With the graduation of quarterback B.J. Coleman, a likely pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, Chattanooga is shifting its focus to more of a running game. However, that does not diminish the role the tight ends will play in the Mocs new offense.
"We still have a tight end in the game, sometimes two tight ends in the game," explained UTC head football coach Russ Huesman. "They are going to have to have the ability to block in our run game. Whether you are in the 'I', running power stuff, or you are in the one-back set with the quarterback, they still have to be effective blockers."
Shafaat (6-5, 240) had an outstanding freshman campaign, catching 19 passes for 179 yards and two scores while starting every game. He is the second leading receiver among the returners in both receptions and receiving yards. He missed the first two weeks of spring practice with a bad back, but is back on the field now.
"The big thing that Faysal brings to the table is his versatility. We can do multiple things with him. He doesn't always have to be in a 'tight end' position. He can split out and be in a wide receiver position and have the ability to get the ball in space and do the things that a wide receiver does."
Sean Stackhouse (Jacksonville, Fla.) transferred from Kentucky and played in every game last season. Stackhouse (6-4, 245) was a big contributor on special teams and is working his way towards more time with the offense as a senior in 2012. Having played on the offensive line his first three seasons with the Wildcats, Stackhouse is a solid blocker who is improving as a receiver.
"Stackhouse is doing well in the spring," stated Huesman. "He has to keep coming. Obviously, we need him to be a big-time blocking guy, but he has improved in his route running and pass catching."
UTC also has a pair of freshmen who redshirted in the fall and are competing for playing time. Troy Dye (Hendersonville, Tenn.) and Jarrod Coleman (Chattanooga, Tenn.) both have potential to be excellent players in the future.
Dye (6-3 245) has been impressive in the early part of spring practice while Coleman (6-4, 240) is rehabbing an ankle injury. "Troy Dye has been a really nice surprise this spring," said Huesman. "He is working really hard and coming along. Jared has been hurt, but we think he has a lot of ability. We just have to get him healthy and get him practicing."
The tight ends also have a new position coach in Wesley Satterfield. Satterfield comes to UTC after spending the previous two seasons as a graduate assistant at Ohio State. Prior to that, he was a graduate assistant at North Carolina. A native of Hartsville, Tenn., Satterfield was a four-year starter at quarterback at Sewanee (2003-06).
"He is doing well," commented Huesman about the addition of Satterfield to the staff. "He is a very knowledgeable football guy. He is smart and learning the nuts and bolts of being a tight end coach as he goes."
Regardless of who is on the field, the tight end position will continue to be an important part of the Mocs' offense, despite the shift in focus to the ground game. Chattanooga has four solid pieces that can be moved around to help the offense be successful.
"I think as a group we have some really good players there" stated Huesman. "I think as a group, we have guys that do different things. I like them all."