Here’s the most interesting interview of the week, courtesy of undrafted signee and former Stanford tight end Konrad Reuland.
Reuland described the tight end’s role in Jim Harbaugh’s offense, which is fascinating. Also, he echoed a theme uttered by many of the undrafted players – he signed here because he wants to play for Harbaugh.
Reuland is a giant. He’s 6’4” 260 lbs. He only caught 21 passes for 209 yards in 2010, but if Harbaugh uses as many tight ends with the 49ers as he did at Stanford, Reuland could have a shot to make the team.
Q: Why did you choose to sign with the 49ers?
REULAND: It just seemed like the perfect fit for me. I wanted to keep playing for Coach Harbaugh, Coach Roman, Coach Drevno, all those guys.
Knowing the system was huge for me as well, especially with the lockout, the limited time and all that. Coming back to the Bay Area, being in a familiar place, familiar faces, it seemed like an easy transition.
Q: What do you like about the system?
REULAND: I love the way they use tight ends. If you guys watch Stanford over the last two or three years, since Harbaugh’s been there, [you’ll see] two and three tight end sets, [and they’re] being asked to do a lot of different things.
Q: What was your role in those sets?
REULAND: It changed a lot from two years ago to last year. I’d say last year I was more of the blocking, standard Y. I guess you could call it the starting tight end. The year before that I did a lot of the moving stuff as well, because we had Jim Dray – he’s with the Cardinals now. He was the Y.
They played me in all the different spots, so I like to pride myself on being able to do a little bit of both.
Q: Do you anticipate being a coach on the field?
REULAND: I don’t know if I’ll necessary be a coach on the field, but in meetings and stuff like that, hopefully I’ll know more than the rest of the guys. I’m assuming I will. I’m not coming in here having a coach’s mindset. I’m trying to make the team. I’m trying to compete. But, obviously, if guys need help with certain things, I’ll be more than happy to help them out.
Q: Have you had a chance to look at the 49ers playbook?
REULAND: Yeah, I just got my playbook.
Q: Does it look like your old Stanford one?
REULAND: Conceptually it’s pretty similar. I haven’t really looked too much at it, to be honest. I just got it late last night. So, I haven’t looked at any of the installs yet.
Q: Vernon Davis said one of the things he likes about the playbook is it gives a lot of freedom for tight ends – freedom on routes, freedom to make decisions. Was that your experience?
REULAND: Yeah. My experience was they asked the tight ends to know everything. You have to know every spot on the field and be able to be interchangeable, which frees you up. If you can conceptualize and if you know all the spots they can move you wherever they want, which makes it a definite advantage. It creates mismatches. There will be a lot asked of us in terms of we’ve got to know our stuff and be on it.
Q: It seemed like it became ‘Tight End U’ over there at Stanford – so many different good tight ends competing for playing time. How was that?
REULAND: It was really cool. It kind of is Tight End U. I know exactly what you’re saying. Two years ago we had five guys that are going to have an opportunity to play on Sundays on one team in college at one position. It was cool, it brought a lot of competitiveness, and I’m hoping that prepares me for the next level.
Q: Did some tight ends get lost in the shuffle with so many guys there?
REULAND: That’s the reason we use so many three-tight-end sets, because they wanted to make sure we got a rotation. If you have guys that are capable you’re going to keep rotating them, obviously.
Third year in the Stanford program after spending the 2006 and '07 seasons at Notre Dame … should be a factor at the tight end position where he will work with Coby Fleener, Levine Toiloli and Zach Ertz … .spent part of the 2007-08 academic year at Saddleback College but did not play football … very good athlete who didn't take up football until his sophomore year at Mission Viejo High School … physically gifted player who has excellent size and ball skills for the position. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/p...orical/1631919
Bio: Notre Dame transfer used as a part-time starter the past two seasons. Senior totals included 21/209/1 after 6/142 as a junior.
Positive: Nice sized tight end who is best as a blocker. Quickly gets off the line, stays square, and is strong at the point of attack. Works to bend his knees, shows good vision, and stays with assignments. Blocks down well on opponents. Uses his hands to get separation from opponents and effectively adjusts to the errant throw catching the ball.
Negative: Displays marginal quickness. Fights the ball and unnecessarily lets passes get inside him. Not fluid in his movements.
Analysis: Reuland is a size prospect who could make a roster as a third tight end brought onto the field in short-yardage situations.
One thing I think Mangini got right is that he wanted players who lived and breathed football. Guys who loved the game and were totally committed.
Gates doesn't sound anything like that.
Yeah, but that story sounds more like the challenges Gates had growing up and presumably living a poverished life, his family struggled to support his football interests, or that a broken upbringing lead him to football, doesn't mean the kid doesn't love football.
Not that I'm in any way making a comparison to a HOF, but a similar path worked out just fine for Curtin Martin. My point is, many players go through this in the NFL, a lot more than you think.
Gates is exactly the kind of player I thought the Jets would be after, Gates' speed and Hill's speed is not the same. Hill is a thoroughbred, down field threat due to his long stride and speed, think Calvin Johnson, Moss, with their speed down field. Gates is shifty, probably a very good player who can run the WR screen and is dangerous short passing game and screen game, and I believe he's a returner, Jets needed this kind of player, that is why they were interested in Demps IMO. I also think this is why they didn't keep White, White doesn't have Gates' kind of speed, that and Sparano knows this player well enough that he apparently wanted him on the team.
I kind of liken Gates' speed and ability to a McCluster of the Chiefs, or Sanders of the Steelers.