A lot of us have been wondering what the heck happened to Jacob Pedersen. He was a weapon last year for Russell Wilson and came into this season as one of the top tight ends in the country at least by reputation. But after five games Pedersen has barely made a dent for the Badgers. He’s disappeared from the offense for long stretches and, what’s worse, on those occasions when he has been targeted has often failed to secure the ball.
It’s more than just a matter of how Matt Canada has been using or not using Pedersen – and Pedersen admits the ball has been getting spread around a lot more than it was under Paul Chryst, which takes away some of his chances. In the end it’s not about targets, it’s about developing trust with the quarterback, so that when those chances come the QB will have the confidence to deliver the ball. And Pedersen admits he hasn’t developed that rapport yet with Joel Stave.
“There’s no reason for Stave to target us,” Pedersen said after pulling another disappearing act in the Nebraska game. “We don’t make the plays for him; we make him look bad. I wouldn’t throw to me either. So that’s got to be a trust level, he’s got to be able to trust me, so we’re working on it.”
Another thing Pedersen is working on? Drops. They’ve plagued Pedersen all year, and the tight end blames no one but himself for that. “As far as the drops, my coach took blame for stuff like ‘I’m not doing enough drills.’ I learned to catch when I was 3 years old, so it’s not on him at all. It’s just something I [need] to work on; I just got to get in more reps after practice, get on the jugs, things like that.”
At the end of the day, Pedersen said it’s all about re-establishing his old identity as a player, getting back to doing the things that made him one of the top receiving tight ends in the country. “My coach asked me on Sunday what I got to do, and I just said ‘be me.’ I’m trying to do be something I’m not, so I just … [need] to play and I think I’ll be fine.”
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