Tight ends getting their bodies right, while preparing for larger roles

Allen beat his receiving total from the 2017 season despite missing five games last season.

Trevor Holbrook

With wide receivers like Allen Lazard, Marchie Murdock, Trever Ryen and a handful of other options, targets were spread thin last season.

Currently, the Lazard, Murdock and Ryen trio are preparing for pro day, meaning that there’s more targets available in Ames.

Last season, the stacked receiving corps provided the Cyclone tight ends an opportunity to chisel their blocking skills.

“Dylan [Soehner], Charlie [Kolar] and I have worked a lot with the receiving coaches this offseason on getting our route running down,” said redshirt sophomore tight end Chase Allen. “We’ve taken a lot of strides, I believe.”

Allen is a familiar face for Iowa State fans, playing in all 13 games and earning Second-Team All-Big 12 Honors. A large chunk of Allen’s role consisted of blocking after only catching four passes last season.

This season the receiving opportunities should be more abundant for Allen, but the Nixa, Missouri, native needs to show consistency.

“I think for Chase that the next step is ‘I got to prove it, that I should be the one getting balls,’” said tight ends coach Alex Golesh.

What’s different this spring for Allen? His size.

Golesh said that Allen has tacked on about 25 pounds this offseason, providing the tight end with a more suitable body for blocking.

Allen’s added weight paired with his 6-foot-7 frame could improve his blocking, but it could also be a threat in the receiving game.

“We sure think so,” Golesh said when asked about utilizing Allen as an outside receiver. “We hope so, he’s shown ability to do so.”

Golesh mentioned Soehner and Kolar as potentially being utilized in that role, too.

While Allen is attempting to pack on some weight, Soehner is on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Soehner weighs in at 272 pounds, according to Golesh.

“We’d like him right in that range,” Golesh said. “He’s running really well and competing really well at 270, which is kind of freakish.”

Golesh joked that he wants to keep Soehner under 280-pounds to keep offensive line coach Jeff Myers from snagging more depth.

Soehner and Golesh expect Soehner’s weight to drop down to between 265 and 272 after summer workouts pass and fall arrives.

“Obviously, me and Chase both, there’s not a lot of guys on the perimeter that can measure with us, height or weight, strength, anything,” Soehner said. “We create mismatch out there, and I think that’s something we’re going to try to look forward to doing.”

While Allen and Soehner are a pair of towering redshirt sophomores, the tight end group features a younger — but just as tall — target: Kolar, a redshirt freshman.

“He’s shown a lot because he already has the weight,” Golesh said. “He’s already 255 pounds. He’s physically ready, now it’s just the mental, and the speed, and size and all those things for him.”

With the trio of lengthy tight ends, it encourages competition at the position — an aspect that is a positive in Golesh’s eyes.

“I told those older guys, they better beat each other out, and I told Charlie he better beat them out,” Golesh said. “You hope the level of competition, which finally there is some, makes all those guys better. 

“If they’re competitors, which they are, and if they’re intelligent and can figure that out, which they are, they all should raise their level of play.”