By LARRY VAUGHT
Senior tight end Jordan Aumiller admits it has been an interesting journey from coming to UK as a linebacker, moving to tight end after his redshirt freshman season, getting to start and then playing almost none last year to where he is now.
“It has been up and down. Good times, bad times. But it is my last year and I am making the most out of it and leaving it all out there. I don’t want to have any regrets,” Aumiller said. “I don’t think many UK fans enjoyed last year. I didn’t and the players didn’t. We want this year to be different.”
Aumiller won’t criticize Greg Nord, his tight ends coach last year, or Randy Sanders, UK’s offensive coordinator last season. When asked why new UK tight ends coach Vince Marrow believes he can block and they didn’t, he just smiles and praises Marrow.
“I definitely think I have gotten stronger. Coach Marrow is a really good coach and blocking is all about a mentality,” Aumiller said. “We all really enjoy being around coach Marrow. He gives us a good, positive attitude about everything. He expects us to go out there and whip up on the defensive ends or beat up on whoever we are blocking. This is my last year so I just go out there and bust it.
“My foot injury definitely helped me back last year. I am just excited. It is a whole new excitement. I think this strength program has really helped me out, but more than anything I really appreciate what coach Marrow has done for me.”
He’s also a Neal Brown fan. He didn’t know Brown, another former Boyle player, that well before the offensive coordinator got to UK, but he knew plenty about him.
“I just knew it was a spread offense. I didn’t even really know he used tight ends,” Aumiller said. “All of us tight ends were talking about who is going to be our coach and he may not use tight ends, but he has a really exciting offense. I knew him a little bit, but not like now. And I am thrilled the tight ends are a vital part of his offense. He expects us to be great and he coaches us to be great. It shows with his offenses everywhere he has been at Troy and Texas Tech that he can win. He pushes us. Just like all the coaches. All the coaches want you to be great and be 110 percent on every play.”
Aumiller, and other tight ends, will get to do a variety of things this year. Not only will they line up in the traditional tight end spot, but they will also sometimes be at a wide receiver spot and other times lined up at fullback.
Could Aumiller possibly get a chance to run the football?
“You never know. I wouldn’t mind doing that, but coach Marrow probably won’t let me carry the ball out of the backfield. But I will do my job whatever I have to do,” he said. “At fullback, you do different things. Block, motion, pass protection, just anything the team needs. We are hybrid players that do it all.”
He says improved strength and conditioning programs have helped him be in position to do more, too.
“Those coaches have high expectations for us off field and expect us take care of ourselves,” Aumiller said. “It is rough out here, but we do our best.”
Aumiller is convinced his best this year will be rewarded with an opportunity to play again.
“I think I am a lot more excited about this season and what could happen,” he said. “Everything works out. I’m healthy and hungry to play. Coach Marrow believes in me and I believe in my team. It’s just a lot more fun again.”