Spring Q&A: Leon Jacobs

With Wisconsin's two inside linebackers from 2014 graduating, the Badgers have to feel good about the steps made by junior Leon Jacobs in the spring.

Badger Nation: The game against Illinois last season (career-high 12 tackles) has to help your confidence heading into spring practices. You obviously knew you could do it but to put it on the field had to feel good?

Leon Jacobs: Yeah, I got more comfortable in the defense as last season progressed. I think I’ve improved a lot throughout this spring and I’m excited for fall camp. I’ve improved in my run defense, my pass defense and in pass rushing. I tried to get better in all areas of my game.

BN: In the three areas you mentioned that you have improved in, was there one area you were specifically trying to get better in?

LJ: I think it was more of experience that I needed so I could continue to improve my game, and I got a lot of experience with the reps this spring. I saw a lot of different types of pass situation or run situation, I think the offense did a good job of implementing a lot of different schemes that helped me continue to improve.

BN: You have bounced around from outside linebacker to inside linebacker during your first two years at Wisconsin. With you settling into inside linebacker do you feel like that has helped your development that you can focus on just one position?

LJ: It was very good to settle in at inside linebacker. Before spring break we had six practices and I was a little concerned because I wasn’t where I wanted to be. But after spring break we just really tightened up with our teachings and what we should do as inside linebackers, and I saw my improvements.

BN: Have you individually tried to step up and fill that leadership void that has been vacated by either Marcus Trotter or Derek Landisch?

LJ: I lean towards at times to Vince Biegel or Joe Schobert because they have been here before, and I watch how they handle different situations. I also include (Darius) Hillary and (Michael) Caputo as leaders on defense as all of those guys, their senior leadership helps a lot on the field. But at times I will say something if I feel like something needs to be said.

BN: How do you feel you and T.J. Edwards are progressing at inside linebacker?

LJ: I feel like we are progressing very well. I feel like we will be a good 1-2 punch come fall. We feed off of each other, our communication is really good on the field. T.J. will ask me some small questions here and there about small wrinkles that Aranda puts in to the defense. He helps me too with stuff that I may not know.

BN: What has Dave Aranda been talking about in the linebackers room on where you two need to improve going forward?

LJ: For instance if the play doesn’t go the right way, just be able to react and going to play football and make plays in our pass rush.

BN: How has the inside linebacker unit progressed since the start of spring?

LJ: I think from practice one to practice 15 we are one of the best improved position groups because we had two freshman come in (Nick Thomas and Ty DeForest) and Ryan Connelly just moved to linebacker. T.J. and I were practicing with the one’s for the first times in our career. So I was pleased with how we improved as a core but the coaches helped us get to where we are now.

BN: Individually are you happy with where you are leaving spring practice in terms of how you are playing and where your play is going into the summer?

LJ: I wouldn’t say I’m happy because I still know I need to improve, but I’m happy with how things are improving in my game. I’m really looking forward to fall camp to see how I can continue to improve my game and getting ready for the first game against Alabama.


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