Indiana Head Coach Gerry DiNardo on Kris Dielman

Indiana Coach Gerry DiNardo talked exclusively with Chargers Update about Kris Dielman, an undrafted free agent the San Diego Chargers signed just after the draft. It seems Dielman is well liked with the Indiana Football offices as Barbara Thompson, an assistant to the Coach, made a point to make sure I say hello to him from her next time I run into Kris.

Kris Dielman earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition as a senior, and took home the Anthony Thompson Award as Indiana's Most Valuable Player, as voted by his teammates.

Why did you move him Kris to defensive tackle?

"He was a very good player before we got to IU. He was a tight end and he was a good tight end. When we got here we felt like we needed some help on the defensive line and he had played some defensive line earlier and then they moved him to tight end so we obviously knew he was a good player and he had some ability and had some experience on defense. We just felt like he would be a good player in the defensive line.

"We also felt like we needed a personality, if you will, on defense. Kris has tremendous intensity, tremendous work habits, he was voted our captain, overwhelmingly voted our captain by the team. He was a guy that really was a critical guy for us in the transition. He played very well, was banged up a little bit at times during the year and fought through it. He was voted our Most Valuable Player by our team so he was our best player, our most intense player and he is an outstanding athlete. I really think he has a future in the NFL. I think the Chargers have done a great job with him."

In the first game for new head coach Gerry DiNardo; Dielman led Indiana to victory with seven tackles, a sack, five tackles for loss and a fumble recovery against William and Mary.

"I think he brought a lot to our defense from a personality standpoint. The only thing he is got banged up a little but during part of the year and he fought through it maybe more than most people would have. He had a good year and I think he would have had a better year if he wasn't injured."

Dielman, underwent surgery on a ruptured tendon in his ankle over the winter. Odds are high that the injury scared off a number of potential suitors.

"I think the Chargers are going to be really excited about him."

Want to get Coach DiNardo excited? Ask him how is his upside considering he only spent one true year playing DT?

"And he has never been redshirted Denis! I mean he should still be playing with us! Our loss is the Chargers gain. I wish he was still here. A four-year player, which plays to the Chargers advantage. He has only had one year on defense, yeah, I think there is tremendous upside."

Were scouts looking his way in the draft?

"He was starting to (get scouted) yeah. He was getting a lot of action. I think the fact that he could play tight end, that he could play defensive line, that he is only a fourth year kid and that he has got his degree or he was on schedule to get his degree. There was a lot of interest in him and I didn't know if he would get drafted. I thought he was on the bubble."

Dielman is a former tight end that moved to the defensive line last season, posting 55 tackles with 14 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. He started every game at tight end as a junior and caught 14 passes for 206 yards with 2 scores while also seeing some time along the defensive line.

Did it hurt his chances being between positions at tight end and defensive tackle?

"I think it probably hurt his chances in some people's eyes. In other people's eyes it was probably an advantage. I knew he was going to be in a camp and I think the fact that Cam (Cameron) can speak to his abilities and his personality helped quite a bit."

Cam Cameron was the Head Coach of Indiana before Coach DiNardo took over. Cameron joined the Chargers after spending five seasons (1997-2001) as the head coach at Indiana University.

That familiarity may have brought Kris to San Diego.

"I know when Kris came back after they flew him out there he was really excited about the Chargers. This is before they had signed him and so I think he was excited that Cam was there and it just seemed like a perfect fit for both sides."

Is he more of a mauler or technique guy?

"Well right now I think he is more of a mauler headed to technique just because of his lack of experience there."

What kind of defense do you play at Indiana? "The Tony Dungy scheme same as the Tampa Bay and Colts run."

How are his practice habits?

"Terrific, fabulous. Again this is a guy who was voted captain and his motor always run. "I think he is smart enough to figure out rookies should listen and play hard and not say too much. He won't back down from anybody but I don't think he is going to be a guy who is talking a lot. It wasn't that long ago he was a freshman in college. The smart ones don't forget much."

What is stopping him from making it in the NFL?

Probably just learning the position. He has the ability, he has the intangibles…he needs to learn the position. I have a lot of confidence and I think he is going to make it.

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