Paulsen answered some questions for us at practice recently.
So what was your impression of this session of spring ball?
"It was a little lackadaisical in the beginning but it got better. I think it's good to get the last practice out of the way. I think everyone was getting a little rundown. It's good to have it over. We had a good spring."
You haven't really been playing organized football for a long time, so last season did not knowing all the terminology and specifics hurt you?
"Yeah, definitely. Learning all the new stuff was difficult for me not coming from a football background. I was really happy that (former tight end Coach (Jon) Embree was able to develop me quickly and I was able to travel, which really sped up the process of learning the offense and learning the terminology and helping me become comfortable with playing. So I thought that was really important. And Marcedes (Lewis), he really helped me a lot."
Now that Coach Embree is gone, how is it now with the new coach, Coach Wristen?
"It's good. I really like Coach Wristen a lot and he is a great guy. But I am just happy that Embree was here for my first year just to get me started. Embree was a good first year coach and I feel that Coach Wristen is exactly what I need for my second year. I think he brings some different things to the table so now I have what Coach Embree taught me and now what Coach Wristen is teaching me."
You feel more comfortable now with everything?
"Definitely. I feel way more comfortable after that first year. I feel that I know the offense better and feel that I am a lot more competitive."
There has been talk about your size and weight. It seems like you have put on more weight now, right?
"I've gained about 15 pounds. I'm a little sick right now so I've lost of a little weight but that's okay. I came into spring at 245 lbs., which is exactly where I wanted to be so hopefully I can gain 10-15 more pounds in the off season and that would be my perfect weight." So you've gotten stronger too?
"Oh, definitely. Having Doc Kreis as a strength coach is great. He really pushes you to get a lot stronger and obviously to gain weight so I feel like I am making strides there. Obviously there is room for improvement. It's definitely been a big help because last year it was hard to hang with these guys who are 20-30 lbs heavier than you but now I've slowly closed the gap."
Talk about your pass catching and route running. Do you think that has improved?
Definitely, I think that was a big thing with Coach Embree, running routes, so he emphasized that. So now I think I can run good routes because of him and Coach Wristen. I think that was my strong suit coming in because I played more of a receiver in high school."
How much have things changed with Coach Svoboda taking over as Offensive Coordinator?
"He's a different kind of offensive coordinator and I think he brings something totally different to the table than Coach Cable did. I think it's going to take him a while to get used to calling the plays but I think having him around as coordinator will definitely be an asset in the long run." You mentioned Marcedes Lewis. What is it going to be like to replace a guy like that next year? "He left some big shoes to fill, but it's exciting because he caught a lot of balls last year and between the three of us that are going to play we should be able to do that next year."