Reuland Hoping to Land No. 2 Spot

There's no question which player will be the starting tight end in Notre Dame's offense in 2007, but there are questions which player will earn the second tight end position in the Notre Dame offense next fall. Sophomore tight end Konrad Reuland is working hard to be that guy.

When senior Marcus Freeman played his last down of football for the Irish in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, an opportunity opened up for two sophomore tight ends, Konrad Reuland and Will Yeatman. Reuland said the chance to earn a large role in Notre Dame's offense next season was made clear to him shortly after the Sugar Bowl.

"Both of them said: ‘you've got a golden opportunity. Nothing is going to be given to you. You need to work for it.'" Reuland said of his conversations with Irish tight end coach Bernie Parmalee and Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis. "They were basically telling how good of an opportunity I have, and that I should really try to take advantage of it."

The San Capistrano, Calif. native went right to work and spent considerable time in the weight room in the off season.

"From a preparing standpoint, just getting into the weight room," Reuland said when asked how he prepared to challenge for the No. 2 spot this spring. "My main thing was getting stronger, and being real strong at the point of attack. I worked really hard in the off season. I'm doing that and putting on some strength and a little bit of weight. It's obviously a golden opportunity for me, and I'm just trying to make the most of it."

The former USA Today first-team prep All-American learned quickly last year that strength was going to be the one thing he needed to improve if he wanted to get on the field at Notre Dame.

"I was very surprised by the strength, especially….from the speed aspect as well," he said when asked about the transition from high school football to the highest level of college football. "It's totally different, especially from a tight end standpoint. Not only do you have to be fast enough to run down the field and make catches, and beat linebackers and safeties, but you also have to be stronger than the defensive ends. Last year going up against our defensive line, I struggled at the beginning. It's amazing how much I've been here—nine, ten months—how much you evolve into a much stronger, faster player.

"At the beginning, you're coming in thinking you're going against high schools kids where you just manhandle them because you're a lot stronger. Then you come in and you think you're going to be alright. You're just kind of in for a rude awakening on the line, especially with all the experienced older guys we have. A lot of people have to wait their turn. I just tried to learn as much as I could last year. This off season I tried to focus on improving as much as I could.

"I felt last year, if I ever went up against a linebacker, I'd be alright. Against some of those really big defensive ends, they're really strong guys. I remember in the beginning of camp going up against Victor Abiamiri, and I'm just this scrawny high school kid. I hit the weight room hard this off season. We'll see how much it pays off for me."

So far it appears to be paying off for the second-year player.

"I think feel better at the point of attack," he said. "That was the main thing. I feel like I can run and catch. I never had a problem with that. A lot of it is technique. I think I'm making strides. I still have a lot to improve on."

Reuland also said he's learned a lot from senior tight end John Carlson as well.

"I've learned a lot from John," Reuland said. "I try to pick his brain whenever I can. He's always giving me pointers and telling me what to do in certain situations. It's definitely great to have a guy like him ahead of me teaching me, so I can learn the ropes and hopefully step up in the future and fill his role."

The former Mission Viejo high school star knows it will be awhile before he fills Carlson's shoes, but he feels he's physically prepared himself to challenge for the No. 2 tight end position next fall.

"I just can't get satisfied with anything," Reuland said when asked what he must do to win the job in 2007. "Always try to work as hard as I can, and just strive to be the best player I can be, and try to improve every single day that I step on the field or step in the weight room." Top Stories