December 20, 2010

Jean developing nicely

MADISON - It's no secret that the Wisconsin coaching staff likes recruiting South Florida. If you look at the current roster a number of key contributors hail from the area.

From guys like Aaron Henry and Antonio Fenelus to Kevin Claxton and Zach Brown[/db], there have been a number of Floridians helping the Badgers toward success.

Though he's been working on improving his craft this season, Peniel Jean is yet another player hoping to keep the Florida pipeline of success functioning. At the conclusion of a recent practice, caught up with Jean. The following is the latest question and answer in our continuing bowl prep series.

Now that you've spent a full regular season on campus has it been everything you've thought it would be? Better? Worse?

Jean: It's a lot better. It's something where I wasn't used to the environment with all these people, but it's pretty good. I've loved it here so far.

Did you blend in pretty easily with the guys?

Jean: I had no problems since my official visit. I've loved everybody on the team and once I came in they all welcomed and helped me.

How are you progressing as a player?

Jean: Really good. Coach Chris Ash, he's on you with everything. If you do anything good or bad he's right behind you 100 percent. He's there for you.

Talk about your first practice in fall camp. Obviously you're up here for the summer doing workouts and stuff, but that first practice in fall camp. Maybe even the first two-a-day might be better.

Jean: No, it was really rough. I wasn't used to the tempo and it was pretty hot. Everything was full speed so you just had to be on point and do everything right.

You look at the roster at cornerback and you look at a guy like Niles Brinkley and Antonio Fenelus, what have they been teaching you as far as a young guy?

Jean: Everything. They just told me to make sure I work everyday since I'm redshirting, so take advantage of it because I'm going against the ones every day in practice. Make sure I get in and watch film and try to get better every day.

What was it like grappling with that decision to redshirt. I'm sure in high school you were playing all the time and then you come up here and aren't able to play. What was that like?

Jean: I had no problem. I knew it was going to take time here. It's about progressing and getting better every day. I had no problem coming in and redshirting. I just have to get better every day.

Is that something that you maybe suggested to the coaches? You knew you were going to do it the whole time?

Jean: I didn't know. I just came in and tried to play my hardest and whatever they decided I agreed with them.

Were you able to get into the weight room a little bit? What's your weight at right now?

Jean: (Laughing) I don't want to talk about the weight, but I'm up there. I gained a lot of weight. I'm about 190 or 191. A lot of muscle and right weight. Coach Ben Herbert is on us everyday.

Is that where you want to be? Is that a good playing weight?

Jean: Yes. Right there, I don't want to gain any more weight. We're hitting the weight room like every day so it's heavy weight. I will gain weight eventually.

Obviously Badger fans up here haven't gotten to see you play a whole lot. Describe your game a little bit. What do you bring to the table?

Jean: I'm more physical and I like to run and touch all the receivers. I don't like to give them much room. I'm more of a physical cornerback.

Is that something you're comfortable with, obviously just getting up there and jamming guys?

Jean: Yes. I love to tackle, too. I'm more of an aggressive person so anything really.

What about the speed? If you line everybody up on the team right now maybe in the secondary where are you finishing in a 40-yard race?

Jean: 40 yards? I'd probably say third.

Behind who?

Jean: I don't really know, they're all fast. Antonio is fast, Niles is fast and Devin Smith is fast. Everybody is fast. I don't have a specific order.

The big news going on is that Dave Doeren is moving on to Northern Illinois where he got the head job. You've only been around for a year, but what did you learn from him and what was the reaction like when you found out he was moving on?

Jean: I was kind of shocked and surprised. I wanted him to be here all four years, but he has to move on and he's helping his family out. I know coach Bret Bielema is going to bring in somebody really good so I have no problem about that and no doubt about who he's bringing in.

What did coach Doeren say when he made the announcement to you guys?

Jean: He just said that he's going to finish through the Rose Bowl and that he's not going to leave us. He's going to be with us 100 percent. He told us to make sure we love Wisconsin.

You got to go into that gift suite. What did you come out with?

Jean: That was rough. I was choosing between an XBOX, TV and the surround sound. I ended up choosing the TV.

How big was it?

Jean: Twenty-two inch flat screen. It was really thin so I loved it.

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