With the bye weekend and much to the chagrin of my wife Kim, I decided to do a football ‘Road Trip'…
Conrad Seizes Opportunity
ASU followers will remember the glimpses of solid play the then walk-on he had displayed last season, which still didn't allow him to be heavy in the rotation . The Gilbert High product, who also attended Scottsdale Community College, started fall camp playing well until a concussion sidelined him for a few weeks, thus negating the progress he had made.
"It was really hard just trying to find my way back to the spot that I wanted to be, the spot I felt I should be," he recalled. "But we have so many great tight ends here, all pushing each other to do the best. Whoever coach decided to play, we can't argue with him. You definitely have to be patient, but we're all trying to help out each other. The tight ends as a group is a great group of guys."
Conrad's performance against Washington State last weekend, was the proverbial mixed bag of goods. His 3-yard TD catch was instrumental in the team's comeback win, and his career game of four catches for 36 yards was naturally satisfying to him.
"I really feel proud of myself. For the first time I went the distance in a game," he noted. "It was a lot of fun having my family there seeing my first touchdown...It was nice to have my name finally in the record books." He added that he feels that he staff views him more of a blocker than a receiving tight end, which suits him just fine.
Speaking of that blocking, to say that Conrad and the offensive line had a hard time picking up the Cougar blitzes would be an understatement. How does he feel the team needs to remedy the situation? "We just got to pick them up. We got to be more visual, communicate with everybody," he replied, "let everyone around us see what we see. It's nothing that we haven't done before. As long as we pick them up, communicate, we should be fine."
While the tight end agreed that playing in a game can teach you better than film, how and when the opponent will blitz, the film will still reveal tendencies that also help immensely in game preparation. He added that many of the blitzes Washington employs will be the same a Washington State's and that will naturally help the offense in its preparations and desire to improve.
Much of his success Conrad credits to Miller who has been invaluable in the film room breaking down tape, as well as (together with brother Zach Miler last year) explaining the tempo of play and the detail. "They basically helped me knowing what I needed to do before I got out there, and doing it during the game. I tried not to think about the pressure of this game. I try to treat every game like it's the same.
He acknowledged that any rapport he has with signal caller Rudy Carpenter, is simply a result of exhibiting your skills. "After you get that first catch, and he sees that you're actually know what you're doing – you're getting open, you're getting in the right spots…I think he felt confident in me," Conrad explained.
The dramatic road win in Pullman, and the 6-0 record, naturally breeds confidence in Conrad and the rest of the maroon and gold. Taking the opponent lightly is never entertained in the locker room, especially now when the enormity of the next game speaks for itself.
"This week is obviously very big for us, and I think the O-Line is well prepared and ready to go," he claimed. "We want to go 7-0, continue our streak…the Huskies, although they haven't had a good season so far, are a very good team that can get the job done. We can't slow down on these guys, they're definitely gonna be a tough contender."
The bye week following this contest will be welcomed, but not thought of until after the contest. "You can't look a week ahead no matter what's going on, even if it's a bye week. You have to wait and see what's coming up on Saturday," said Conrad. "When Sunday rolls around, we can start relaxing, coaching back a little…I don't think any of us really look at the schedule. We just now who we have this week, keep the focus and the tunnel vision."
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