August 31, 2010

Rudolph breaks down the tight ends

MADISON - As far as the tight end position is concerned, it's Lance Kendricks and a number of unknowns.

But according to position coach Joe Rudolph, the unit is ready to play, and play at a high level. Before the team took to the practice field to kick off game week preparations, Rudolph took a minute to talk to BadgerBlitz.com.

The following is a question and answer with the tight end's coach.

Well, the opening game is less than a week away, are you guys ready? Are the tight ends ready?

Rudolph: (Laughing) We'll find out. I mean, they've gone through the camp and you're right it's game week. You're excited to kind of see their focus and approach, which I expect to be very satisfied with. It will be fun this week.

How much do you guys take stock with what you've seen in fall camp with these guys and then what you're going to see this week? Is this week more about determining playing time for these guys?

Rudolph: Well I think you take a lot in what you see in fall camp. This week is now determining the reps, who's going to get them and in what spots and what personnel groups. You've seen that work from them, but yeah, you're constantly being evaluated and you constantly want to see the things that you're preaching to them. It will be more based on what they've done. I'm looking forward to seeing what roles they can learn.

When you look at the tight ends, is it going to be Lance and Jake? Are they going to be the two starters?

Rudolph: Yes.

Who is behind each on both sides?

Rudolph: Jacob Pedersen would be behind Lance and then Lance would back up Jake Byrne and then Rob Korslin would be able to bounce between fullback and wide-H.

Have you been impressed with Korslin throughout fall camp?

Rudolph: Yeah, Rob is tough, smart and has the ability to back up three positions and have to take new ownership and be accountable for that is huge for us. We can't express how important that is to what we're trying to do. He champions that role and he's been doing a great job.

Is he the type of guy that is willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field?

Rudolph: Yeah, that's his mindset. He works and he pushes the guys in front of him and he fights for opportunities. I'm excited for where he is right now. I don't hesitate when he's on the field. I know he's going to know what to do and I know he's going to know how to get it done. I'm excited for him and his opportunity.

Switching gears to Jake Byrne, is he a capable pass catcher or is he more of a blocking guy that you're going to use?

Rudolph: No, I wouldn't put Jake in the box and say anything other than he's more than adequate as a pass receiver. He's got good hands and played most of his high school career split out. He's got a chance to be really special in that role. I'm excited for that. The merger….2:20

I know I've talked to Jake and his diabetes and stuff, how do you go about that? Is it just a trust thing between him and you and does he tell you if he's not feeling right? If he's feeling low or high?

Rudolph: I'm always not sure how to talk about someone's (condition), but Jake does an outstanding job handling everything that goes with it. He's mature and I appreciate his honesty with me and I appreciate his maturity as he handles that. I couldn't imagine him really doing a better job with that as he's gone into this year through the spring and the fall.

It seems like he's really taken a big step this fall, hasn't he?

Rudolph: Yeah, Jake was playing some very important roles last year and he was playing the meat part of the Iowa game and played a big role on special teams along with finishing some other games. But he has, he has taken a step and I'm excited to see his focus and his energy as things begin to narrow down this week. I'm excited to see him go out there and compete.

Is Sherard Cadogan going to get reps this week?

Rudolph: Well, we'll see. We'll see how this week goes. We're trying to make the best decisions for the program and the best decision for him as a young man and we'll evaluate this year and kind of how to proceed. This week will be a big week for that.

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