Tight end production suffered last year largely due to an injury-riddled season. Looking to rebound in a huge way for the upcoming 2009 season, the tight end position is critical for the Badger offense to achieve success.
"We are a tight end oriented offense," said Bielema after the annual spring game at Camp Randal Saturday afternoon.
Staying relatively healthy this spring was a huge step in the right direction for the tight ends. Not only did they stay on the field, but they made big plays while on the field this spring.
Senior Garrett Graham and junior Lance Kendricks hauled in three of the four receiving touchdowns in Saturday's scrimmage. Graham got on the board early by grabbing a 12-yard touchdown pass on the Cardinal opening drive, finishing with two catches for 25 yards on the day.
Kendricks caught two touchdown passes and racked up 56 yards on three catches, one of which was a 30-yard touchdown toss from freshman quarterback Curt Phillips.
"He (Kendricks) is athletic and gifted, I like what he brings," stated Bielema.
Bielema is excited about what a healthy tight end corps can bring do for the Badgers this season. Graham and Kendricks both have shown this spring that when they are healthy they are two more weapons opposing defenses are going to have to worry about.
Although he did not record a catch in Saturday's game, Bielema revealed that he hopes to keep senior tight end Mickey Turner active in the offense. Bielema plans to line Turner up as a fullback when necessary.
The tight ends have taken huge strides in the right direction this spring. They need to carry this momentum they have generated into the start of the season because, according to Bielema, the Badger offense depends on it.