By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 11:14 pm in Oakland Raiders.
A transcription of a conference call with Jared Veldheer, the Raiders’ third-round draft pick:
Q: You visited with Al Davis, what was that like?
Veldheer: It was a great honor to be able to meet a football legend like Mr. Davis. To be able to meet with the guy who put the league where it is today was a very special thing. He had said that he watched my tape and liked the way he played. He discussed with me how he wants to win another Super Bowl. I told him I’m definitely on board with that and I’d love to help the team out.
Q: When did you know you were going to Raiders?
Veldheer: It was when I got that call, when Coach Cable gave me the call there. It definitely felt right. The visit I had out to Oakland went very well. The workout I had at Hillsdale with Coach Michalczik went very well as well. All the signs pointed toward Oakland I’m really glad it worked out. I’m really excited to be an Oakland Raider.
Q: When was visit to Oakland and how long was the meeting with Al Davis?
Veldheer: I was able to sit down and talk to him for about 20 minutes.
Q: When was visit?
Veldheer: It was a week and a half ago.
Q: When did it sink in that you might become an NFL player?
Veldheer: It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NFL. So, going into college that was something that I still had my sights on. There’s a guy from our league that had gone (pro) and been drafted in the fourth round by the Eagles, been playing well with the Eagles. That was my goal was to make it to that next level. As every year developed and went on, I kept getting better, I kept getting stronger and faster, and that dream became a reality, especially that junior year. I had a very good season and a good Junior Day. Then this season went well, everything leading up to the draft, the combine, the all-star game, everything went awesome. Ending it tonight with Oakland picking me with that 69th pick in the draft, it’s been an unbelievable journey and it’s an unbelievable start to my next chapter in life. I’m very excited for it.”
Q: Were you recruited by any Division I schools, or just D-II schools Hillsdale and Michigan?
Veldheer: Yeah, I was recruited by Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue. But, I was part of a Wing-T offense in high school and finished my career playing center. So, maybe that’s how I was able to fall through the cracks, be overlooked. But I ended up at Hillsdale. My brother played basketball there, graduated in 2001, so I was already familiar with the school. It’s a great school academics-wise, a great team, great football coaches and it was a great fit for the last 4 ½ years.
Q: What kind of offense did you run at Hillsdale?
Veldheer: Yeah, we ran a lot of pretty much any multi-formational single-back offense. We didn’t do a whole lot of two-back stuff. But we would go spread, double-tight, out of a one-back formation, a lot of inside-zone.
Q: Colts O-line coach and former 49er Howard Mudd went to Hillsdale. Have you met him?
Veldheer: Yeah, actually I got a chance to meet coach Mudd a couple of years ago. He came in to Hillsdale, talked with the coaches and did a little clinic. I was able to be a part of that and talk to him a little bit. He gave me a little insight into what to expect in the future and how to get to that next level. He’s talked to us before a few games and he’s a great part of Hillsdale football.”
Q: Are you comfortable in a zone blocking scheme?
Veldheer: Yeah, I’m very comfortable with outside zone, inside zone. We used to do a lot of counter stuff. Not so much this year, but the way we block our counter is pretty much how teams block power. So, I’m pretty familiar, pretty comfortable with how those run-blocking schemes work.
Q: How much did it help you shining in those all-star games?
Veldheer: Oh, it was a great opportunity to prove that (I belonged). I think that almost helped me even more than the combine, being able to go there and show them that I belong at that game and that I belong at the next level.
Q: Looking forward to lining up against Seymour in practice?
Veldheer: “Yeah, absolutely. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to start the hard work as a Raider, that’s for sure.