Experience Under Center

With no incumbent quarterback, Wisconsin and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst are looking for a new signal caller to lead the Badgers. That man could be redshirt sophomore Jon Budmayr, who is healthy and looking to build off his time under center last season.

MADISON - For the first time in two seasons, Wisconsin has a question mark under center. For the first time since coming to Madison, redshirt sophomore Jon Budmayr is heading into spring camp with no ailments, rips or tears. Needless to say, the position is there for him for the taking.

The backup to senior quarterback Scott Tolzien last year, Budmayr is the only quarterback in spring camp with any game experience but instead of having his eyes set on the starting job, Budmayr is focused solely on taking advantage of every practice, every repetition he is given.

A healthy Budmayr talks to Badger Nation about his growth heading into his third spring practice.

Badger Nation: You had been waiting a long time to get on the field and having finally done so last year, how valuable were those game reps that you received?

Budmayr: It was very valuable. Anytime you can get game experience, I think it was benefit you down the road. Whether you are in grade school, college level or professional level, that game experience really helps you understand the game, the speed of the game. Not only that but off the field, going through the experience with Scott Tolzien and the preparation before the game, putting those two things together are valuable.

Badger Nation: You probably knew sometime last fall that this spring was going to be your time, especially with Tolzien being gone and Curt Phillips out with an injury. Is the mindset of being the starting quarterback the thought process you approached this spring with and that you have to get your game to that level?

Budmayr: That's the situation that we are in and that's what's going on. At the same time, my mindset hasn't changed since the first spring I came here, which going out every day, getting better and trying to improve from day to day. Really, the competition lies within myself. If you can come out each day and improve for your teammates, you are doing your job.

Badger Nation: Many people take their healthy for granted, but I am assuming that last year was one of the best years health wise you had in a long time. Every time I talked to you, you never had a serious injury that kept you out for a long period of time. Am I accurate and how much does that mean to you?

Budmayr: You are and it means a lot. I was very fortunate that God blessed me to stay healthy all last year. It's been so good so far and that's been the key to this sport. If you can stay healthy, you can be on the field. I have done plenty in the weight room with the strength coaches to help me out for this spring to keep me healthy and to stay on the field. I was blessed last year and now I just want to keep it going.

Badger Nation: People naturally get leery when a quarterback has a shoulder or elbow injury and you had both. How did all of that make you stronger to where you could throw the ball as strong as you did last fall and in games?

Budmayr: There were certain things that with the strength program, they can cater to what your issues are and make them strengths, not weaknesses. With those things, I took what they told me and made it a strength. They made me smarter, too, just to know the amount of reps I am taking in practice. You want to get enough in that you are ready to go but at the same time, you don't want to be throwing 500 balls. You've got to be smart with it.

Badger Nation: Have you turned in to a big weight room guy?

Budmayr: I have. I have always loved the weight room ever since I started in eight grade when my dad finally let me go in. I just love getting bigger and stronger and nobody is going to help me more than our strength coaches. Coach Bott does a tremendous job in every aspect of getting us ready to go.

Badger Nation: You don't look that much bigger, but it seems that you are carrying yourself better. What did this winter do for you in terms of you getting ready for spring football?

Budmayr: Really, this winter I wanted to put on a little weight and I did, probably about 10 pounds. I feel better proportioned. As a quarterback, you don't need to be real bulky up top. One of the things I focused on was legs and butt, just getting those stronger because that's where a lot of the torque will come from when you throw. Arm strength and core is important, but that comes along with all the different lifts you do. The big thing was gaining strength, not really putting on a whole bunch of bulk, and that's what I did this winter.

Badger Nation: A lot of people think you have to be a tall guy to play quarterback, but how is your size an advantage to you playing behind this big offensive line the last couple years?

Budmayr: Well, God blessed me with my height and I truly look at this as a blessing. Being around those big offensive linemen, you never are throwing over somebody. You are always throwing in between people and finding windows. That can be to my advantage sometimes because defensive backs won't always seem me and don't see where the ball is coming out. If I can do that, I can be fine.

Badger Nation: Is there anything this spring that worries you or are you pretty confident of where you are heading into your third spring?

Budmayr: I feel very confident and ready to go. Like I said, taking advantage of each day and each rep I get is so valuable. Really, it's getting better each day and it makes me excited. For me, it's the most important spring because it's this spring. Last spring was the most important because it was last spring. It's taking advantage of what's in front of you and right now, I am in a good situation where I can get a bunch of reps and get experience from that. My mindset is no different than any of the previous camps.

Badger Nation: Lastly, how do you approach the vacant starting job?

Budmayr: I really don't even look at it. It's ultimately up to the coaches and the best guy will play. That's what great about this game and being on a good team, it's about supporting that guy. Whoever it ends up being, it means that's what's best for our team and that's how we are going to be successful. Really, all I can control is coming out here, being consistent, playing well and we'll go from there.

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