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TE Jake Ballard Transcript

Posted Aug 5, 2011

Check out what TE Jake Ballard said in this afternoon's press conference.


Q: How did you react when you first heard about Kevin?

A: When I first heard, I was sad that he’s not coming back. We’re all going to miss him a lot; he’s a great player and a great guy. We’re all happy for him and we think he’ll do well.


Q: Does it open up possibilities for you guys?

A: With Kevin gone, there is a big void that needs to be filled. All those tight ends are trying their best to get better every day and we’ll see where it goes from there.


Q: How are things going for you this year? As a second-year player, are you more aware of what’s going on?

A: Absolutely. Being around here and being able to practice here allowed me to get buffed up and learn the plays and really learn the position. This year’s camp is a lot easier for me—more concentrating on the little things instead of assignments. That helped out a lot.


Q: What are the one or two most important things you learned from either watching or listening to Kevin?

A: Probably his work ethic. Kevin works hard and he’s smart. He knows what he’s doing every play, and just the way he approaches the game is probably what I took out of it the most.


Q: You’ve been known primarily as the blocker. Do you think you can make strides as a receiver as well?

A: I think so. I ran a lot of routes this off-season, trying to work on my speed and my cuts. I’m trying to be more of a two-way threat than just a blocking tight end, but I know that’s where I’m going to go on the team as a blocker and I’m going to have to keep trying to get better at both aspects of the game.


Q: Were you guys expecting Kevin to come back?

A: I kept in contact with Kevin, I talked to him every couple days. He really didn’t know; he never really gave us any inside info on anything. We tried to get it out of him, but it really wasn’t our business so we just supported him along the way and he went with what he thought was the best decision.


Q: At what point did you find out?

A: Coach Pope came in this morning and told us.