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The Unsung Heroes

Senior tight end Clay Sears
Senior tight end Clay Sears
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Aug. 24, 2011

TULSA, Okla. - The University of Tulsa football team has one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.

The wide receivers are asked to catch a lot of passes, the running backs get a lot of touches, and the quarterback has to be a gunslinger/runner.

But what about the tight ends? What is their role in this no-huddle offense?

"We were utilized mostly in goal-line situations in the past, but this year you're going to see us a little more involved," senior Clay Sears said. "We're still going to be a wide-open offense, but the tight ends are going to be more involved down the middle of the field."



Sears played in all 13 games a year ago and made five starts. He caught six passes for 64 yards, which included two touchdowns.

"I'm excited about my role this year because I am going to be more active in the offense," Sears said. "They're allowing me to get in there and catch more balls."

Scott Downing, assistant head coach and tight end coach, said that Sears is locked down as the starting tight end.

"He's had a good camp," Downing said. "He fits in at a lot of different positions because he can play our attached tight end and he can also play the three man, which is the same position (junior H-back) Willie Carter plays."

The two reserves immediately behind Sears will be seniors Michael Britton and Nathan Largen.

"Michael is a short, powerful guy," Downing said. "He's probably better at the on-the-line stuff, but he's also our goal-line fullback. He also serves as the backup guy to Clay and Willie at the three.

"Nathan has done a great job. He does a really good job in space. We can split him out and allow him to run our underneath routes."

Other players in the mix are junior Matt Hesterberg and redshirt freshman Greg Brown.

Tulsa will begin its 2011 season with a road trip to Norman, Okla., on Sept. 3 for a 7 p.m. meeting with No. 1 Oklahoma.