Aug 242004
 
Authors: Preston Cagle

One of the most important and often overlooked positions on the

football field is tight end, but this season the Rams’ tight ends

are looking to be seen and heard.

At 6-foot-3-inches and 249 pounds, Matt Bartz, a two-year

letterman, is the returning starter at tight end for CSU.

Last season, Bartz led the tight ends in receiving, grabbing 23

receptions for 331 yards (fourth most receiving yards on the team)

and a touchdown. He also caught a fourth-down pass to set up the

game-winning field goal last year at California. Bartz will be seen

as a leader on this team, even as a junior, bringing 23 consecutive

starts and 24 total.

“I’m trying to take on part of the role; we don’t have too many

seniors,” said Bartz following practice Friday. “I got thrown in

the mix right when I got here, so I am one of the most experienced

as far as game time goes.”

Senior Joel Dreessen starts at the H-back position, but he is

versatile enough to play tight end as well.

Last season Dreessen pulled down 29 catches for 323 yards, good

enough for third in receiving on the team and three touchdowns

while earning second team all-conference honors.

“I knew I was going to be asked to be a versatile player in a

very demanding offense,” Dreessen said. “I love it. The more I can

do, the better.”

Clint Oldenburg is backing up Bartz at the tight end position

and looks to give the Rams a bright future. The 6-foot-5-inch,

255-pound sophomore has been playing offensive line as well during

two-a-days and played a backup role in 2003.

“I’ve been an offensive lineman for two weeks now, but I feel

like I’ve done well. I’m kind of beat up, but the mental

preparation for me comes easy,” Oldenburg said, following the final

two-a-day practice on Friday.

The tight end’s duties do not end with getting into the open

field, catching and running with the ball, either. This position

also involves standing toe-to-toe with 250- to 300-pound defensive

linemen and trying to push them backwards to make holes for the

running backs and quarterback.

“It’s pretty physically demanding. We are expected to block some

defensive linemen who weigh close to 300 pounds,” Bartz said. “Over

the years I have learned that it doesn’t matter how much they

outweigh us, it’s the effort that gets it done.”

The tight ends have also had to make some minor adjustments to

new starting quarterback Justin Holland, who took over for Bradlee

Van Pelt.

“Pretty much the same offense that we ran last year, less

options and QB draws,” Dreessen said. “But no adjustments, just

getting better every day.”

With the end of two-a-day practices, the last few weeks have

helped these players find their fit and fitness as the regular

season approaches. It marked the first year of a new NCAA rule that

only allows two-a-day practices every other day. Nevertheless, the

Rams maintain a hard-work attitude.

“That’s what it’s all about,” said Bartz. “Being a tight end,

you just have to outwork people.”

Pull quote- “It’s pretty physically demanding, we are expected

to block some defensive linemen who weigh close to 300 pounds. Over

the years I have learned that it doesn’t matter how much they

outweigh us, it’s the effort that gets it done.”

Matt Bartz, junior tight end

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