and helping each other out.
“Everyone is working hard, trying to get their own time.”
The tight ends are hybrids, according to Raih. Fiedorowicz is 6-foot-7, 265; Derby is 6-3, 240; Hamilton is 6-5, 248; Duzey is 6-4, 235; and Krieger-Coble is 6-4, 235.
“Our tight ends have to block and catch,” Raih said. “We block physically in the run game, we also ask these guys to stretch the field.”
The B-word. Tight ends at Iowa have to be able to block. It slowed Fiedorowicz’s path to playing time initially.
And despite the changes Davis is putting into the passing game, blocking is still a prerequisite to play tight end at Iowa.
“That isn’t going to change for awhile,” Hamilton said.
“We’re still going to run the football and tight ends need to block.
“We’re all excited to block. We all love to block. We all look forward to banging around in there.”
Of course, all three were split out at some point in high school.
Even at the Big Ten level, their size can provide problems for most safeties and cornerbacks.
“We’ve been going out, going in motion, starting out wide,” Duzey said. “There’s a lot of combinations we can do.
“We’re hoping they use two tight ends a lot. And hoping to get three on the field at some point, but who knows. We’ve just got to keep working hard and we’ll all get our time.”
With the three competing with each other for playing time — along with Derby and Fiedorowicz — the group is around each a lot on the field and off.
“It’s great,” Hamilton said.
“Great competition. I think that’s the main reason most of us came here. Competition is going to get the best out of everybody and it doesn’t allow you to be lackadaisical during practice.
“As a group, we can make as much noise as possible, then Coach Davis is going to get us out on the field. If the tight ends are having a great camp, he’s going to make room for us on Sept. 1 in Soldier Field.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football