He’s a super freak. Super freak.
He’s Iowa sophomore tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz.
With the Hawkeyes down to their fourth-string running back this spring, and with top receiver Keenan Davis on the sidelines with an injury, new offensive coordinator Greg Davis has found someone in the Iowa offense to love.
“C.J., this is only 39 springs I’ve been in, and I’ve never had a tight end like C.J. with his size and ability to play at the line of scrimmage and also stretch the field,” Davis said.
Davis coached Green Bay Packer tight end Jermichael Finley while at Texas.
Fiedorowicz is coming off a season where he scratched the surface of his potential. He played mostly special teams as a true freshman and initially was held back last fall while he learned how to block. Fiedorowicz finished with 16 catches.
The way Davis talked about the 6-foot-7, 265-pound tight end, however, indicates a much bigger role in 2012.
“Sometimes guys like that they’re open when they’re covered,” Davis said. “I mean, the defense is in good position.
“There’s been several times this spring where it’s a one-on-one situation. The defensive guy is where he should be, James (Vandenberg) is throwing the ball, and it’s a completion, just because of size and match-ups.”
Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens, who rooms with Fiedorowicz, also tries to cover him in practice.
“I think it’s his size, the way he moves,” Hitchens said. “The 6-7 frame, he moves like he weighs 200 pounds.”
Davis said his ability to make catches when covered is instinctive. Like a basketball player who piles up the rebounds.
“There is a term we use where our tight ends get big in the paint; he knows how to get big in the paint,” Davis said. “He knows how to get there and box out backwards and that kind of stuff.”
The Johnsburg, Ill., native is a mismatch waiting to happen. He is too big for most defensive backs and too quick for most linebackers.
“He’s one in a million,” safety Tanner Miller said. “You don’t see those guys very often. You might have to use more than one guy to cover him.”
No one is likely to confuse the Hawkeye offense with the New England Patriots, but New England did prove you can have a tight end as your primary offensive weapon.
“He’s going to be a dominating force,” sophomore defensive end Dominic Alvis said. “A lot of people like to associate him with Rob Gronkowski.
“Both have got similar builds, both very powerful dudes. He’ll be an impact player for us this fall.”
The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Gronkowski caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards last season for New England. Gronkowski’s position coach was, by the way, Iowa offensive line coach Brian Ferentz.
Davis indicated Fiedorowicz and the other Iowa tight ends may expand their roles. The group includes junior Zach Derby and freshmen Ray Hamilton, Henry Krieger-Coble and Jake Duzey.
“You’ll see the tight ends playing outside sometimes,” Davis said. “Used to seeing them in motion, but there will be motion in wide receiver sets in some situations because they’re tough match-ups.”
And no one, it seems, is tougher than Fiedorowicz.
He’s super freaky. Yow.
Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football