SANTA CLARA –
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.
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