Monday, July 18, 2011

Matt Chandik's Indiana Player to Watch

Some might argue that he broke out last year, but Indiana tight end Ted Bolser is the pick for the 2011 Indiana University breakout player.

The 6-6, 240-pound redshirt sophomore year is coming off a superb freshman year that saw him snare 27 passes for 407 yards and five touchdowns. A 15.1 yards per catch average is an impressive feat for a wide receiver, so the fact that Bolser was a tight end not particularly noted for his speed and still managed to be a dependable target is impressive.

Bolser should be one of the biggest benefactors from Kevin Wilson’s hiring at IU. The former Oklahoma offensive coordinator proved that he is willing to incorporate the tight end into a spread offense if the right guy comes along. Joe Jon Finley was Oklahoma’s go-to tight end in Wilson’s first season with 19 passes before ceding the way to future Cincinnati first-round pick Jermaine Gresham. Gresham posted a 37-518-11 line before exploding as a junior with 66 catches for 950 yards and 14 touchdowns . Based on his success at Oklahoma, Wilson should have no trouble finding use for a talented tight end and that bodes well for Bolser.

Bolser should also see increased targets with a new quarterback and the loss of Tandon Doss and Terrance Turner. A new, young quarterback usually means more attention to a security blanket like Bolser and either Dusty Kiel or Edward Wright-Baker should liook to him early and often. Losing Doss and Turner means losing a combined 130 receptions, so someone needs to step up and fill that void in IU’s wide-open offense.

With all of those circumstances factored in, it’s not hard to project a big year for Bolser. He should make a serious run at being the Big 10’s most productive pass-catching tight end and a run at the Mackey Award isn’t out of the question. Much will depend on the development on whichever quarterback wins the job and Bolser’s health. The latter shouldn’t be a problem, but the former may be.

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