Tim Biere: Tight End looks to Break Out in his Final Season at Kansas

Sept. 9, 2011

Tim Biere enters his senior year with something to prove.

The fourth-year tight end has been through his share of highs and lows during his first three seasons in the Crimson and Blue. But this year, he has high expectations for both himself and for his team.

After a disappointing year in 2010, many college football experts have picked the Jayhawks to finish last in the Big 12 standings this season. But don’t tell that to Biere.

“To come back and hopefully get to a bowl game this year would be really big,” said Biere, who was a freshman tight end on KU’s 2008 Insight Bowl team. “I want to get this program back on the winning track. That is something I would really be proud of.”

Getting KU back to a bowl game would likely take a big year out of the 6-foot-4 tight end from Omaha, Neb. As a junior last season, Biere recorded career highs in catches (19), receiving yards (228) and touchdowns (four). He has his sights set even higher this year, which is quite a change from where he started.

Despite playing as a true freshman in 2008, Biere’s number wasn’t called in the spread offense KU ran under then-head coach Mark Mangino.

However, his role has changed dramatically and his numbers have increased each year in both receptions and yards. The last two years he has combined for 33 receptions and 411 yards with four touchdowns.

“When I got here I was playing maybe 30 plays a game and making small contributions here and there,” said Biere, who was named to the John Mackey Award Watch List for the second-straight year prior to this season.

“Now, I play almost the entire game on offense. The first game doing that I realized I had to increase my stamina, but you get used to it and it’s a lot more fun being out there all the time.”

Players who experience coaching changes in the middle of their collegiate careers have to learn the new coach’s style of offense. During Biere’s first two years he was in an up-tempo spread offense, which the tight end position wasn’t utilized as much. Under current head coach Turner Gill the Jayhawks run more of a pro-style offense where the tight end is an integral piece of the offense.

“The first year was tough on everybody because we were getting used to the coaches and finding out what they expected from each of us,” Biere said. “In year two, we are much more comfortable and as far as the offense goes we moved to more of a running game, whereas we were more pass-oriented in the past. We still throw the ball, but we are getting more physical and I think that’s going to be a key to our success this year.”

Tight ends coach Aaron Stamn is in his second season with the Jayhawks and has also seen a dramatic improvement in Biere from last season to the beginning of fall camp this season. Stamn described Biere as someone who plays with a tenacious attitude on the field.

“When he blocks you, he tries to bury your face in the dirt and he can catch the ball in traffic as good as anybody I’ve been around,” he said. “As a tight end that’s what you have to do when you’re 250 pounds. Sometimes it’s not as clean as you like, but you’ve got to make a ball play.”

Entering his final season in the Crimson and Blue, as one of 16 seniors on the roster Stamn expects the Biere to shoulder a lot of the leadership responsibilities.

“Tim’s played a lot of football around here, so nothing has shocked him,” Stamn said. “The big thing is he knows he needs to be a leader. He’s been around us a long time and he’s stepped up more vocally than he ever has in the past and he’s done a good job of it.”

One of the biggest honors that can be bestowed on a college football player is to be named a captain by his peers. Biere earned that distinction the week before the regular season opener against McNeese State. He received even higher praise from head coach Turner Gill.

Said Coach Gill of captains Biere and fellow seniors Jeremiah Hatch, Steven Johnson and junior Toben Opurum: “I think that’s a good representation (of our team) there. Those guys were good examples in my first full year here. Those guys have represented the program well on the field, off the field and in the classroom.”

Biere would love to end his collegiate career representing Kansas in a bowl game at the end of the season and answering KU’s detractors.

“What does it mean if the media doesn’t expect much from you? We still have high expectations around here,” Biere explained. “We have everything to prove and nothing to lose.”

Weston Pletcher is a senior from Rosalia, Kan. He is earning a degree in journalism.