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The Cardinal Countdown: 89 Days Until Kickoff

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

#89 Keith Towbridge

Class: Junior

Ht/Wt: 6-5/261

Position: Tight end

Hometown: Toledo, OH

Twitter: @fabboi_kb

Thoughts: Last season I expected Christian to become an absolute lethal weapon in the Petrino offense, and to be honest, I felt like the tight end position as a whole just kind of just went through the motions in 2014. They made some plays when we needed them, but not establishing itself as a consistent branch of offensive production during the year. Could it be that my expectations, along with numerous others, for the TE position weren’t realistic? Was I suffering from a case of revisionist history with the Petrino offense of the past? Let’s take a look at the leading receiver at tight end each season with Petrino running the show.

2014 G. Christian: 32rec, 384yds, 5TDs

2006: G. Barnidge: 31rec, 511yds, 4TDs

2005: G. Barnidge: 17rec, 240yds, 2TDs

2004: A. McCauley: 22rec, 309yds, 3TDs

2003: R. Ghent: 34rec, 421yds, 4TDs

Welp. I’m an idiot.

Not that we needed advanced statistics to confirm that, but this basically burns my theory to the ground and then promptly urinates on the ashes of it. Not only was Christian extremely active, he had more touchdowns, the second highest catch total and fell right in line with average total yardage for every leading tight end Petrino has fielded at Papa Johns during his tenure. Maybe it was Barnidge in 2006 that tricked my brain or the flashes of greatness Ghent showed back in 2003, but we basically produced on par or better than usual last season with Christian….which is probably why he is on a NFL roster and I’m typing a blog post. I had no intention to take over Keith’s day with this data but I felt it was very relevant in the grand scheme of things for 2015. After all, Keith didn’t exactly have a season to sneeze at in 2014, and I didn't even account for Standberry stealing a few catches either. As a #2 at the position last year Keith still grabbed 9 receptions and over 100 yds receiving. Keith will be our #1 TE as we enter the 2015 season but different than in years past I think the gap between #1 and #2 or even #3 is much smaller. Keith will get the majority of the snaps, but a very physical Micky Crum and Cole Hikutini will be biting at his heels for PT as the season unfolds. We killed, and I mean killed, the offensive line last year but our tight ends weren’t exactly stellar on the block either. We have to do better as a  group and I’m sure Petrino and company are working on it. As a whole I would expect the tight end position to improve their blocking with two new larger and more physical players getting some time and of course, to continue to produce offensively just as they do every single year in the Petrino system…even if ridiculous observers such as myself think they don’t.

Sweet Tweet:

Good lord. Dude has big since Day 1.

I guess this is just as good an opportunity as any to let my fellow CCer’s know that Mrs. CardinalStrong is now carrying another child. Not like in a backpack or something, like you know, pregnant. I’m pumped for the second one since the first has been a pretty great kid and left me little to complain about. Still gonna wait for paternity but really confident with this one…fairly confident….mostly confident….ok, somewhat confident. [she would kill me if she saw this]

For those who may ask how this will impact them personally or why they should give a rats ace about it, our first kiddo was carried during the 2012 off-season, which resulted in an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl victory in the months to follow...