It's been a bad few months for the tight end position at Florida State.
Former Tight Ends coach and Offensive Coordinator James Coley left for Miami at the beginning of the year. And lately a knee injury to Kevin Haplea, Christo Kourtzidis' decision to transfer and Nick O'Leary's now infamous motorcycle accident have the Seminoles pretty thin at the position.
Today at his first news conference of the season FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher announced defensive end Giorgio Newberry would be making the transition to tight end.
“We’ve moved Giorgio over to play tight end, which was something we planned on doing anyway," said Fisher, downplaying the perceived depth issues mounting at the position.
"I had to talk to him about it," added Fisher. "I think it will give us a tremendous presence on the edge at 6-6 285. He can run, he has power, he’ll set the edge.”
A couple things about this move. Dan Hicks seemed like a more obvious choice to make this transition given the fact he learned the positon last year before injuring his knee and missing the season.
But when you listen to Jimbo Fisher's logic, it's clear Hicks wasn't the right sort of player. After once again insisting that moving Newberry had always been the plan, Fisher elaborated on why.
He first mentioned the size and skill level of defensive ends and defensive linemen across the country. If you listen to Fisher week by week, you'll hear a consistent belief from him that the big bodies up front on the defensive line are what wins football games. On Tuesday, Fisher cited the sizes of guys like Mario Edwards, Bjoern Werner and Tank Carradine.
“If you watch film, if you don’t have that big physical tight end, those are reasons why we were able to play five and six man boxes on defense and put everyone else in coverage [last year]," said Fisher. "Guys can’t handle those guys [on the end]."
Giorgio Newberry is one of those big-bodied guys, and in Fisher's thinking if he can become an excellent edge-blocker at the tight end position, it's going to pay major dividends for him and Florida State down the road.
“[He has] presence and size," asserted Fisher. "I think for his future. I think he could be a defensive end but I think he could a tremendous edge blocker from what he does."
Whether that is the best move for Newberry's long-term prospects remains to be seen. But Newberry was apparently willing to make the switch with very little hesitation. And certainly there's no reason this couldn't be a big win for FSU in the interim– provided Newberry can block.
Without Kevin Haplea the Seminoles were already down a blocking tight end. With Nick O'Leary expected to get most of the receiving work, Newberry will focus on the blocking side of things and could prove to be like more of a third offensive tackle if he can consistently seal the edge on run plays. He has the size and frame to do it, he even played some high school basketball before coming to FSU. Whether or not the transition works though, time will tell.
For now though, Newberry and Bobby Hart just need to work out who keeps number 51.
UPDATE: Newberry has changed his number to 4.
I'll have more for you later today...
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