Spring Q&A: Conor Sheehy

Breaking his way into the rotation last season, Wisconsin sophomore defensive lineman Conor Sheehy is looking to help the Badgers at multiple positions on the line this season.

BadgerNation: After a year of getting your feet wet, you probably feel a lot more comfortable heading into this spring camp than you did last fall?

Conor Sheehy: Yeah, absolutely. Just getting some reps under my belt makes me feel good heading these practices.

BN: What’s the big carryover you’ve taken from Coach Chad Kauha’ah’a to Coach Inoke Breckterfield? Is there a lot of similarities or are there a lot of different things he’s preaching to you?

CS: There’s a pretty good amount of carryover from the two of them. It’s not been too bad of a transition to Coach ‘Nokes. He’s been doing a good job of letting us know what he expects. He’s been real understanding of us.

BN: What is the expectation from him moving forward?

CS: It’s very similar to what Coach Chad expected of us. You’ve got to have great fundamentals. The guys who have the great fundaments and do things the right way are going to play.

BN: When Coach Breckterfield was hired, did you do a lot of research on him to find out what he was like or any details about his background? He did a great job helping Aaron Donald be a first round selection.

CS: It’s awesome to see a coach come in and have him coach a player like that. He understands what it takes to get to the next level. Coach ‘Nokes was a great player in college, too. I didn’t do a lot of research on him, but he’s been great so far having him coach us.

BN: What was the biggest thing you took away from your time last year on the scout team and in the rotation to help put you in position to help fill some of the void left by Warren Herring?

CS: It’s just making the most of your opportunities and making every rep count. That’s all you can do, work your best at it and see what happens.

BN: How much did winter conditioning help you? That was your first year going through that aspect of the season and it’s a different type of animal.

CS: Yeah, it was a lot of lifting and a lot of running but it made us bigger, faster and stronger. I tried to do everything I can in there to get better to help myself this season.

BN: You said last year that you could play either end or tackle in the 3-4 scheme. After a year, how have you fit into the scheme and what the staff is hoping to get from you?

CS: I’m still playing both right now, so hopefully I’ll be able to play both throughout my career here. That’s what I want. I want to be versatile and help the team with whatever it needs. I am staying around 285 and playing both.

BN: Did you tap into Warren a lot because that was originally going to be his role last season before his injury? If so, what did he tell you about the role?

CS: Absolutely. A lot of things Warren does I definitely look up to. He’s taught me a lot since I’ve been here about both positions and how to handle the role. He’s been a big influence. Warren did a really good job making plays in that (3-4) scheme. He was hurt a lot of the year, but when he came back, he made a big impact for us by being a versatile defender. The 3-4 defense allows the d-line to make plays. We’re not just taking up space.

BN: There’s no Herring and there’s no Konrad Zagzebski this year, but there are a host of young guys on this line at both the end and tackle positions. What do you see in your group this spring?

CS: I see talent. We’re all trying to get better as a unit. Everybody is taking every rep, going a hard as they can and just trying to see what happens. I think we’ll be good this year. Everybody wants reps, everybody is asking Coach (Breckterfield) questions and staying late to work on stuff.

BN: As a leader emerged from your group yet?

CS: Arthur Goldberg and Jake Keefer are the veterans, they got a significant amount of playing time last season and Keefer is a senior. He’s been here awhile and he knows what it takes. Those guys have definitely been doing a good job of leading us and make sure everybody is on top of their stuff.

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