Coach Interviews

Coach’s Corner: Alan Hensell on Matt Weiser

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The Chargers did a full-scale renovation of the tight end position this offseason. Gone are Ladarius Green, John Phillips and David Johnson, three veterans who played an average of 539 snaps apiece last season (Antonio Gates, for comparison, played just 496). The Chargers filled the void with second-round pick Hunter Henry and New York export Jeff Cumberland, but there is still room for another developmental player with Gates nearing the end of his illustrious career and Cumberland on a one-year deal.

One rookie to keep an eye on is Matt Weiser, a Buffalo product and Henry’s mini camp roommate.

After going undrafted, Weiser quietly joined the Chargers following a dominant senior season in the Mid-American Conference. Weiser finished his senior season with 63 catches (12 more than Henry) for 625 yards and three touchdowns, setting a new school record for receptions by a tight end. His stellar showing was enough to earn All-MAC First Team honors.

SDBoltReport.com spoke with Buffalo tight ends coach Alan Hensell to find out more about what Weiser brings to the Chargers.

“He is a very smart guy. He picks up anything you tell him one time and he can really translate what you do in the classroom or the meeting room right onto the field,” Hensell said. 

Hensell is correct about Weiser’s intelligence, too; Weiser is the first Buffalo player in the FBS era to be an Academic All-American.

The Chargers saw the injury bug plague their roster last year. If it continues to wreak havoc in 2016, it would be a blessing to have a quick study like Weiser waiting in the wings.

Weiser wasn’t always a standout for Buffalo, mind you. In his first three years with the Bulls, he reeled in a combined total of just 29 receptions before exploding in his senior season for the school-record 63. Coach Hensell explained exactly why Weiser made such a significant leap forward.

“He was one of the first guys that we, as an offensive staff, noticed as being a weapon for us,” Hensell said. “He is such a big target and he catches the ball so well, that we had to find a way to get him the ball in every way possible. Short throws, down the field throws, whatever it may be, we knew we had to give him so many targets a game. He was able to stay healthy and he got a lot of catches throughout the season, with only one or maybe two drops all year.“

Hensell is proud of what Weiser accomplished with Buffalo and is excited to see how he adjusts to life with the Chargers. Like any great coach, Hensell simply wants to see his players improve and explained exactly what Weiser needs to improve on to succeed in San Diego.

“Continuous physical blocking at the point of attack,” Hensell said. “I don’t want to say that Matt was not physical, I just think it’s important he keeps a consistent pad level because he is going to be going against the best of the best defensive ends in the country, and in the world, on a week-to-week basis.”

Weiser will compete with Sean McGrath and Asante Cleveland for the No. 4 tight end position.

About Jesse Cohen

Jesse Cohen graduated from the University of California, San Diego, where he received his B.S. in Physics. This background helps Jesse to find insight through a statistically comprehensive and analytical view of the topics he covers. When he's not covering sports, he plays professional ultimate for the San Diego Growlers.

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