Tinlin makes up for lost time | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tinlin makes up for lost time

Steve Yingling

There were times – many times – last year when tight end Brandon Tinlin wondered what might have been.

As a true freshman at Iowa State in 2003 Tinlin planted his foot to switch directions while running a half-gasser on the third day of fall camp and suddenly something went terribly wrong. His knee buckled and strangely Tinlin’s first season of college football was over. It was a freak injury that turned out to be the theme of that season as six Cyclones tore their ACLs.

While painstakingly rebuilding strength in that knee last year, the former South Tahoe High quarterback anguished over lost opportunity and time.

“It doesn’t bother me anymore, but last year I thought about it a lot,” Tinlin said. “My knee is 100 percent now and I’ve strengthened both legs. My feeling from last year to this year is 10 times different.”

Hard work has thrust Tinlin from an afterthought into the Cyclones’ mix for playing time at tight end.

“He’s doing a good job and stands a chance to get quite a bit of playing time,” said Terry Allen, Iowa State tight ends coach. “He has real good hands and will catch some 5- and 10-yarders for us and obviously he has to be effective in his blocking.”

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Blocking is the area that the 6-foot-4, 238-pound Tinlin thinks he has made the most improvement.

“I definitely needed (last year) to improve on many things … getting used to the speed of the game at the Division I level and my blocking.”

Tinlin didn’t play a down last year, not even on special teams. But that should change since he’s a second-team tight end and a backup wing on the field goal team.

“I really wasn’t fast enough last year,” Tinlin said. “My goal this season is to get a couple of reps, keep improving and contribute to the team somehow and some way.”

Allen said there was too much talent ahead of Tinlin last year.

“His time is now. We graduated three seniors,” said Allen, the former head coach at Kansas. “It’s his redshirt sophomore year and normally that’s when we expect someone to start helping us, and hopefully he’ll start doing that this fall.”

Tinlin doesn’t want another game to go by where he doesn’t get a chance to contribute on the field. If Iowa States takes care of business early as expected against Illinois State on Saturday, Tinlin should see some playing time.

“I’m sick of tired of hitting my own teammates,” he said. “I’m just hoping we’re beating up on them pretty good so I can get in.”

It’s an opportunty that could have come last year if things were different.

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