I felt we were average this spring. We only had 15 practices, so you can't do much. Everything is just average. We are not good at anything and we are not bad at anything, so I think we are just average.
Did you accomplish what you wanted to this spring?
I wanted to learn more about the center calls and coverages. I listened to some of the center calls and looked at the playbook and saw how we identify fronts.
Last year at this time you were fighting for a job, this year it's yours. Did that change your prep at all?
I don't know. I don't really remember much about last spring, as I was just fighting to be the starter. Now, I am just doing what I can do best for the team to help us wing.
Which teammates on offense impressed you the most?
I think Herb Grigsby stood out the most, he had a great spring. Calvin did a good job coming back the way he did. I think the linemen did well, too. Brian (Ferentz) and Mike (Elgin) making the moves, and Jones back outside. Gates has a role right now, and the tight ends did well. I don't know much about the linemen. But I felt Herb stood out the most to me.
Some in the national media are making you guys out to be a darkhorse national title contender. Do you that that is fair or way off?
I would say that is way off. They should come watch us practice. They would see an average team working on a lot of things.
In college basketball, they say you don't want to peak too early. Is that the same for football?
I think you have to be great every time you play. Your objective is to win. We were not great as an offense last year at Penn State, but we won. It's all about winning and finding ways to win.
What will you do between now and August?
Watch a lot of film, study our system, as we installed a lot of stuff and go seven on seven as much as we can.
What is it like to be out on the field again, and participating?
Man, it is a good feeling. You do not know how lucky you got it until it is gone. I am just glad to be playing again and being on that field.
So is your health an issue right now?
No, I think I am back to normal. My cuts are pretty precise and where they were two years ago and my speed is back, too. I am just happy to be out there and catching the ball again.
Do you get asked questions from the younger players, now that you are kind of an elder statesman?
Yeah, I have been here three years now so some of the new receivers will ask questions. Eric (McCullom) asks things, too, sometime and I just want to do all I can to make him a good player. He runs good routes, though, no doubt.
Is City High, your alma mater, going to take back the state title in track this year?
Well, I hope so. We are doing pretty good so far, but I sure hope we can take state. It was fun running there and winning, and I want that for the guys there.
I am a long way off from where I need to be, but I think I have set myself up to progress. Coach Doyle has certainly helped me put the weight on; I came in at 200 pounds and I weigh 242 right now. I hope to add another ten pounds. The program here does a great job with that.
Is that all muscle you put on, or were you on a crazy diet?
You have to put more calories in than you burn. They talk about what to eat, good foods. We have a chart that has green light and red light foods, and you want to stay in the green areas. Don't eat pizza and all the fattening stuff.
What do you eat?
Peanut butter sandwiches, anything protein; I eat eggs for breakfast. Really, any protein I can find. I have only gone up three percent body fat with the forty-pound gain. The weight program is a testament to how I have done it.
What do you see as your role next year?
I think my role is to help the team as best I can. You will have to ask the coaches where they see me. I just worry about doing everything I can in each situation, be it running or catching the ball. It's not up to me to choose that role; just to be the best TE I can be.
What do you need to focus on this summer?
I have to become more physical in the run blocking, then in the passing game, I need to be crisp with my routes and stretch the field. To get the safeties and linebackers to work hard to cover me. Work on my speed and getting crisper out of my break and my route.