John Settle: Coming in there was a lot of uncertainty. You lose a guy like Melvin Gordon and you go into the spring wondering who is next and who is going to step up. I know Corey made a comment that he couldn’t wait for his opportunity. The first time I had an opportunity to meet with him, I told him he asked for it and now it’s here.
I like the way he approaches it each day. He approaches it like a professional. It’s important to him. He’s good in the classroom. He’s good with the group. He has an opportunity in practice and he’s making good reads, if he makes a mistake we can correct it and he’s not a repeat offender. That’s the thing I like more than anything. I like his competitive nature and the way he practices. It shows off when you are scrimmaging and he goes live. During the week guys think they’ve made that tackle and they see those wouldn’t have been tackles (when we go full tackle). I like his big play ability.
BN: You’ve been around a lot of good backs here and had a hand in recruiting a lot of good backs here. Does he have that same kind of mental makeup as some of those other athletes?
JS: Yes sir, most definitely, and that’s the thing I like about him. That’s why I’m so excited about his growth each day. I like what he brings to the table. He’s definitely going to be a guy I think the team is going to rally around offensively. Everybody can see it, and the thing I like about it is he studies his own film every day. It’s not an “I’ll have a good practice today and tomorrow I’ll come out and slump off.” He’s continued to put it on film day after day after day, so I like that. Going into the summer and the fall, I am excited to see what he can do.
BN: Where is the depth chart after Corey? Dare Ogunbowale is the oldest of the group but he is still new to the position and Taiwan Deal and Caleb Kinlaw are coming off redshirts. What are you looking for?
JS: There is a gap after Corey, a huge gap, then we have a bunch of guys. The thing I do like is I think I have two guys in Dare and Taiwan competing and trying to close that gap, but that’s pretty much what it is. We’ve got Corey, then we’ve got Taiwan and Dare competing for that second spot and then after that we’re trying to develop guys. We have Serge Trezy and Caleb Kinlaw coming off injury where he hasn’t gotten many reps.
BN: Is Serge’s move permanent or something you are trying to look as you try to figure out where he is going to be best suited?
JS: I like it, and I like what he has shown in the first few practices he’s had. He’s shown some natural ability. We really haven’t opened the playbook up to him, so the defense can probably pick up on it. I just want to put in those positions. We know it’s a run, defense knows it’s a run, how will he respond? I like his skill set, I like his speed and when he gets into the open the game changes. I am hoping it’s a permanent move, but we’ll have to see down the road.
BN: Is Corey almost like a second coach for you with the group because he’s the veteran of the unit?
JS: Without a doubt. With me coming in as an outsider, it was good to have him in the room because it gave me time to learn the guys while he was coaching them up and getting them in the meetings. The thing about Corey is he is a bright guy, smart and that’s going to help him. He pushed them in practice and as he goes the group goes. He sets it off. If he starts off with a good tempo and a good pace we’re going to have a good practice.
BN: Can you talk about the decision and the timeframe that led you to come back to Wisconsin?
JS: It was a lot of things of involved. When Paul initially left to come back here, I had my eyes set on going back to the NFL. When the Atlanta Falcons job came open, my hopes were to coach there. I played there and where I got my start. I waited that out while I looked at a couple other jobs, including some Big Ten jobs, and things just didn’t work out. Things went back and forth but nothing really caught my attention.
It just worked out when the Georgia job came open (I was actually in the process of contacting Mark Richt to try to get the job), I get a call from Wisconsin that something is about to happen. A lot of moves had to happen and things behind the scenes, but I’m excited to be back. I’m a Paul Chryst guy. I like what he does offensively, I like his approach and those types of things. When they called me, it was like stop looking and get your butt on a plane and get back to Madison.
JS: The one thing it taught me is your practices are so detailed and you have a short amount of time to do individual work with your guys. When you come out to work you have to make sure everything is scheduled. You can’t cover everything, so you have to hit two or three different things each day that you work. From the standpoint of organization and preparation, that’s what helped me. Coming back here we get a little more time, but I feel like I am a little more equipped with some of the ideas in practices.
BN: Is the goal to head back there one day?
JS: It’s not something I’m looking to do. Right now I’m here and in my mind the best job is the one you have. I am going to try to do everything I can do to bring a championship here to Madison, Wisconsin.