By Tyler Barto
PISCATAWAY — While Tyler Kroft's numbers are down across the board from last year, the junior tight end is at least saving his biggest days for Rutgers' Big Ten opponents.
"It's not just one guy," Kroft said Tuesday of Rutgers' offense. "Obviously Leonte (Carroo's) having a really great first half of the year. I just like how we have Drew (Turzilli) scoring touchdowns, Janarion (Grant) scoring, John (Tsimis) scoring. I'm getting looks again, so it's getting thrown all over the place."
To free Kroft up, play caller Ralph Friedgen is using him both on the line of scrimmage and flexed into a slot position. Kroft said he'll usually see a linebacker in coverage there, but Michigan gave more safety looks.
"Usually where I play in the flex they won't really press the No. 2 receiver," Kroft said. "They'll usually be out. It all depends on the defense."
When asked about receivers' opportunities, head coach Kyle Flood often points to the natural progression of a pass play's reads.
But against Penn State, Rutgers ran several zone-read plays in which quarterback Gary Nova fed the belly of a running back while reading the defense. Kroft, running a short comeback from the slot generally in zone coverage, was often the first priority.
Kroft finished with four catches for 45 yards, both season highs.
"It's completely different starting in-line than starting kind of in the slot," Kroft said. "That shows they have confidence in me being able to move around the field. It's always good getting different looks, different matchups depending on where you are."
"It just gives the coaches a little more confidence in the tight end group to be able to say we have a few bodies to rotate through," Kroft said. "I know we're looking at three-tight end sets. We're looking at using everyone, but what stays and what goes, I don't know."
Labels: Michigan, Penn State, Tyler Kroft