August 13, 2009

Video: Staten talks tight ends, tackles

EAST LANSING - Twelve months ago, tight ends coach Mark Staten was fairly confident that former Brother Rice standout Charlie Gantt would help plug some of the void left by the graduation of Kellen Freeman-Davis and Eric Andino.

But the players behind Gantt were inexperienced and lacked the strength to win battles at the point of attack against many of the more physical and experienced defenses in the Big Ten. As training camp gets underway for the 2009 football season, Staten has a crew of tight ends that is as deep and talented as any group in the Big Ten.

"Those guys work hard and the tight ends are a position of strength," said Staten, who also coaches tackles and serves as Michigan State's recruiting coordinator. "We will continue to work, develop aspects of their games for them to continue to be productive in our offense."

Incoming freshmen Dion Sims and Derek Hoebing are learning the offense during training camp. But the emphasis for players like red-shirt sophomores Garrett Celek and Brian Linthicum is different.

"That is the nice thing with the older guys," said Staten. "Each one of them has different specific aspects of the game that they know that the need to continue to work on and develop. They push each other, which is exciting. Then with the addition of Hoebing and Sims, it just adds to that room and makes it a really exciting thing to be a part of."

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