How did this spring go for you, especially since you got so many reps with the Wisconsin defense having a shortage at the safety position?
Austin Hudson: That's why I came here. I didn't come here for anything tangible necessarily, like a starting job or anything like that. I came to work for something. If you work you get results, and I knew by coming early that I would have more time to work if I graduated early. So it could put myself in a spot where we can create depth the first game or so where we could be a good team. When I came in early, it was a chance to get a jump on competition, get here and get better. That's really what the bottom line was: get better faster.
How beneficial have the last 18 months been for you since you played most of your junior year injured and have been injury free since?
Hudson: The big thing is my mindset. It coincides with my health. When I was out my junior year, I was playing for a scholarship. I stopped playing, and I thought my senior year that my recruiting was done, that I wasn't going to get much interest. I started playing for the love of the game. By missing it, I kind of realized why I loved football and why I loved it as a team game. That's when everything good started happening for me. From there I just realized it was more of a character builder than anything. It wasn't really more reps or a chance to showcase myself. I just build a lot of character.
How has coming to Wisconsin helped build that mindset or tested your character?
Hudson: It's a big test for yourself, but you've got to look at it that way though. You've got to look at it as a challenge and not something that holds you back. I looked at it as I am coming in here and I haven't done anything for this team, so why should anyone respect me? My whole goal to earn respect and the only way to do that is to work hard and be humble. That's how I looked at the process and it's makes it a little easier. There are challenging parts but you've got to keep your focus on the goal.
What was the big thing you wanted to do during winter conditioning to get yourself prepared? How much weight did you put on or was it more fine tuning some things?
Hudson: I don't have much fat, so it was pretty much building muscle. I always had a big frame, but I really didn't fill it out much in high school. I got here at 180 in January and I stand here at about 197. I've put on a good amount of weight. You have so many resources here so I was thinking how can I use these resources here to better myself so I can put myself in a position where I can help the team?Coach Simon does an amazing job and all of our strength coaches. We have a lot of them. They help you with your form. When I came here I had a shoulder injury. They helped me with my form so when I benched it didn't hurt anymore. My shoulder stopped hurting. They helped me with all that stuff. I gained more explosiveness. I feel more explosive then I did in high school and I am a lot more bulkier than I was before. It definitely helps. You just have to use the resources, especially academically here. Most of the reason I came here was academics and they have people who help you, mentor you. That's another reason why I wanted to come here was to get a jump on the competition academically and try to get to graduate school before my scholarship is done.
How are you a different player at 197 compared to 180?
Hudson: I am doing a lot of stuff where I press tight ends, so I need that extra weight, and I am going to keep trying to add weight because it helps when you press the tight ends. Basically what I am trying to do to put on weight so that throw me aside.
What's been the hardest thing learning the safety spot in this defense and in this scheme?
Hudson: Just the nuances of the game. You have your fundamental coverages, but from there they're things you need to address to help your teammates out. There are many good nuances that make you a good football player. I am starting to tap into it a little bit, but I still need to work on it. It comes with experience. Anybody can play a Cover One, but there are certain aspects of that and knowing football and formations that make you better. That's been the toughest part, but I am trying to get better.
Do you see a role for yourself in this defense this season?
Hudson: I hope so. That's not what I am playing for though. I am not playing for the results. I am playing to get better. If you worry about the results, you're going to be disappointed or you're not going to find what you want. I'm playing because I want the best person at my spot to play. If it's me, that's great. If it's someone else, that's great, but I want to push that person if it's not me.
How excited are you about the process you're going through to get to that first game and how have you got better during the process?
Hudson: It'll be such an amazing moment for me because everything I've been through during this entire process, everything I have worked for, will finally pay off. It'll just be a great moment for me. It'll be an exciting game to be a part of, and I hope I can contribute in that game. It's been tough. You put a smile on your face and try to make it through every day, but it's a tough process. It's a big change, but the older guys have been there for me and they've helped me a lot, especially with the defense. There's been no animosity. It's a team game, and we're trying to help each other.