It’s never easy switching positions.
There is a whole new terminology to learn, new techniques to perfect and an entirely new comfort level to attain.
For Colorado’s converted tight end Nick Kasa the process has been long and arduous but he’s finally getting the hang of it and is starting to make plays on Saturday.
He made the move from defensive end in October of last season and this past weekend against Washington State it was his coming out party. During Saturday’s thrilling comeback Kasa made the two biggest plays of his career in a span of seven minutes.
Down 31-14 midway through the fourth quarter Kasa found himself wide open down the middle of the field, hauled in a pass around midfield and out ran the secondary for a 70-yard touchdown. It was the first touchdown of his career and the longest regular-season touchdown catch by a tight end in CU history.
Then on the final drive with Colorado down by six and inside the five yard line Kasa recovered a fumble by running back Christian Powell to preserve a chance for a fourth down play, the one that ultimately won the game. His play literally saved the game for the Buffs.
In only his fifth game at the position Kasa made more of an impact in those seven minutes than in his previous three seasons combined.
Since his ballyhooed arrival on campus in 2009 as one of the top defensive end recruits in the country, injuries and inconsistency have sullied his progression, prompting the switch to tight end. He has been widely considered as one of the most athletic players on the team and the transition to tight end allows him to utilize his full potential.
With his size, 6-foot-6 260 pounds, Kasa creates matchup problems for the defense and head coach Jon Embree knows a thing or two about tight ends, having been one himself during his playing days.
“You know me I think any tight-end creates a matchup problem for the defense” Embree laughed during his weekly press conference. “He’s a big kid that can run, he’s a big body, and I think as you see guys on Sunday using there tight ends, the big tight ends, they create problems because if you put a guy that’s big enough to matchup in cover you might not be able to run as well, and then with his speed getting down the field or getting behind you is a real possibility.”
Kasa has obviously made his share of mistakes during his transition but what Embree likes about him is that he does not make the same mistakes again.
“He’s done a really great job at working hard and not making the same mistake twice” Embree said. “I’m glad that we have him, like I said he gets better every week, he does, he makes his share of mistakes, the thing I love about Nick he doesn’t make the same mistake twice. As a coach that’s really what you love, because its so important to them, he’s a prideful guy he wants to do it right.”
The tight end is coming along and is quickly becoming a big time threat for the Colorado offense. He’s learning the intricacies of the position and with his size he can evolve into a big problem for Pac 12 defenses.
And for Colorado they can use all the weapons they can get at this point.
David LaRose is one of the featured College Football writers for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado.