March 17, 2010

Abbrederis shines in early spring practices

MADISON - Early on in spring camp, no player on the Wisconsin football roster has made a bigger impact than redshirt freshman Jared Abbrederis. Whether he is catching deep balls thrown from Jon Budmayr or showcasing his track-like speed, Abbrederis is opening some eyes early on in camp.

At the conclusion of Tuesday's practice, caught up with the young wide receiver. The following is a question and answer with the walk-on from Wautoma, Wis.

Well, you've been making some headlines early on in camp. How does that make you feel?

Abbrederis: It's been a good couple of days. Obvioulsy it just didn't start now. It started this off-season with coach Ben Herbert and Jamil Walker and all our lifting coaches. Just getting in with Jon Budmayr in the offseason and running routes three days a week and just working on every small aspect of the game.

It's been a great first three days. I made some big plays and I made some good plays but I have to make sure that I focus on every little detail. That's the main thing right now.

Talk about that relationship with Jon. Is that just something that you guys came in and clicked like when you were working out during the offseason?

Abbrederis: I think in the offseason, when you've got a guy like Jon Budmayr who works really hard, he brought me in. We talked to each other and were like, let's go throw. So we would go in there and work together. I think that has something to do with it on the field. We can kind of have that trust. We know where each other is going to be on the field so that kind of helps out.

He's great quarterback. He goes through his No. 1 receiver, No. 2 and No. 3. It doesn't really matter, but I think it helps out a lot.

It helps when he can throw a great deep ball, too.

Abbrederis: Yeah, he's got a great arm. He can throw that a mile.

If you were to line up and do a 40-yard race with everyone on the team, where would you finish?

Abbrederis: I think I would be pretty high up there. I haven't really raced anyone here, but I know I've got speed. All the other guys do, too. We've got some great speed here at Madison.

That's just something you need as a wide receiver, obviously. It just helps you.

Abbrederis: Yeah, you need speed but you also need quickness too. That's another thing I'm working on. Isaac Anderson, he's a really quick guy. So just watching him play, that's something for me to work on.

Where does quickness come in? Is that just really in the first five yards? Can you beat a guy in the first five yards?

Abbrederis: I can sometimes, but obviously that's something I've got to work on because I used to be quarterback and now I switched to wide receiver, just getting used to getting off the line. Another way quickness helps is when you're on top of a route and you've got to do a comeback to get out of your route. That's something I'm trying to work on and just keep getting better at each day.

Talk about the transition from quarterback to wide receiver. How is that going for you? It's hard enough to go from high school to college.

Abbrederis: It was a tough transition right away, but I think now as the year has gone on I've gotten a lot better. Obviously there's a lot of smaller things I need to work on and still improve, but I think it's gotten a lot better since the beginning of the year.

The playbook and everything is coming along pretty well for you?

Abbrederis: Yup, there are some plays I've still got to study and be able to figure out. But for the most part I feel pretty confident when I go out there and lineup. So it's gotten a lot better especially with the spring ball. We have seven wide receivers so everybody is getting reps.

What is your philosophy on spring ball? Is it just a job interview so to speak where you can go out there and show your coaches what you can do and maybe get into the roatation?

Abbrederis: I think it's a great opportunity just to learn and get better and show the coaches what you have. Once fall comes they'll most likely have the guys that they're going to play so they'll need the reps. We'll still get some reps, but this is a great opportunity for us young guys to go out there and show what we have.

Do they kind of open everything up? You say everybody is getting a lot of reps, are they equal amounts of reps?

Abbrederis: Yeah, they do a really good job of getting guys in and getting guys out. Obviously we have a good group of wide receivers that are seniors so those guys are going to get the first reps and they're going to get a couple more. Coach DelVaughn Alexander has done a good job of getting us in and out and getting us all reps.

Just talk about what you're learning from some of these older guys like Nick Toon, Anderson, David Gilreath and Kyle Jefferson.

Abbrederis: They're all great role models for us younger guys to help us out. If we've got a question on a route or a play. They've been doing it for so long. They just work hard and I think that's a good tribute for us. We've just got to keep doing that.

I was reading somewhere, and this will go back to winter conditioning, that you like lifting weights. Is that one of your hobbies?

Abbrederis: I love to lift weights, just getting better and improving.

You must enjoy winter conditioning then.

Abbrederis: Yeah, it was a grind as the coaches say. It was good. Obviously every time that you go and you're working hard you are getting better. It's good to be there, especially with your team. You've got all your teammates there. It's kind of a bond there.

Is that were the chemistry of the team really starts?

Abbrederis: You know, obviously it's just not here on the field that you get chemistry. All offseason during lifting you've got guys pushing each other and getting better. We've got a great chemistry on our team here so that's another great thing that we have here at Madison.

Did you add any weight or anything? What's your current weight right now?

Abbrederis: Yeah, right now I'm at about 182 pounds. So I gained about six or seven pounds from the beginning of the year.

Are you trying to add more or are you comfortable with that?

Abbrederis: Yeah, hopefully. I want to be around 190 by fall. So hopefully this summer I'll be able to add more weight.

How hard is it to do that, adding weight in a healthy way?

Abbrederis: That's the toughest thing for me because when I gain weight it's pure muscle pretty much. Especially when we're running out here a lot it's hard to gain weight. Seven pounds is pretty good, but I want to keep adding weight and I just got to keep working hard.

I've read a lot of comparisons between you and Luke Swan. Is that fair? Did you follow Luke?

Abbrederis: I've followed Luke. He's a great guy. I met him and he's got great morals. He's a Godly man and I think just hard work will pay off. Obvioulsy I'm going to shoot to be the kind of receiver he was. I know the sky is the limit so I've just got to keep working hard, put the time in and just take advantage of every opportunity.

There is kind of a proud walk-on tradition here. You look even last year with Chris Maragos.

Abbrederis: Yeah, there are a lot of great guys that came through here both scholarship and walk-on. So it's a great tradition and I'm just privileged to be here.

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