Spring Recap: Nate Hammon

After grayshirting, recovering from foot surgery and switching positions twice, redshirt freshman Nate Hammon talks about adjusting to the safety position, building his body and learning from the people around him.

Talk about your growth the last two seasons. Where are some of the areas where you really improved in your game?

Nate Hammon: When I first got here I was coming off of surgery on my foot, so I was trying rehab and learn the safety position. When I was coming off that, I ended up hurting my foot again before (last year's) spring ball, so it was a slow process with more learning. I felt summer I kept learning the position and get my foot better.

The third day of fall camp they switched me to receiver, and that was definitely another new position. I wasn't really comfortable. I was still trying to learn things and then this offseason I got switched back to safety a couple weeks after the new coaches came. It's been a slow process, which has been good since I grayshirted. I've eased into things. I didn't get much playing time in practice last year, so this spring was good. I feel like I have grown more physically. Mentally I am still trying to get there. I mess up a lot, but I got better every day.

It's must be tough getting comfortable with one position only to be switched to another one. What's it like now knowing that you are going to be a safety and moving forward from this point?

Hammon: I like it a lot actually. It's a really nice feeling knowing that I am going to stay this time instead of moving again. I like it because I get to learn from the bottom up. When I was thrown into receiver last year, everyone else knew a lot more than I did. Now I feel I started at the same level as everyone.

What was the meeting like the new coaching staff when they told you they were going to switch you back? Was it relief? Excitement? A challenge?

Hammon: I just embraced it. The coaches told me there were a lot of receivers and I might not get that many reps, but at safety I would get a lot more reps, which would make practice better. I felt I would be a bigger part of the team and be able to help out a lot more.

Where have you improved the most from practice one to the spring game?

Hammon: I would say physically. The first time we went live I was pretty nervous, I am not going to lie. I feel like I am getting a lot more physical. Mentally I have gotten a lot better, too. I feel a lot more comfortable with what's going on. I can disguise things a lot better instead of just running into a play.

What are some of the things coach Bill Busch has taught you this spring to be a better player that you have taken to heart? What are things you have really improved upon and what are things you need to continue to improve on?

Hammon: One thing he always talks about is having strong eyes, meaning we should believe what we see instead of second guessing ourselves. That's one of the things I have tried to take to heart the most.

What is the big area you need to improve on from a physical standpoint? Where have you made strides and where do you need to continue to make strides?

Hammon: The upper body has always been a big challenge for me. Football is not that big of an upper body game, but I have been trying to work on that. I've been trying to work on my agility more because I am pretty stiff. I am a lot faster forward than I am turning around running. I am usually pretty good leg-wise in the weight room. I have been improving on the squat.

How have you relied on Dezmen Southward this spring to gain more knowledge on what you need to do on the field to be a successful safety?

Hammon: I ask him a lot of question. I ask Michael Trotter a lot of questions too. They are both really knowledgeable. They just give you little keys, little hints of what to look for in certain situations. It's very helpful when you have older guys ahead of you that you can ask questions.

Looking back how did grayshirting help you?

Hammon: Physically I don't think I was ready for college football. I had an injury from high school that I didn't know about. They kept telling me it was turf toe but after I came here the doctors found out something was torn. That was a blessing in disguise. I was going to grayshirt anyway, so I was able to heal from that. Mentally it was a nice to ease into things instead of just being thrown into fall camp right away.

What are the big things you need to accomplish during the summer to get ready for fall camp?

Hammon: I just want to watch more film, get more comfortable with disguising looks and having stronger eyes. I want to trust my eyes more. Physically I just need to work on tackling and get off blocks more because it's all new to me.

Going to high school just 30 minutes away, what's it like representing Milton by being a member of this football team?

Hammon: It's a big deal down there. Every time I go home people ask me about the Badgers. It's really exciting just growing up here, watching all of our success and you don't really realize how big of a deal it is until you go back home and see how excited people get when they talk to you.

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