Mark Foltz - AStateNation

Interview of Arkansas State Red Wolves head coach Blake Anderson

Part 2 of interview with Blake Anderson

A-StateNation: How has Blake Mack taken to tight end?

Anderson: To me he looks like he absolutely loves it. Physically, he’s never looked better. He is 242 pounds of chiseled muscle. In the spring, he made mistakes but he made them full speed. I think he has really taken to being in coach (Dan) Dodd’s room. Their relationship has been good. It has worked out well.  It created an environment that Blake learns from and is comfortable with. I expect him to play really really well if we can keep him healthy. I think the big thing is getting used to the bodies around him and maybe some opportunities where he has to put his hand on the ground. That is extremely new and will take some time. In terms of route running  and working inside off of safeties and linebackers in the pass game he has looked really really natural. And we may still bounce him outside some as well.

 

A-StateNation: A lot of guys had surgeries, missed spring, what is an update on all the recoveries?

Anderson: Everybody moving forward and doing well. Chris Murry is ahead of schedule  It is going to be kinda day-to-day conversation as to how his ankle really is. It appears to be fine structurally. Even like Jemar (Clark) and Tank (Austin Moreton) and some of those guys they have been released awhile back and should be fine. We expect to be healthy. IF we can stay healthy during camp we can go into the first game with all hands on deck.

 

A-StateNation: Because of the injury do you think you might be a little less physical early on?

Anderson: We will definitely keep health in the conversation every day. We don't do a tremendous amount of banging during fall  We do a lot during the spring. We hit every day during the spring. We have taken more of an NFL approach to fall camp. I don't want a lot of helmets banging each other  and we don't take each other to the ground very much . We will have two scrimmages where we do other than that it will be very limited. I am a lot more concerned about being mentally prepared and keeping their legs and bodies fresh because it is a long season as we saw down the stretch even as well as we did a year ago to take care of their bodies down the stretch the season was taking it tolls because we do not have significant depth. The guys are going to play a lot of snaps.

 

A-StateNation: Luke Ferguson had just an incredible year. Is that something else that is really a concern. Can you replace him with 1 or 2?


Anderson: Yes he did. It will take a group. He just did a great job of pinning people inside the 20, inside the 10. Those are hidden yards you don't discuss a lot but they make a big impact in the game. Kicking the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs, yeah, those are subtle yards. It is a subtle impact but it is significant and we are going to have to step up and some young guys, or maybe even a guy like Cam Luper, can step in and help in the punt game. I told Buster as long as we don't punt we will be fine. It is one of those things that is a concern and we don't have a definite answer right now. It will be something we will have to keep an eye on everyday. And hopefully we can adequately fill in. We won't be able to do what he did but if we can find an adequate replacement, not make mistakes as much as anything, that would be great.”