Davis Dudchock, a redshirt freshman, is one of a few players that head coach David Shaw might call upon in the next few weeks to replace the void left by Ertz's injury. The Bootleg caught up with Dudchock after Tuesday's practice to see how much he's played so far and how he might figure into the Cardinal's schemes against Oregon State.
The Bootleg: How much playing time have you gotten so far this season?
Davis Dudchock: I've played in four games. I've just gotten some time and I'm really trying to improve—just trying to do my best when I have the opportunities.
What's the impact of Zach Ertz's injury on your team?
DD: Zach is an awesome player and a great leader, so it definitely affects us, but we have guys that step up. Our other tight ends, the two other guys in Trees Company—Levine [Toilolo] and Coby Fleener—are going to both step up and keep doing their things.
Have you talked to the coaches at all about stepping into Zach's role?
DD: I haven't. Whatever happens, happens. I'm ready to play when I play and we'll see.
How much of the playbook is three tight end sets?
DD: A pretty good chunk. We have a lot of plays and a good percentage. We have a lot of different formations so that definitely helps us in our schemes.
Do you think that you could play any of those roles in some of those three tight end sets?
DD: I definitely have some work to do to improve size-wise before I'm able to play all three effectively. I definitely have the ability to play some of them.
Do you think that you have a niche as a tight end? As a receiving tight end or a blocking tight end?
DD: I'd say I came in more as a receiving tight end but I've definitely been working hard to improve blocking. I feel like I'm getting better—like today I feel like I was blocking better. I'm not sure—I'd say my niche would be in terms of receiving.
What do you think your biggest area for improvement is?
DD: Definitely blocking and just knowledge of the playbook and consistency. I've got to be more consistent to be able to make plays to help this team.
Has it been difficult to recover this week after a three-overtime game?
DD: Not really. The energy is great, it was really great today at practice. Everyone's ready to go bouncing back, because we're looking forward to and game planning for Oregon State.
How would you grade your offensive performance against USC?
DD: I think we definitely made a few mistakes but we really hung in there and fought hard, stayed the course. If anything we stayed the course and just kept fighting.
You guys have put a lot of emphasis on your power running game, but a lot of your gains last weekend came through the passing game. Do you think you're going to move towards more of a balance?
DD: We're clearly a power running team; that's in our DNA and that's who we are, so we're going to stick with that.
What do you think the chances are of a "letdown" game against Oregon State?
DD: I think we're ready to go and we're improving and working hard to make plays. We're working one game at a time, and I'm looking forward to playing well and playing our game.
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