Notes: A Spring in his Step

Starting spring practices on Saturday and beginning to put his imprint on the Wisconsin football program, head coach Gary Andersen likes what his players have done on their own to prepare them for the next seven weeks.

MADISON - With the amount of changes that will be implemented around the Wisconsin football program heading into the 2013 season, Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen and his staff, per NCAA rules, put a lot of pressure on the returning players to handle the new playbook and schedule on their own.

As spring practice opens Saturday, Andersen couldn't be happier with how his core group of players has prepared themselves for this-seven week window.

"The young men in our program have done a tremendous job of wrapping their arms around the offensive and defensive schemes," said Andersen, "and they're very hungry to learn and excited to get out on the practice field."

The scheme of Wisconsin's offense is not expect to undergo major changes, but that's not the case for the defense. Expecting to transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, Andersen will made the cornerbacks to play more man coverage compared to zone coverage UW has implemented in the past.

"There's the challenge to walk in and play man coverage and be into those positions is a big challenge," said Andersen. "How much we can do of that and how much we can handle, we'll see as we move through spring."

The other defensive area Andersen wanted to see was the communication between the linebackers, as players will be moving between four-down linemen and three-down linemen and have to adjust to different concepts.

On offense, Andersen knows he needs more out of a wide receiver group with only one proven playmaker (senior Jared Abbrederis) and a bunch of supporting cast members that weren't consistent at any point during the season.

"We want to make plays in all three areas of the passing game," said Andersen. "We want to find a way to get to all three zones. We want to throw the ball, and we want to catch the ball. They're going to have to get off of man coverage. They're going to have to understand how to be physical out there. They're very physical in their blocking. Now you get a guy up in your face in man coverage, it's a little different animal."

And of course, quarterbacks was Andersen's biggest area he'll be watching for, but doesn't plan to name a starter until the fall after junior college signee Tanner McEvoy is on campus and has a chance to compete for the job.

Injuries Sack Budmayr

After missing the last two seasons with a variety of injuries, including his elbow and his hip, redshirt senior Jon Budmayr will spend this season as a student-coach, taking the same route that Jordan Kohout did after he has to quit football because of migraines.

"He's excited about it, and so are we," said Andersen about Budmayr. "It's a tremendous opportunity for young men who want to turn around and coach one day. So he'll use that window of opportunity."

A former three-star high school player out of Illinois and the No.69 quarterback in the 2009 recruiting class, Budmayr has been with Wisconsin since January 2009. He played in three games for the Badgers in 2010 as Scott Tolzien's backup, completing 8 of 10 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown.

Quotable

On the quarterbacks

"I want to see 15 consecutive consistent practices. That's important for us. I want to see tremendous effort out of all the positions but at the quarterback position, it's important to be great effort mentally every day and great effort physically every day.

"At the quarterback position, you want to see leadership. I want to see someone who's going to break the huddle, and I want to see those five offensive linemen's eyes and say, I know you got it. If you do your job, I know you're going to take care of business."

"And one that can absorb the scheme, and we can adjust the scheme around the talents of the quarterback that we see is going to take the majority of the snaps in the fall. There's a lot to that position. Their want to learn is really incredible. It's impressive. They're up there all the time watching the film on their own, breaking it down. They ask tremendous questions.

"So far, so good, but those are the things we'll look at. A lot of things you want to look at the first few days, but everything is new also. So we're going to have to be a little patient."

Extra Points: Andersen feels no added pressure to win this season, especially since a lot of players said they were unsatisfied with last year's results during individual meetings. "They have high expectations. We have high expectations as a staff. That puts us all on the same page there." … Like his fellow coaches and athletic directors, Andersen is not in favor of making sweeping changed to recruiting rules, as he wants to keep things status quo … If he has to pick, Andersen would prefer a nine-game conference season compared to a 10-game season, but said, "I'm in for whatever they throw down on it."


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