Like Magic

Using a combination of hardwork, film study and maybe a little abracadabra magic, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jared Abbrederis finds himself as the No.1 receiver in UW's spring camp.

MADISON - At this time last year, Jared Abbrederis was simply fighting for playing time.

A first-team all-state quarterback in high school that led tiny Wautoma to the WIAA Division 4 state championship, Abbrederis spent his redshirt season switching positions, doing so in order to have a chance at seeing the field.

Spending long hours working on route running and catching with Jon Budmayr paid off last March, as the duo became a camp story with their daily completions, usually for long gains with Abbrederis out running the secondary.

Now with senior Nick Toon out after foot surgery, Abbrederis is now fighting for the No.1 receiving role. Catching 20 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns last season, including a 74-yard catch-and-run from (who else?) Budmayr, Abbrederis has a year of experience and is ready to build on that production.

Badger Nation talks with Abbrederis about his change in seasons.

Badger Nation: After the year you had, can you talk about the evolution you've been through from walk-on to starter?

Abbrederis: Last year, I was fortunate enough to get a lot of reps in the spring and that set me up well for the fall. I was able to take advantage of most of the opportunities that I had. In fall camp, you had to do that same like spring, make all the plays you can. I was able to do that, get in some games, get some game experience and I think right now, that's really helped me because I have been there and done that. Now instead of working more on plays, I am working on the small details of my game, running more crisp routes and having good speed on my breaks. I am in a good spot right now.

Badger Nation: What's the biggest thing you learned after watching film of yourself last season?

Abbrederis: I think the biggest thing is that I need to be more physical. I will go in and hit, but I need to pack on some muscle and get a little bit stronger. I have got to do better when a defender presses me. I've got to be able to attack the defensive backs more.

Badger Nation: How does Nick Toon being out change the complexion of the spring for the receivers?

Abbrederis: It changes a lot because he is our go-to guy. It would be nice to have more people to get reps, but it's nice for the younger guys, too. We can step up and there will be more guys that can get opportunities. Hopefully Nick's rehab goes well and he can be back with us in the summer. It will be good for the young guys, but it hurts not having the experience out here.

Badger Nation: How are you approaching the spring, seeing as you will be getting a lot of repetitions and opportunities? What's the biggest thing you are trying to focus on?

Abbrederis: I just want to run crisp routes and attack from the snap of the ball. It's important to beat the DBs on every play, so I am trying to learn the little things to throw the DB off. Obviously, I want to catch everything and be a playmaker this spring.

Badger Nation: How do you think the quarterback position is going to change without Scott Tolzien here?

Abbrederis: It's really good that there are a lot of young guys there and some guys with experience. Curt (Phillips) has got some experience, but he is working on getting healthy. I feel real comfortable working with Jon (Budmayr). Joel Stave and Joe Brennan will be able to step up, make some plays and get a feel for how we go. I think it will be good for the competition for them and getting better.

Badger Nation: How did winter conditioning go for you personally and how did your body change?

Abbrederis: After last season, I lost a lot of weight just from the season and the grind of playing. I was able to put back some muscle. I didn't gain too much weight, but I got back to what I was (190) and I also feel I got more explosive and got some strength. I feel I have got some quickness that will be beneficial to me this spring.

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