December 24, 2009

Dippel making progress at defensive end

MADISON - For Tyler Dippel, it has been a bit of a rough year. In fall camp, he nicked up his knee. Then, during Iowa preparation, he suffered two broken bones in his hand. Now, with a club on his right hand, Dippel is focused on getting better heading into next season.

At the conclusion of a recent practice, caught up with the defensive lineman. The following is a question and answer with Dippel.

How has the season gone for you and your development?

Dippel: It's been a rough season starting off with a knee injury during the summer and then during the Iowa week hurting my hand. But, I think the adversity and overcoming those things has really just made me stronger mentally and physically.

Getting in here in the weight room and the strength and conditioning staff, Herb (Ben Herbert) and Jamil (Walker) has really helped me a lot. Just all the player, O'Brien Schofield and J.J. Watt, just giving me tips on how to play a new position. I didn't play that in high school.

So coming here and learning all the new forks. Coach Charlie Partridge is great. He's really helped me a lot. I think I'm really coming along. Working down on the scout team has built my confidence every single day. Going against one of the best offensive lines in the nation has really helped me develop as a player.

When they told you that you were going to defensive line, were you welcome to that? Or was it something that you were like, Oh…?

Dippel: I was totally welcome to whatever. I just wanted to get in and play.

You hit on it a little bit, but what's the hardest thing about playing a new position? Especially at this level?

Dippel: You're just used to so many different things. Linebacker is such a free ranging position, you know, you're usually just running full speed at places and there's not a lot of discipline in the position. Defensive end is a lot of discipline. You keep contain, keep your gap and a lot of new techniques. Footwork, of course, coming out of your three point and using your hands. I think all those things are different and new to me, but I think I've done a pretty good job and I've had a lot of people helping me.

Did you break your hand in practice?

Dippel: Yeah, I broke it in practice. I think it was the second day of the Iowa week. It was just kind of a freak accident. I got pulled down from behind, put my hand down and twisted it around.

It's your hand and not your wrist or anything?

Dippel: Yeah, it was just a two metacarpal fracture.

So you knew right away that it was bad?

Dippel: I knew pretty quick when I couldn't squeeze my hand. I just went over and at first I told them let's tape it up. But they said no, let's go get an X-Ray. So we got it X-Rayed and it turned out there were two bones broken.

Is there any talk at all of moving you to defensive tackle or are they pretty set at having you at defensive end?

Dippel: I really don't know. Right now, it doesn't matter to me, I just want to play. Wherever they need me I'll go.

Just talk about getting to play behind guys like J.J. and especially O'Brien. He's been here forever and he's had a heck of a year.

Dippel: It's great to watch. You are just learning new things every single day, especially with him and coach Partridge. He's a genius with coming up with new moves. I just think that I really need to focus on what they are teaching us and really soak it up. I think I've done a pretty good job of that so far.

Do you have pretty good strike off the ball?

Dippel: I do, actually. I've really been working on that and the strength and conditioning staff have really helped with my strength and things like that.

Have you added weight or anything?

Dippel: I was up to around 255. When the team got sick I lost a lot of weight from that. But I'm back up to about 250 now, so I'm just hoping to keep going up.

Playing defensive end do you want to kind of keep it lean?

Dippel: You know what, I want to get as big as I can. I want to be as fast as I can. If it ends up with me moving to defensive tackle, then so be it. It's just however my body develops.

What kind of mindset does that take if you're going to add weight and do it right?

Dippel: Exactly. If you're going to do it you've got to do it right. I think our strength staff really knows how to do it right.

You're probably doing more Wisconsin vs. Miami stuff right now, but for a time there was a lot of Wisconsin vs. Wisconsin stuff. Was that pretty fun for you? Especially being on scout team.

Dippel: It was a blast. I just wanted to show the coaches what I had and really get ready for next year. We were really doing a lot of developmental stuff. Just getting to go out there and play, and to have the coaches have all eyes on you is a great feeling. I like to step up to that challenge.

Is this kind of a start for you younger guys moving into next year?

Dippel: I think it's a very big start for us and I think there are going to be great things to come for this defensive line.

Do you feel like you can break into the rotation? Are the coaches telling you that you could break into the rotation?

Dippel: You know, I'm just hoping for the best.

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