The talk of the offseason for the Red Wolves was focused on winning another Sun Belt title and whether or not Coach Blake Anderson had the roster in place to contend again. The defense looks to return a formidable unit and the offense has an abundance of playmakers that the quarterback needs to get the ball to. However, when you read the different preseason magazines one unit getting the most attention, in terms of national rankings, was the offensive line. True, that unit has a lot of experience returning in the seniors expected to start. However, the injury bug hit late last season and during the spring, so they haven’t been able to all line up together at once. When they do, they could be fun to watch. The man in charge of getting the offensive line ready is Coach Allen Rudolph. AstateNation’s 5th Quarter Preseason series continues below with Coach Rudolph.
1st Quarter: How would you describe the battle going on in the trenches during fall camp? – “Well, first of all, we have a really strong defensive line that is both talented and deep. Coach Early and Coach Cauthen have done a great job with those guys so we just try to hold onto our hats against them. So when we go out there in practice and win a battle or two against those guys we feel pretty good about ourselves. It’s been fun to watch so far and I think going up against those guys makes us a ton better, which is great as we prepare for the season.”
2nd Quarter: You’ve had to deal with the injury bug from spring practice and throughout fall camp. How have you had to adjust your practice schedule and what you hope to achieve each day in practice? – “The first thing is just making sure we have everything covered and know what our personnel groupings are in every situation. When it comes time to fill holes and substitute guys in we know what we’re doing and the guys know their roles. Next we’re focused on making sure certain guys are getting enough work in together. What I mean is the left guard working with the left tackle and the same on the right side, in addition to the centers working with the guards. The goal of it all is allowing guys to get in their individual work as well as building the foundation for the teamwork they’ll need to build on as we enter the season. The injuries make all of this a challenge, but we’re working hard to get our work done. You know, it helps that when I was coaching in the Canadian League, we went into one season with dressing only 6 guys in any one game. I think that helped train me on how to shuffle guys around in practice and in games when the roster is short due to guys being out.”
3rd Quarter: At this point in fall camp, how would you describe the chemistry of the offense and where it stands today as a unit? – “This week is the week you’re really starting to see guys’ experience shine through and the offense is starting to gel well. Now is when I think you notice an identity being formed and what the unit will look like. You know the first week is when you see guys thinking a lot, even the guys that have been here awhile in the offense. Now they’re starting to just play and react. They’re grasping their assignments and making plays. I think we have great chemistry forming and I think Coach Anderson plays a big role in that aspect. He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever worked with in terms of developing chemistry and developing a culture. Plus, we have a lot of great dudes on this roster, which speaks to the recruiting success the coaches have had here over the last couple of years. When you have good men on your team, those things tend to fall into place the way you hope.”
4th Quarter: Which guys in your position group have been pleasant surprises so far in fall camp? – “I’m going to brag on a guy that everybody already knows and that’s Devin Mondie. That’s a name you recognize and he’s played a lot of great football here. But man, I really think he’s made huge strides from this spring until now in fall camp. He’s done a fantastic job in the weight room transforming his body and his conditioning. It’s just been a pleasure to see his growth from the spring until now. Another name is Dalton Ford. He’s really played well for us and been consistent in his play. He’s played a good bit in fall camp with the ones and done a good job in that role. Everybody is making progress but those are two guys I wanted to brag on a bit.”
Overtime: What was your favorite memory of the summer? – “I tell you what; my family went up to Branson, Missouri with good friends of ours from Canada. We rented a boat and spent a couple hours out on the lake. Our friends had never really done much on the water so we bought a tube and pulled the kids all over the lake. We had an absolute blast. They’re great people and getting to do something new with them was a great experience. It’s a trip I’ll always remember and my favorite memory from the summer.”
We would like to thank Coach Rudolph for his time with the 5th Quarter. Look for more editions of the 5th Quarter with other staff members on AStateNation.