Used to dropping back, Abbrederis steps up

Jared Abbrederis led Wisconsin in receptions last Saturday and finished second in receiving yards. Given opportunities with Nick Toon and David Gilreath injured, Abbrederis figures to stick in the wide out rotation for the rest of the season.

MADISON — It is pronounced Abra-Dare-Is.

Learn it. Memorize it. Show it off to your friends against Arizona State Saturday.

Because Wisconsin redshirt freshman and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis is not just a flash in the pan. Leading the team in catches against San Jose State last Saturday and finishing second in receiving yards, the native of Wautoma, Wis. figures to factor in the Badgers receiving core for a long time.

With Nick Toon sidelined for the foreseeable future with a toe injury and David Gilreath out at least a game after suffering a concussion that left him motionless on the field, Abbrederis was not only given playing time Saturday, he was given an opportunity to make an impact.

He made the most of it.

"I don't think guys were too much surprised because of the way he has gotten in here. The work ethic that he has and the attention to detail … it paid off," Tolzien said.

"That is what all those reps are for, building a comfort level with everyone."

"In the summer he was out here more then anyone else, just throwing and catching. His attention to detail really made a difference and raised the confidence level everyone else had in what he was doing."

Abbrederis needed the extra work during the summer, because from day one he has been playing catch up to learn a position of catching balls instead of delivering them. In high school, Abbrederis lined up under center as the quarterback in an option offense, and the only chance he had to catch a ball was the rare interception when he played free safety.

Even last season, Abbrederis was still getting reps at QB, as the Badgers used him on the scout team against Wofford — which runs an option offense — and to get a feel for Michigan's spread attack.

"Going to high school from wide receiver to wide receiver is tough enough, but then switching positions it was really tough," Abbrederis said. "It just took a lot of hard work, and I am feeling comfortable."

"A lot of stuff you just get over time, being at the position and getting in games. That is the important thing. Practice is a little different then games. Just getting that game experience is really good."

"It is not an easy transition," wide receiver's coach DelVaughn Alexander added. "It is more mental. He was always saying he is going to get this done and he has done that since he came over to wide receiver."

With all the work he has put in, Abbrederis has earned the trust of both Tolzien and Alexander.

And while the transition from drop backs to route running cannot be easy, it has had its own benefits as well. Abbrederis might line up out wide, but he still thinks about the game like a quarterback.

"Because I was a quarterback I had to know every position," Abbrederis said. "So at wide receiver, it helps knowing where all the other wide receivers are going to be on each route. Stuff like, whether I should go high or go low. It helps out a lot."

Although Abbrederis play in an option offense in high school, he estimated they still threw the ball 10-15 times a game. Abbrederis finished his senior season with 1,657 yards passing and 19 touchdowns.

He said his arm is still in fine working condition.

All of which leads to the question, is there any chance offensive coordinator Paul Chryst has a wide receiver pass saved up his sleeve for a special occasion?

Even if the question doesn't bring a definitive answer, it at least raises a smile on Abbrederis' face.

"Anything could happen. I am not positive, but I would look forward to it," Abbrederis said. "That would be fun."

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