Ben Barkema Q&A

If you missed the audio interview with Ben here's the transcript.

CN: Now, when we talked last time you were very, very excited about a couple of things. One was getting a chance for the tight ends to be integrated into the offense. Talk about where you are now in terms of your excitement about the offense this staff's going to be running.

BB: I mean, I'm still really excited about the offense, tight end hopefully is going to be used a lot. We're not real sure yet, because we're only four days into camp . . . but very excited for the upcoming season.

CN: Now, one question I have to ask. Howe moved from the defensive line over here. How's he adjusting to the position?

BB: He's adjusting pretty well. I know it's going to be a little tough for him, to be coming from a D-line and haven't played offense since high school, but he's gotten in the books pretty hard, trying to study the offense, and he looks pretty good out there, so . . .

CN: Now, you-all are also considered part of the offensive line in this unit. You know we hear a lot about the pass blocking you guys are doing now. How's that coming along?

BB: It's coming along pretty well. You know, you've got to be able to run the ball to win the game, and you've got to be able to protect Bret.

CN: In terms of the conditioning program, we've heard from some of the other guys . . . you know, they got stronger, they got faster. How did the tight ends do as a unit in the conditioning program since spring, and how did you do specifically?

BB: I think, as a tight end group, we all got stronger and faster. I think I did the same thing. You know, something different about the conditioning workouts were that it was something different every day when it came to conditioning. You didn't know what was coming, so everybody was like, "Oh, what do we got? We don't know." So it was just great coming in here and not knowing and one day we're out on the stadium stairs, or we're on the hill. You know, we could be running sprints, we could be running long-distance, so . . . just something different. It was great.

CN: How's your endurance?

BB: It's pretty good, I would have to say.

CN: So then in terms of . . . finally getting the pads on, how physical was it out there, and do you see the difference between now and from spring, after having a summer of this conditioning program?

BB: You know, you don't really see that big a difference because the same thing happened on the defensive side of the ball. So like, you know, when you're going against Kurtis Taylor or Rashawn Parker, the D-ends, they did the same thing. They got stronger, they got faster, so it's still a battle. And you know the DB's, they're all faster, and the linebackers, so it's hard to run away from them.

CN: Well, that actually sounds like a good thing, since we heard from Ace that he actually had to kick it up a notch because those guys had gotten a lot faster. But in terms of some of the key positions on offense, you've obviously had a chance to see some of these guys. Talk about how Bret's looking right now, talk about how Todd's looking right now. And how's Jason looking?

BB: Bret's looking good. He's gotten a great grasp of the offense. Todd and Jason are both looking good, too. They're out there working hard every day.

CN: So what are the keys now in terms of determining who's going to be in that starting unit, and what are the things the coaches are telling you-all that you have to work on between now and the beginning of the season?

BB: Well, the main thing is they say get better every day. Get better at what you did wrong today and just keep getting better at something every day. And if everybody does that, then we'll have a good season.

CN: Now, you've been here . . . you've been here at good times, bad times. What are you looking forward to this season?

BB: Well, I'm looking forward to, you know, like I said before, just get better. If we get better, each day, with something different . . . if everybody does that, buys into what Coach Chizik's talking about, then everything will turn out good.




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