UNION MILLS -- There's never been a linemen who didn't want to run the ball or catch a pass.
So when South Central coach Buzz Schoff asked big Brendan Carr about moving from tackle to tight end, the Satellites senior didn't hesitate in responding.
"No tackle's going to let you down you when ask them to play tight end," Schoff said. "He's going to give you everything he's got. On kickoff return, he's our scout returner. He wants to be the athlete on the field. He's taken on the role."
Carr played tight end as a freshman, but admits he was basically an extra left tackle. Though he'll never be mistaken for Travis Kelce or George Kittle, he enjoys being involved in the offense in a more noteworthy way than being called for holding.
"That happened a lot," he said. "I like blocking and catching passes. It's fun. It was cool when I got a touchdown. When you're a lineman, you don't get touchdowns."
Schoff began to tinker with the idea last winter when he noticed a lighter, nimbler Carr on the basketball court.
"He probably dropped 15, 20 pounds and looked really fit," Schoff said. "You look at him and you think tight end. Out here, playing small town football, we need him in the trenches blocking. We had four returning starters, so we were sitting pretty in that aspect. We really wanted to get him outside, get a perimeter blocker of his size with a big target down in the red zone. We told him, if you stay fit, get stronger, and everyone else falls into place, we'll give you a look. What it came down to was, do we have a fifth linemen we can switch him out with? Can we move a three-year starter for a kid who's only played football for two years?"
That kid is 6-5 senior Andrew Baske, a baseball player who Schoff noticed a couple years ago thanks to his size.
"I said, man, you're big, why don't you play football?" Schoff said. "He was a little hesitant, but he came out day one and he realized it's not as hard as everybody makes it sound. It's more fun than it is hard. He was a back-up (last year), but he played defensive line for the Culver game and we were like, well, this kid can play a little bit. In the summer, when we started working out, we asked him, can you get the job done? If you can, we can move Brendan. If you can't, then he's got to stay."
South Central's Brendan Carr has moved from tackle to tight end this season, using his size at 6-foot-8 to take advantage of smaller defenders.
Baske has stepped in adequately enough that there had been no need to switch back Carr.
"We ended up making the change and haven't looked back from it," Schoff said. "It wasn't a hard switch. On a given play, we know (Baske)'s doing his job. He'll still make what I call a sophomore mistake. Once in a while, he'll step the wrong way or block the wrong guy. We told him, if you make a mistake, make it going 100 miles per hour, we'll correct it in film. We just can't have you standing in the middle of nowhere. You're 6-5, go hit somebody. Move forward and you'll be fine."
As a junior, Carr played at 246 pounds. He fell under 230 after a bad case of the flu in the winter, but was back to 235 by season's end and 240 after the spring shutdown, maintaining that weight since.
"It's 239, but it's a good 239," he said. "It's the same as basketball season, but in better shape. I'm more athletic. During the quarantine, I was jumping rope every day. (My footwork)'s a lot better. I'm not DeAndre Hopkins, but my hands are OK."
Laughing at the thought of the first day of practice in July, when he didn't even know how to get in a wide receiver stance, Carr's adapted to being upright at the line of scrimmage.
"He knows he's a glorified tackle," Schoff said. "He's going to run a five-yard out, an arrow, something in the flat," Schoff said. "He's not going to take off the top of the defense, but he's a big target. As long as we can get him open, he can catch the ball. When you're 6-8 and can leak out, there might be a 5-7 corner standing there, a 6-foot outside linebacker. I know when we're trying to match up with a team, a 6-4 guy scares you. Well, we've got a 6-8 guy. That's a big dude."
While South Central doesn't throw a ton -- it's completed 10 of 28 passes in three games -- Carr leads the Satellites in catches with four, totaling 59 yards and a touchdown in the opener versus Triton. In S.C.'s bunch formation, he even lines up in the slot.
"I don't have any deep passes. I like it when Brady (Glisic) throws it up. That's what he did on the touchdown," said Carr, who would consider playing football in college if the situation was right. "I'm just happy to be playing tight end. I still block most plays. The line's been good. I think it's been the best part of the offense."
Though he doesn't play much defense, Carr remains an integral in the short-yardage package.
"Just his size, you worry about him being too high," Schoff said. "You can get away with it on offense if you're faster, stronger. On defense, you're already at a disadvantage. Teams can exploit that fairly quick. But we're not afraid to go to him when we need a big body. He understands that's his role. Go out there and be big."