MADISON – There were few things that Zack Baun didn’t do well athletically at Brown Deer High School.
As a senior, Baun was the state’s offensive player of the year and the most outstanding senior quarterback, averaging 167.0 rushing yards per game and a state-leading 39 touchdowns. He was more than a one-trick pony, completing 54.9 percent of his passes for 1,936 yards and 20 touchdowns.
He lettered in basketball and helped lead the school to a division 3 state title as a junior. He lettered in track and field, placing four times at the division 2 state meet. Needless to say, athleticism, speed and versatility are Baun’s biggest asset.
Redshirting to build his body into an outside linebacker and learn the defense, Baun is the kind of athlete that has really thrived at the University of Wisconsin.
Returning for a six season, Badger Nation does a meet and greet with the newer members of the Wisconsin football team, shedding a light on some of the unknown kids that figure to be important parts of the Badgers’ future.
Asking 15 questions, we call this segment the Freshman Fifteen.
What’s been the hardest part for you adjusting to college life?
Baun: It’s really busy; that’s what I would say. I really wasn’t expecting having so many meetings and having no personal life, but it’s a sacrifice you have to make coming into college and being a student-athlete.
What’s been the hardest part adjusting to college football?
Baun: Probably the contact. In high school I was the quarterback, so I never got hit and really wasn’t used to getting hit like this. That was the main thing in fall camp. I was getting used to getting hit and knowing when to hit.
Since you arrived here, how have you changed your body to prepare for the college game, especially since you were switching from offense to defense?
Baun: First things first, I had to bulk up. I knew I had to get big. I was like 210 pounds coming out of high school. I knew I had to get big and maintain my speed. I was doing my track outs until track season was done and then I started bulking up.
What do you think your strengths are right now where you can help this team and what are your biggest areas of weaknesses?
Baun: My strengths would be my speed and my quickness coming off the edge. My length and my athleticism helps that. Weaknesses would probably be holding my ground against the older guys.
How is Madison different than your home town of Brown Deer?
Baun: it’s a huge city. I don’t know anyone. In Brown Deer it feels like a big family and that I knew everyone.
Do you have any idea what you want to study in college?
Baun: Kinesiology. I am taking general stuff this year.
What’s your favorite place on the Madison campus?
Baun: It was here (Camp Randall), but I’m here all the time. I do like my bed because I can finally relax.
What’s your least favorite place on campus?
Baun: I really don’t have one to be honest. I would probably have to say Bascom Hill.
What do you enjoy doing most in your free time when you get the chance to kick back and relax?
Baun: Chris Orr is my roommate so we are always hanging out. Just hang out with the guys in the dorms and have fun.
How is that relationship going with Chris?
Baun: I like to make jokes saying he’s big timing me but he’s really not. It’s been great. I think we’re going to live together next year, too.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learn about Chris?
Baun: Every night before he goes to bed, he watches Courage the Cowardly Dog, or at least turns it on. It’s always on all night. That’s probably the weirdest thing.
Where does your biggest support come from?
Baun: My family for sure, coming to all my games. Even if I am not playing they still want to be there for me. They are always shooting me texts and sending me packages.
What’s your parents’ reaction to you playing college football here, being on your own for the first time and starting your journey at this school?
Baun: They’re excited, but I don’t think they like to show they are excited. They just want me to keep striving for my goals.
What was the main reason why you committed to Wisconsin?
Baun: The main reason for me was the family atmosphere, and I still think that holds true. Even when I committed, I didn’t know about all the relationships between the guys, the coaches and how fun it is here.
What is like putting on that Wisconsin jersey every day and getting a chance to run out on to the field for a home game?
Baun: I was running out the tunnel like I was about to play the game. The crowd just pumps you up to that extent.