The Freshman Fifteen - Jack Cichy

He was a late arrival to fall camp, but walk-on linebacker Jack Cichy made up for it with his aggressive nature and never-relax attitude, earning him an opportunity to contribute this season. Badger Nation gets to know the freshman linebacker a little better in the return of our popular feature.

MADISON - A late arrival into fall camp and a spectator in the season opener, walk-on linebacker Jack Cichy was content with building his body and his football I.Q. during the 2013 season. One text message changed all that.

Following Wisconsin's 45-0 over Massachusetts, Cichy knew something was up after defensive coordinator Dave Aranda told him the Monday before the Tennessee Tech game to join the defense in team meetings.

"Developmental guys lift while the defense meets, so I first start thinking about it," said Cichy. "In the meeting he took me aside and told me I would be getting reps in practice. I had to mentally prepare myself, but I guess I have always mentally prepared well."

While not initially invited to camp, Cichy stayed focused and physically prepared himself with daily workouts while he waited for the opportunity to join Wisconsin's 105-man camp roster. He came into camp during the second week, but believes he made his name performing on the scout defense and scout special teams toward the end of camp.

"I just worked hard, worked play after play and took care of my business," said Cichy.

After turning down an offer from Holy Cross and interest from Ivy League schools to hopefully make an impact on Wisconsin football one day, Cichy took repetitions at linebacker and rotated in on kickoff against the Golden Eagles, started on punt return against Arizona State and saw action in the Big Ten opener against Purdue.

Returning for a fourth season, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers' future.

Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.

What's been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?

Cichy: After you get done with class and practice, time goes so fast. I go back to my dorm after practice and I start to read a book or study for what I feel is a half hour. I look at the clock and it's been an hour and a half, it's 10:50 and I have to wake up early the next morning.

What's been the hardest part adjusting to college football?

Cichy: I'd say every step up you go the pace of play is different. You get a good feel of that going through our fast-paced practices with the noise. I definitely would say it's the pace of play because your instincts are always there, but you have to adjust as the pace adjusts. That's been the more difficult but I think I have adjusted pretty well.

Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game?

Cichy: I'd say my lateral speed. Being a linebacker I have to sweep from side to side, so I'd say that's really improved from my time here so far.

What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what your biggest areas of weaknesses?

Cichy: I'd say strengths is my intensity and my football I.Q., but something I definitely need to improve if I want to keep playing and have longevity is increase my size and my physical ability like my weight.

How is Madison different than your home town of Somerset, WI, and St. Paul, MN, where you went to school? What's the biggest difference?

Cichy: Somerset is a small border town, but football has always been big there like it is here. I've got a good background of that. It only has 1,000 people so I knew a lot of people. My school wasn't very big, so I knew everyone there. Once you get into the metro area, it kind of has a similar feel to Madison. It's a little bigger, but you get used to that. Madison is like my home away from home because I have a lot of family here.

Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?

Cichy: I am just taking it step by step. I am interested in law. I've had a want to go to law school for awhile now.

What's your favorite place on the Madison campus?

Cichy: In the summer probably the Terrace because there is a lot going on there and it's fun to hang out.

What's your least favorite place on campus?

Cichy: There is this stoplight on Dayton and Charter. It just goes red when no one is there, so you are just sitting there. It's really aggravating when you are trying to go somewhere.

What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?

Cichy: There are a lot of kids from where I went to school who go here, so I like to connect with them as much as I can. I like to develop some friendship outside of the football team. Honestly we eat, play video games and just relax.

Who did you live with this summer and who are you living with this fall? How are those relationships?

Cichy: In the summer I lived with T.J. Watt, Leon Jacobs and Rob Wheelwright in the Regent, and we got pretty close from that because we are up at 6 a.m. to go workout and do everything together. Those relationships are pretty strong.

This fall I am living with Joe Ferguson, and it's been neat for both of us since we both got called up to be on special teams. We've also got some reps on defense, so it's like we're brothers through the whole thing. We've grown closer through that.

What's the most interesting thing you've learn about Joe?

Cichy: You wouldn't expect his feistiness on the field. You see him in person and he's a jokster and has a funny laugh that cracks everyone up. On the field he's business, he likes to hit and he's aggressive.

Who was your big brother and what was the biggest thing you learned from him?

Cichy: Tyler Dippel was my big brother. Just the intensity that he brings every practice is like a game for him. He has a great approach. He lines everyone up, encouraging kids to keep giving it their all and I definitely took that away from him. It was more an observation because he never told me to be intense, but I've definitely taken that into my repertoire.

Where does your biggest support come from? Family? Friends? Teammates?

Cichy: I'd definitely say my family. I have my mom and dad constantly in my life. One of my sisters go here and one graduated last year, so the one that goes here we try to get dinner once a week just to see how each other's lives are going.

What's your parents reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?

Cichy: My mom was thrilled. She's an alum and she was thrilled that I got the opportunity to play. My dad is just always encouraging to do what I love. He knows I love this, so I think that's what makes him the most proud that I am doing something that I love.

What's the best part of being a Wisconsin football player and putting on that red and white jersey?

Cichy: It's really inexplicable. The first week I had no intention of playing, so you run out and take it all in. You get goosebumps seeing the first Jump Around and being on the field. It feels like home to be completely honest. It's a homely environment. We have the best fans in the world. It's unreal.

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