Starter or Bust

With his sole goal of starting and winning a lot of games at the University of Wisconsin, junior quarterback Danny O'Brien addresses the media for the first time on Wednesday following the Badgers' third practice of fall camp.

Danny O'Brien profile

How are your approaching this quarterback competition?

DOB: I am just really focused on executing every play and letting all the rest take care of itself.

How early were you able to get the hands on the playbook and what was the learning process like for you?

DOB: I didn't get it until fall camp, but it's been good. You work hard at it and for me, it was just getting down the different terminology. You learn a lot of the same things from two years ago at Maryland, the pro-style stuff and those reads. Coach Canada is a great coach and really detailed-oriented guy. He challenges you and makes it a lot easier.

How much different is what you will be running this year compared to Maryland?

DOB: It's pretty different from last year being the spread-zone reads. This (offense) is probably more two years ago at Maryland. I think both of them just helped me in terms understand a lot of different ways to play football. I am glad I am back into this (type of offense) though.

How would you describe your play to fans?

DOB: I am a pro-style guy. I am going to be prepared every Saturday. Pass first (but) I can make plays with my feet. Playing in the zone-read (offense) last year has helped me run a little more … Getting it to my playmakers is my first approach.

Was this summer enlightening for you to be able to study at your own pace, work with the guys and spend time in the film room?

DOB: I think so. Kind of getting the chemistry down and talking about different bits and pieces of the offense all summer. Kind of putting the picture in your head mentally and then coming out here and actually executing in such a short amount of time, it has been real enlightening. It's a challenge that I embrace. I have done some good things through three days, but so has everyone else. I just have to keep getting better every day.

What was it like to pick the brain of Curt Phillips over the summer, being he is the senior man of the group?

DOB: Curt is a great guy. We're great friends off the field. It was really invaluable to kind of pick his brain. Not just about the playbook, because it's a new playbook for everyone (more so for me than them), but just what's it like to be a quarterback here at Wisconsin.

After all you went through last year and being able to work with the guys this summer, do you feel you are in a good spot being here?

DOB: I really do. I've been blessed to fall into this position, competing with several great quarterbacks. Just being at a great school with great people in a great city, running an offense that I personally think fits my style of play and being around a lot of great guys makes it really fun to come to work every day. I am really blessed to fall here of all places.

What's it like living with Travis Frederick? He's a really smart guy who knows what he's talking about, so what's it like getting a chance to talk football with him?

DOB: He's a lot like me. He could talk football all day. He's a really smart kid in the classroom and on the field. One of the leaders on this team, so living with him has been great. He's a guy you could talk football with forever and a brilliant guy. So I've learned a lot from him.

In the short time you have been here, how do you approach being your own player after what Russell Wilson did last year?

DOB: (The comparisons) are obviously going to happen because it's a similar circumstance, but I am just going to be myself, which I know how to be. It really hasn't crossed my mind all that much just because I am here working with the guys and that really hasn't come up. It is what it is.

What has it been like working with the wide receivers and have you developed that go-to guy yet?

DOB: Obviously (Jared Abbrederis) has the most playing experience, but with the young group that we have it's unique. We have a lot of competition going on right now, so guys are really stepping up how they are playing. It's bringing the whole unit together. Some guys are going to emerge over the next couple weeks. There is a lot of talent there. Time will tell who is going to step up. I think the competition has been good for all the receivers.

Matt Canada said yesterday you have experience playing in college games. How much do you think that factors into this quarterback competition?

DOB: I am not really trying to rely on that. I really want to play as good as I can right here, right now. It has some value being out there in front of big crowds and … executing. My focus isn't on anything else but just going out every day, running the plays I do get and running them as well as I can.

How has strength coach Ben Herbert changed your body going through his summer program? How has your weight changed and your mobility changed?

DOB: It's been unbelievable. I played at 205 last year and I am probably 226 right now, so 15-to-20 pounds. I kept my speed. We had a great strength program at Maryland, but here his top of the line. Everything from arm strength, keeping the speed up, putting on good weight, I feel as good as I ever have in my whole career.

Through three practices, what do you feel different with your body?

DOB: I just feel better as an overall athlete, being heavier, stronger, faster, stronger arm. Picking up with the offense (Maryland) ran two years ago and trying to pick off from where I left off there and get better from that has been good, too.

You said about the competition that you are going to compete at every level, no matter where you are, but is safe to say your goal is the starting job and that you aren't thinking about the backup?

DOB: Absolutely. I think that's got to be on the mind of every quarterback here. We are all competitors (and) I am no exception. I want to start here, I want to win games here and I want to win a lot of games here. That's my goal.

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