Whistling a Different Tune

After a preseason hamstring injury derailed his entire freshman season, Jazz Peavy used his redshirt year to gain weight and confidence, two things he hopes will allow him to contribute in the offense this season.

MADISON - Without any inquires, Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen made it a point to compliment Jazz Peavy to say he was excited to see the redshirt freshman compete in camp.

It’s no secret that Wisconsin needs wide receivers to step up and play big roles within the offense this season, so Andersen knowing that Peavy was healthy, had developed self-discipline and runs crisp routes all were huge positives that piqued his interest.

“His ability to be involved in the offense this summer was impressive,” said Andersen.

After not having the year Peavy wanted, being told through the grapevine that his head coach said those positive remarks was a breath of fresh air.

“It definitely makes me a feel a lot better,” said Peavy. “It makes me feel a lot more confident about myself knowing that everything I am doing so far is good. It’s definitely a confidence booster.”

Peavy, from Kenosha Tremper High School, redshirted last season in part because he suffered a hamstring injury preparing for the WFCA All-Star Games. Before the injury, he was focusing on competing for playing time as a true freshman, feeling confident in his abilities after having 38 catches for 535 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior.

“It was really frustrating,” said Peavy. “I had people behind me supporting me, telling me to keep my head up and things would go right. Keep doing what I’ve been doing, stay positive and let things play out.”

Peavy didn’t get near full strength until the final days before the season opener against Massachusetts when positions and playing time were already decided. In retrospect, the year off proved to be a benefit. He’s increased his weight to around 190 pounds, felt comfortable with what was a new system of offense and watched former receiver Jared Abbrederis and junior Jordan Fredrick in film study.

When spring practices started in March, he was ready.

“I went over everything on the scout team and learned what it takes to make it, to be good in this league,” said Peavy. “I definitely had to up my game and become more focused. That just helped me learn everything.

Over the course of the team’s summer conditioning program, Peavy focused on building his lower body in hopes of preventing future injuries. In the practices open to the media this week, Peavy showed he can make the plays, which included snaring a throw over the middle and out running the defense.

“His understanding of the playbook has grown immensely,” said wide receiver coach Chris Beatty. “He’s got some twitchiness and some ability that is right up there at the top of our group. He just has to be consistent. He has soft hands, quickness and straight-line speed. He’s got to be tough with the blocking and when he gets jammed. If he does that he has a chance to help us.”

The questions of who will be the Badgers’ top wide receivers will linger throughout camp and into the early parts of the season. And while the offense has relied solely on Abbrederis the last two seasons as the number one target, Peavy believes not having a go-to target might not be such a bad thing.

“I feel like it will open things up a little more, if anything,” said Peavy. “I don’t think it will hurt us that’s for sure. If everyone puts in the work, we can all be impact players.”

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