Fifth-year senior tight end Ben Guidugli had a pretty good year in 2009 putting up 27 catches for 364 yards and three touchdowns in the former coach’s pass-heavy offense. While Butch Jones runs a spread offense as well, he has more of an emphasis on the running game, making Guidugli’s blocking skills more valuable this season.
“I’m being utilized a little different than last year, there are some similarities, but we’re working more on the execution of the blocks,” Guidugli said. “I’m in different positions in some formations than I was last year, so I’m learning just like everyone else. But it’s coming along good and I think I’m in a pretty good spot in this offense this year.
Guidugli said that this year he is being used more like an H-back, where sometimes he will be lined up on the line and other times a step or two back from the line and sometimes split out wide.
The senior said that he enjoys all of the attention being paid to the wide receivers.
“I love our receivers, that makes my job easier,” Guidugli said. “You have to worry about Armon (Binns), you have to worry about Vidal (Hazelton), you have to worry about D.J. (Woods), you have to worry about (Isaiah) Pead running the ball, you have to worry about Zach (Collaros) running the ball. I’m just a little part piece of the puzzle. They all make my job easier so I love them.
“I just come out here everyday and do my job and when the game comes around I just play my part. If the ball comes my way I’ll make a play. If I have to run a certain route to get another guy open, I’ll do that, I have to make a block I’ll to that. That’s how we win games around here.”
Being in the program for five years, Guidugli says he has embraced a leadership role with not just the tight ends, but the whole team. Several times during practice he has been seen working with backup tight end Adrien Robinson, talking about recognizing coverages and what to do in certain situations.
“When you’re not in you have to be taking mental reps.,” Guidugli said. “When I’m in there with the ones and I come out I’m watching the twos because I want to see what look and coverage they’re getting so I can get that rep and help that guy that’s out there who maybe hasn’t had as much experience as me. It helps me and Adrien (Robinson). I’m just trying to help out.”
Guidulgi’s multiple talents have caught the eye of some NFL scouts where they project him as more of a fullback or H-back, a Chris Cooley-type. While he says the NFL is always in the back of his mind, Guidugli says his focus remains squarely on the team and making the most of this upcoming season.
“If you have a passion to do this, going to the NFL is always in the back of your mind,” Guidugli said. “When I’m taking extra reps I’m thinking about the NFL, but when you come out here (on the practice field)it’s all about winning, it’s about the team.”
While a team guy, Guidugli has been known to do a little good-natured trash talking on the field, so when asked who his favorite person to trash talk with on the team, he picked the biggest guy on the defense.
“On the defense, probably Derek Wolfe because he’s huge,” Guidugli says laughing. “I’m down in the trenches most of the time so I like to talk to big Wolfe and get him going.”
Guidugli says he is having a little more fun in his final year at Cincinnati and is trying to appreciate every moment.p>
“I’m really enjoying this last camp. It can be a grind sometimes, but I’m just trying to make the most of it and have fun,” Guidugli said. “I’ve been out here smiling a lot more than before, trying to get guys riled up. It’s my last time, I’ve been here a long time and I love this place. I love Cincinnati. I’m just trying to cherish this last year and make the absolute most out of it because we have the team that can go as far as we want to go.”