March 21, 2007
John Reese--Freshman Focus
Tight end is truly a hybrid position. Although smaller than the offensive lineman,
the athlete must be big enough and strong enough to block, while at the same
time, possess decent speed and soft hands like a receiver.
While very few athletes enter college with the complete package, Oregon State
was able to attract four very proficient tight ends in the 2006 class, two of
whom, John Reese and Howard Croom, saw early playing time
as true freshman. We have already looked at Croom and his skill at blocking,
but Reese impressed everyone with his speed and soft hands.
Freshmen have a steep learning curve when getting up to speed in the quicker,
more athletic college game and Reese was no exception. Although Reese is fast
and shows great promise in receiving, he admits that he has been working on
"Back in high school I never really blocked that much because I was usually
the one running routes and when it came to run blocking I was so quick off the
ball it was easy," said Reese. "But now, at this level guys, are just
as quick as me off the ball so my technique is very important and that was what
I lacked in the beginning. I feel like everyday I'm improving my blocking because
I know that is most important."
Reese has been able to hone his skill against some of the best defenders in
"The one guy that I still haven't learned how to block yet is Dorian
Smith," confided Reese. "Smith has size like Naymon Frank
and the speed of Victor Butler, who is the quickest of the defensive
ends. It feels like either way he is going to beat me-if I can't stop his speed,
then he'll bull rush me."
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