Huskies Insider Blog

Stopping Stanford's trio of tight ends

In today's News Tribune, I wrote about Washington having to deal with Stanford's trio of tight ends - Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo.

No Pac-12 team uses a tight end more than Stanford as the three of them will often be on the field together.

“I’m a born and raised West Coast (offense) purist,” Shaw said. “Every good West Coast team always has to have tight ends.”

Shaw uses them in a variety of ways and in every situation.

“We are able to put them on the field and have a run-heavy formation with two tight ends and put Zach Ertz in the backfield and run the ball very effectively,” Shaw said. “And on the next play with same group of guys, we will spread them out and make it look like a four-receiver set, and with big guys who can run, (we) let them make plays down the field.”

It causes all kinds of problems for defenses.

“They’ll do everything with their tight ends,” Huskies middle linebacker Cort Dennison said. “It’s hard because they are so big and so athletic. It’s hard for linebackers and defensive backs to cover them because they are so big and athletic.”

Earlier today, Fleener was named the John Mackey Tight End of the week.

The Mackey Award candidate has caught 16 passes for 383 yards and a team high six touchdowns on the season in helping Stanford to a 6-0 start and a No. 7 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25.

The senior from Lemont, Ill. Is averaging 23.9 yards a catch and is making a run at Stanford's single-season record for receiving yards per catch, set by Miles Moore, who averaged 21.5 yards per reception in 1971. Fleener is also on pace to break the NCAA single-season record for receiving average per catch, set by Wyoming's Jay Novacek in 1984 (22.6).According to Rob Rang of, Fleener is the top rated senior tight end in the country and is projected as a second or third round prospect.