Published Thursday, August 2, 2012 AT 10:12 AM / Updated at 3:20 PM
As Reed’s blocking improves, his snaps will increase
Jon Nyatawa Omaha World-Herald

During games two years ago, when Kyler Reed substituted in at tight end, defenses would start pointing at him immediately. Opponents sometimes subbed in an extra defensive back. At the very least, they yelled something like this: “Watch the pass!”

Reed doesn’t want to be that kind of one-dimensional threat — even though, despite a lack of subtlety two years ago, he still managed to torch teams for eight touchdowns.

He was a better blocker in 2011, but injuries slowed him down and his counterpart, Ben Cotton, was more reliable in the trenches (and thus a better decoy for play-action calls).

So for Reed to have the kind of season he wants, he knows he’ll have to muscle-up with those big-bodied defensive ends and savvy linebackers more effectively, keeping them out of running lanes often enough for opponents to seriously honor NU’s ground game when he’s on the field.

Offensive coordinator Tim Beck can creatively implement all of the shovel passes, screen tosses and option pitches he wants — yes, those kinds of things were worked on in practice last year, but Reed said injuries held him back.

But if Reed’s not blocking consistently, teams will continue to leave a safety over the top. And they will continue to shade his way in zone coverage, too.

Twenty-five targets and 15 receptions over a full season is not enough for a guy as talented as Reed. That can’t be argued. But some of the responsibility for increased involvement rests on his shoulders.

Good news is, Reed says he was blocking as well as he ever has in spring practices. He’s got confidence in that aspect of his game now.

At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, he’s not getting any bigger. And summer weight training is over. So, he says, it’s all about technique now.

Reed’s take: “What I really can do, and what Ben does really well, is he has good hand placement, good hat placement and good footwork. That’s where blocking starts. You gotta get your hands inside — obviously, you can’t hold. You’ve got to get your first and second steps down quick, in the right direction. And you’ve got to get your hat on the right side of the guy’s body. It’s all about little things when it comes to blocking.”

About Jon Nyatawa

Jon Nyatawa has covered local sports, primarily Nebraska football, for The Omaha World-Herald since 2008. He and his laptop, cell phone, tape recorder, pen and notebook all live in Lincoln. Follow him on Twitter: @JonNyatawa. Email him here: He welcomes feedback.


  1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    Would one think the improved ‘Blocking’ may have caused his injuries? If Kyler Reed put that much pressure on a defense, where an extra DB was brought in…….as an OC im sure i could set many plays up, i’ll take Kyler Reed on a DB all day long.
    Just another example of 3rd graders learning on the Job at 3 mil+

    1. Double D says:

      I have never found one more annoying than you. I mean seriously. Do you not have a life? At all? Go find a team that you actually like and post on their blog. I would hate to have your life…always negative. I feel sorry for you

      1. Gonz429 says:

        He sort of makes a point though. You could very easily use him as a decoy to open up the run, and there arnt to many DBs who can hang with that size (If martinez could put the ball where only he’ll get it.

        1. Double D says:

          The sun shines on a dogs ass somedays! A point? Reed is 6’3…not 6’6. DB’s aren’t that overmatched. Least not at big time programs. But anyway…the point here still remains that I’ve never seen such a negative person. How would you not follow another team if you can’t stand Nebraska’s football program so much? If I hate water polo…I don’t watch water polo…and esp won’t waste the time of day following it. Make sense!

          1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

            well thats it then, 3 inches negates all of Kyler’s talent.
            Someone go tell him there is no point is practicing, or suiting up.
            To many 6’3 corners in the big slow.

          2. BigRedNeck says:

            His points are 99.99% valid. Why do you accept mediocre coaching ? NUCornDevil is the true fan.

          3. Tyler says:

            What do you mean his points are valid? He says “’ll take Kyler Reed on a DB all day long.” As opposed to what?? He is a much better mismatch for a linebacker than he would be for a DB. So don’t sit there and say he has valid points..b/c he doesn’t. He is just trying to find a way to put a negative spin on any story. Oh and kudos to you for finding a way to making a story about our TE about the HC.

      2. An Actual Cornhusker Fan says:

        Guess what? NUCD’s got a *PDS fever, and the only prescription is for the Husker program to flop. That will finally make him happy as a schoolgirl on valentines day.

        1. An Actual Cornhusker Fan says:

          *PDS Fever aka Pelini Derangement Syndrome

          An affliction that causes one to bash ones program daily in the mistaken belief that one can get fans to pick up pitchforks against the HC & bring in an unproven “*program savior” who will “right all coaching wrongs” and “make the right decisions” in every single instance.

          Program Savior : see Rathman, Tom

          1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

            Bo Pelini couldn’t carry Rathman’s jock strap, Rathman is by far a better athlete, a better football player, and highly more decorated than some also ran Buckeye bum.
            Tom Rathman is a Husker to the bone, i would trust his judgement when it came to football I.Q. over Pelini in a heart beat.
            Since the NU Athletic Dept feels us fans only deserve Coaches with ZERO experience, Rathman is by far more qualified than Pelini just on personal accomplishments.

          2. Colorado Springer says:

            Tom Rathman was a great Husker & 49er player. He has been a good running backs coach. I would think that as long as he has been coaching that he would have become a coordinator in a major program. Is there a reason that he remains a lower level assistant? I think his biggest problem would be having such an egregious advocate as NUCORNDEVIL backing him. I have always been a Tom Rathman fan but would hate to see anyone considered who had such a hater as a backer.

    2. An Actual Cornhusker Fan says:

      Who needs tight ends that can block?

      I say we ditch the running game entirely and go back to the WCO and “taking what we want!”.

      Look at the 2005, season we only averaged 90 yards rushing per game and we did just fine. Do you think the tight ends had to block at all for the season cumulative 1001 yards rushing? Bet they were fresh as daisies.

    3. BigRedNeck says:

      Right on the mark. Why waste this guys talent on blocking, I don’t remember Johnny Mitchell blocking anyone.

      1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

        For real

    4. Husker fan in Alabama says:

      Do you even make minimum wage? Probably don’t even have a job.

  2. ChiHusker says:

    Are there not NFL tight ends that are primarily known for being receiving threats that are tearing it up right now? It shouldn’t completely shut down our offense because defenses recognize that he’s a receiving threat more than a blocking tight end.

    1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      maybe we should throw to ‘Blocking’ TE more?

  3. husker fanaz says:

    so funny!!! about everyone commets , none u coach at the college level and prob never coache or played football for a team in your life.. i playee highschool thats it. But really did i hear someone wants Tom Rathman as our head coach seriously?? There is a reason why he can not get an other job than being RB coach . That is dumbest thing i ever heard and your bit*hing about Pelini u hire him and the program goes south faster than u can blink talk about no coaching experience. and good luck puttig together staff to come to nebraska with him just as hard getting coaches to come as players becuase no one wants to live there

    1. An Actual Cornhusker Fan says:

      Not just someone, the Corndiablo guy who squats on the blog the second a new article comes out and turns it into a negative for Pelini. He could have been raised in a family that lived by the creed “if you don’t have anything to say about somebody say something negative” but I think it runs deeper than this. Bo triggers a response and his posts are rarely based on facts or logic…just raw negative emotion.

      He has lobbied extensively for having Tom Rathman replace Pelini. I believe he thinks that Rathman is non-threatening in a Tom Osborne way which is very appealing (emotionally) to him.

      1. VanCleef says:

        NUCORNSMUT has a seriously disturbing man crush on Rathman. It seems he misses seeing him in those tights.