Hoosiers looking to integrate versatile group of tight ends

After redshirting last fall following his transfer from Arizona, Michael Cooper received Indiana’s first start of the season at tight end two weeks ago.

It’s a position where the Hoosiers feel there is significant depth and versatility, with both blocking and pass-catching skill sets down the depth chart. IU weathered minor injuries to Danny Friend and Anthony Corsaro late in the preseason, only to see both return to practice action this week leading into Saturday’s game at Bowling Green.

It appears, heading into their second game of the year against the Falcons, that the Hoosiers are working with a full deck.

“I think with Corsaro coming back, that will add a lot of depth to that position with some experience,” Indiana offensive coordinator Kevin Johns said. “Really, that word experience is what those guys need. Cooper hasn’t played a lot of football for us, Jordan Fuchs is a true freshman so for them, they’re only going to continue to get better as the year goes on. We can increase their role as they warrant it, but right now they’re doing everything we ask them to do in the offense. Hopefully as we move forward they can continue to progress.”

Cooper introduced himself to Memorial Stadium with a great block to open a lane for Tevin Coleman on his 73-yard touchdown run during the first half of IU’s season-opening win over Indiana State. Cooper, a redshirt junior has playing experience after spending his freshman and sophomore seasons as a backup tight end and special teams contributor at Arizona.

“He’s done a phenomenal job,” Johns said. “Coop’s been with us for awhile now. His personality, he’s a very mature young man who knows what we’re trying to do. He understands the offense. Now, he’s in a position where he’s the main guy and his knowledge is helping him play fast. He’s not out there thinking, ‘What do I have to do?’ He already knows it. He made a big-time block on that run. We need him to and we expect him to make those plays.