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TCU Football 2015: Tight Ends Preview

What is a tight end, you ask? Cliff Murphy would Hulk you into the ground for asking that question if he was still around.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end: the most underused position for TCU's offense over the past, well, for a long, long time. Through all of the conference changes, offensive coordinators, etc. tight end has been overlooked and undervalued. 2014 only furthers this point. Last season, only one player listed as a tight end on -- Cliff Murphy -- caught a pass.

Tight Ends in 2014

Cliff Murphy's stats in 2014 weren't impressive (2 receptions, 16 yards, 1 TD), but if you watched the games you know he had a big impact. Murphy lined up at fullback in goal line packages, clearing the way for guys like B.J. Catalon and Aaron Green (and sometimes Trevorris Johnson, which made the whole earth shake), to get into the end zone.

There's very little glory for tight ends at TCU, but Murphy didn't seem to mind. He scored a couple of touchdowns along the way last season, and both seemed to be pretty big in the moment. His first, a fumble recovery, put TCU up 14-0 in the early going over Oklahoma (go to the 12:45 mark).

His next touchdown came against Texas Tech, and was his only TD reception of the season. It came in the third quarter, and gave TCU a commanding 47-20 lead as they went on to win 82-27.

Tight Ends in 2015

There are four tight ends listed on TCU's roster on Buck Jones, Dominic Merka, Bryson Burtnett, and Cole Novak. Combined, the four big men have a whopping zero receptions wearing the purple and white. While their on-field exploits were non-existent in 2014, Jones and Burtnett did receive Academic All-Big 12 honors last season, something that shouldn't be hidden away.

While this lack of experience may be worrisome for a school like Minnesota, for the Frogs, it's simply not a terribly big deal, as far as the receiving game is concerned.

However, there are questions about playing out of the backfield, which was where Murphy spent most of his time in 2014. We'll have to wait and see if any of these guys step up and fill in that fullback-hybrid role that Murphy played so well all of last season.

The "Tight Ends"

This is not a butt joke, I promise. There are two names who you're probably curious about, who you thought would have been mentioned before now in the tight ends preview: Charlie Reid and Griffin Gilbert. Both lined up as tight ends when they were on the field last season, and together they combined for 3 receptions, 44 yards, and a touchdown.

Interestingly enough, both are listed as wide receivers on Things look a little brighter for the TE spot on the field when we consider that Reid and Gilbert will probably be heading up the responsibilities at that position, at least from a receiving standpoint.

However, there's a serious lack of depth and experience at the TE position as the Frogs roll into 2015. The big question is, does that really matter?