In the days leading up to the 2013 Alamo Bowl, the Emerald will take a unit-by-unit look at Oregon and Texas, determining which team has the edge going into the showdown on Dec. 30 in San Antonio. Today, we’ll look at each team’s tight ends, with thoughts on Texas from Wescott Eberts of Burnt Orange Nation.
The tight end position has certainly seen the most change this season for the Ducks.
Colt Lyerla started for Oregon at the beginning of the year, but announced in early October that he would be leaving the team to pursue a professional career. Lyerla’s decision came after he did not travel with the team to Colorado on Oct. 5 due to his suspension for violating team rules.
Once again, the position will have some question marks heading into the Alamo Bowl with the recent suspension of tight end Pharaoh Brown due to his role in the snowball fight that took place on campus on Dec. 6.
Brown, a 6-foot-6, 241-pound sophomore from Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio, caught 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns this season for Oregon.
True freshman Johnny Mundt first saw playing time when Lyerla was out with an illness against Tennessee, while Brown was still sidelined due to a leg injury. Mundt had an impressive debut for Oregon against the Volunteers accumulating five receptions, 121 yards and two touchdowns and was named the John Mackey tight end of the week after his performance.
Mundt started for the Ducks in three games and finished the year with 15 catches for 261 yards and three touchdowns.
Also active on Oregon’s roster is redshirt freshman Evan Baylis, who had three receptions for 44 yards on the season.
Similar to Oregon, the tight ends for Texas have not had many standout performances this season.
“It’s a lot of play action from pass protection, so they just haven’t worked the tight ends into the passing game, really at all,” Eberts said in a phone interview with the Emerald.
The starting tight end for the Longhorns is Geoff Swaim, who finished the season with just two receptions for 12 yards.
“Geoff Swaim has been pretty underrated ,” Eberts said. “He’s gone about his business, hasn’t gotten his chances in the passing game, but has been tough and plugging away. Swaim probably had some of the most successful blocks on the team.”
The Longhorns also use junior Greg Daniels at the position.
According to Eberts, the tight ends have been successful from a blocking standpoint, occasionally even filling in at the fullback position on some plays.
Advantage — Oregon. Although the tight end position has not been a huge factor for the Ducks this season, Mundt appears to be a bigger threat in the passing game than Swaim or Daniels for Texas. Combined, Swaim and Daniels have totaled four receptions for 32 yards. The real question lies in whether Mundt can have a solid performance under pressure, playing in his first ever bowl game and having to step up with Brown out.
Monday: Offensive line
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