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March 21, 2013Follow @JohnVeldhuis
MADISON - Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen hired tight ends coach Jeff Genyk barely more than two weeks ago, and days after Jay Boulware left the Badgers for the same job at Oklahoma. It was an unexpected move on both sides, but Genyk seems to have hit the ground running as the Badgers move through their first spring practices.
I met with Genyk for a few minutes after Monday's practice, and a question and answer session with him is included below.
Can you describe the call from Gary Andersen? How long did it take you to decide to come to Wisconsin?
Jeff Genyk: It was an interesting process. I was actually driving home from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco, got a call, and had a great conversation with coach Andersen. I was very excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the University of Wisconsin, and to be able to be back in the Midwest and back in the Big Ten near family and friends. Once he made the job offer it didn't take me very long to decide. It was something where I felt very fortunate and grateful for. I was really excited to accept the position and hit the ground running three days later.
What stands out to you about your tight ends so far?
JG: First of all, I think they have very good work ethic. They're very focused during meetings. They have great football intelligence. They have a lot of experience. They've adapted well to new terminology, similar schemes but new terminology. And they also are very much of a team as a unit. They understand that the better all eight tight ends are, the more depth we have and therefore everybody will have.
You'll obviously be coordinating the special teams too. What are your priorities for the group this year?
JG: I was able to play quarterback and punt in high school and college, so I have some idea of what it's like to be a specialist. What I'm trying to convey to those young men is the aspect that you can't [just] be results-oriented. You have to focus on the execution. And hopefully, through the months of training and that, they can focus on the execution in critical situations and pressure situations, and when adversity strikes. How do you respond? Hopefully I can instill a culture of great want-to, excitement, and having fun on special teams. Understanding how important field position is, big plays, momentum shifts. But more than anything, understanding that it really puts our team in a great position to have everyone involved.
In order to get a big return, you need to have 10 guys doing a great job blocking too. You look at the Baltimore Ravens' return in the Super Bowl, there was a lot of great blocking going on there. If you're able to focus on the execution in regards to blocking or tackling, or blocking a punt, those are the things that will get you the reward for all that effort and execution.
On the recruiting side of things, has Andersen assigned you specific recruiting territories yet and why were those areas selected?
JG: I will recruit Michigan, Northern Ohio, and the San Francisco Bay area. I grew up in Ann Arbor, and then I went to school in Ohio. My father was a 35-year head high school coach in Michigan. And then I used to be the head coach at Eastern Michigan so we recruited Michigan and Ohio greatly, and then I spent my last three years at Cal so we recruited the Bay Area and the central coast.
I'll probably be helping out in Chicago land because of my time at Northwestern. It's all about relationships and ties, and it also helps geographically to know where to go. You can be more efficient as far as logistics are concerned.
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