Providing Stability

Going into the Champs Sports Bowl as a solid No.2 tight end, senior Lance Kendricks showed Wisconsin that he can carry the load, as he registered a career-high seven reception for 128 yards in the win over Miami. After a summer of building confidence, Kendricks is ready for a breakout year.

MADISON - It's not hard to see why Lance Kendricks is so often compared to former Badger and current NFL tight end Travis Beckum.

Both came highly rated by Scout.com out of the Milwaukee area, converted to tight end early in their careers and found their niche in Wisconsin's tight-end offense.

After catching just eight passes for 141 yards his sophomore year, Kendricks started nine games in place of Beckum, catching 29 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns.

Now stepping into Garrett Graham's shoes as one of the focal point in what is expected to be an explosive offense, Kendricks has spent the offseason getting ready and helping another tight end to step up and fill the void.

Badger Nation: A lot of people after watching your performance in the Champs Sports Bowl felt a lot more confident in the status of the tight end position going forward. That had to be a big moment for you too in the game, sort of a passing of the torch?

Lance Kendricks: Definitely. It definitely made me more confident going into spring ball. I felt like that I made it to fulfill a leadership role. I think that Garrett and Mickey left a strong bond between the tight ends. Overall as a whole tight end group, that game will help us more forward.

Badger Nation: There are a lot of young guys that are going to be vying for playing like Jake Byrne, Zach Davison, Jacob Pedersen and Brian Wozniak. You are now the leader of the group, so what have you seen from these young guys that are where you were a couple years ago – trying to break through?

Lance Kendricks: They are definitely hard workers. They all work hard, and they have always been that way. Everyday, they are motivated coming into practice. They never have any complaints. They minimize the injuries for the most part. It's nice to have everybody here and compete within the tight end group. It makes everybody better.

Badger Nation: When you watch the film, what was the biggest thing that you learned from watching yourself or learned by watching Garrett and Mickey compete?

Lance Kendricks: We watched film together as a group a lot and I think watching myself helped just because I could correct my mistakes. But watching Garrett and Mickey, especially Garrett, it helped showed the fundamentals that a tight end position, which helped me a lot. Watching Mickey, being a fullback blocker, just being able to lead and have people listen to you. We pretty learn from everything and I pretty much play every position as a tight end, so I kind of have to know it all.

Badger Nation: Catching passes it easy, but the reason Garrett Graham is such a coveted tight end on a lot of people's NFL Draft boards is because he improved on the blocking. I assume those are the fundamentals you are talking about. How did you improve as a tight end since the season ended?

Lance Kendricks: When we did winter stations, we worked on the basic fundamentals – blocking, blocking defensive ends, blocking linebackers. I think that helped me a lot as far as coming into the spring and growing into that mentality this fall.

Badger Nation: It also must help have (Tight End Coach) Joe Rudolph in your ear? He's got a pretty good history of blocking.

Lance Kendricks: That definitely helps. He was an awesome blocker, awesome guard back in the day. Having him help you and teach you definitely helps you become a better blocker at this level.

Badger Nation: Physically, you look a lot slimmer. Have you dropped a lot of weight or have you gained a lot of muscle?

Lance Kendricks: I weighted in at the start of camp at about 240 pounds. I didn't drop a lot of weight, so I probably gained a little bit of muscle. I am not sure, but I am confident in how my body is feeling.

Badger Nation: Obviously you have confidence in the offense, but how much does it mean having confidence in your body that it will be able to handle the wear and tear of a Big Ten season?

Lance Kendricks: I have seen an improvement from the Hawaii game last year to the bowl game as far as confidence. Then from the bowl game to now has given me confidence. I haven't really been nervous or anything. I am getting a lot more confident than I use to be.

Badger Nation: This offense returns 10 starters. That's a pretty big number. You have to be excited about the possibilities this group can have heading into the season of putting up points and offense?

Lance Kendricks: Definitely. Our offense … we have playmakers everywhere. We all rely on each other to make plays, which is good. We all compete for certain spots, which helps the offense overall. I am definitely excited to see what we can do.

Badger Nation: Is balance the best thing this offense has?

Lance Kendricks: It makes everybody comfortable and excited to see other people makes plays. For me, I am excited to see other guys make plays.


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