Spring Q&A: Bart Houston

With Joel Stave out for the remainder of spring, sophomore quarterback Bart Houston looks to take advantage of the final two practices of spring. BadgerNation spoke with Houston about his improvements since last season and development as a quarterback.

How have you approached this spring compared to last spring? Have you approached this spring will a little more humility since you thought you were going to come in and start last year?

Bart Houston: Yeah, that's what happens when you are young. I came in here with a little more humility and a little more confidence because I know the offense now. I know it like the back of my hand. Now I just have to go out and prove it to (offensive coordinator Andy) Ludwig that I know it.

Was that the hardest thing from your redshirt year to last year was that it was basically a new offense with new terminology?

Houston: It was just learning the little tiny things. Everybody knows the first route, which last year was throw to Jared Abbrederis (laughter). You always know where your first two options were, but third and four options was where Joel (Stave) excelled. He could get the ball to James White, who every once in awhile could take one all the way to the house. He had a couple of those every year. Those are the plays that really separate yourself from an OK quarterback to a good quarterback.

You have the reputation as a gunslinger. Is the hardest thing for you dialing it down and not always throwing the rifle pass? If so, how do you work on that?

Houston: The check down to the running backs, you can't be throwing that 100 miles per hour because they are only 10 yards away from you. That one I got down. The other ones, this entire offseason, except for the 10-yard outs or the 10-yard digs by receivers, I never threw the ball on a line. I always would give it a little loft. We call it a two throw, and I've been working hard on perfecting that.

From what the media has seen, it appears you have thrown the ball more confidently. Is that something that just took time to really develop?

Houston: Being the No.3 quarterback really helped a lot. You have to know where guys are running, but then you have to know guy's speed, too. That doesn't take a year, but it does take some time. That's where I am throwing with confidence. I know I can throw it to Kenzel on any route now and hit him in stride, while the first year I'd be throwing behind him or 10 yards in front of him.

Is it the process of spring where that chemistry is really developed or does that more come during winter conditioning?

Houston: It's more during winter. During winter we come out two days a week, just us guys, and get a couple running backs, tight ends and receivers and just toss the ball around.

Who impressed you most during that stretch that you really developed some good chemistry with?

Houston: I really like Jazz Peavy. He's good. He'll be very good. Rob Wheelwright is really good. Jordan Fredrick is always consistent. Kenzel Doe can run like no other. He's not as fast as Dez Southward, but he is really fast.

What part of your game do you like right now? What parts of your game do you need to build upon?

Houston: I like that I am confident, I can throw the ball anywhere and I have the confidence to do the best as I can. My footwork needs a little bit of touching me, but that's what happens when you are the number three and you don't take as many reps throughout the season.

It's not a secret that this staff wants the dual-threat quarterback who can beat teams with their arms and their legs. We know you can do it with the pass, but where are you with the running aspect of your game?

Houston: Well, I'm not going to be running no 80-yard touchdowns. That was never my thing. I am "Mr. Veer." I can run the option, and I have experience in that. We've been doing these little loop drills and I'll throw a cut, and everybody will go, "Oh, where did this come from?" I am not going to be running for long touchdowns, but I'll get my five yards and move the chains. That's all we need to do; that and get into the end zone.

What do you like about D.J. Gillins?

Houston: I think he's fast. The only other faster athlete I have seen is Southward. He's going to help us in the not-too-distant future.

What do you need to do to stay in the quarterback race?

Houston: Stay within my abilities, not try to force passes and just try to do my thing. Follow my read progressions and distribute the ball wherever it needs to go.

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