Lewis developing at TE

With three seniors atop the depth chart, redshirt freshman is key cog in Badgers' future

It has been about a year since Sean Lewis began making the transition from quarterback to tight end. A redshirt freshman on the University of Wisconsin football team, Lewis has played very little in game situations, but he is learning from the three seniors ahead of him on the depth chart and continuing to grow into his new position.

"Things are going good," Lewis said. "Still a lot of work to go, but working with coach [tight ends coach Paul Chryst], working with the guys that I have in front of me, who are great teachers and willing to talk and share their knowledge with me. Just go out and try to focus on one thing each day to get better at, and making some improvement."

Lewis' development is important for the future of the Badgers' offense. This season he has played tight end in just one game, during the second half of UW's 65-0 blowout win over Temple. But next season the Badgers will have to replace their top three tight ends: current seniors Owen Daniels, Jason Pociask and Joel Nellis.

"As far as what I learn from them, just the way they go out and approach their work on a daily basis at practice," Lewis said. "… Obviously, they've been around for five years and they're starting… But they don't let that get to them as far as lax at practice or things like that. They're still constantly improving on their skills. I just learn from them as far as go out, get the most out of what you can every day."

Having put on about 30 pounds since his high school playing days, the 6-foot-7 Lewis now weighs 240 pounds.

"I think I've put on about 10 pounds since when I made the switch (from quarterback)," Lewis said. "I came into camp about five pounds heavier than I am now but lost that throughout the course of the season.

"Right now it's basically about maintaining and with the luxury we have of making a bowl, I'll be able to really hit things hard then and use that time to put on weight and stuff and then go on into the winter and using the spring and all that, I should get where I want to be."

Lewis made the transition to tight end wholeheartedly, but even after a year he said he is still getting accustomed to a new mindset, particularly when setting up on the line to block. "Just from looking at the fronts more, the D-line fronts and seeing all the different levels and stuff," Lewis said. "Stuff that you would really kind of look over as a quarterback and stuff that you took for granted as a quarterback, because you knew your line was going to handle that for you. Now being a part of the line those are things that I need to account for.

"And just learning how to block. Technique. Most people don't think of it as a skill as far as catching the ball or running the ball or throwing the ball or whatever but it's obviously one of the hardest skills I've learned to try and do. So I mean just on a daily basis learning to master that and go on from there."

There is a physical aspect to becoming a good blocker, certainly. But Lewis said getting the technique down is just as difficult.

"I'd say half the battle is just taking the right steps, using your hands, getting in the right spot," he said. "The other half of it would be to actually have the physical strength to be able to move a guy…

"But definitely just technique, as far as putting yourself in the right position to be able to engage the guy properly is definitely a great majority of the battle that you have to learn."

Lewis was happy for the opportunity to play against Temple. It was the first time he had seen live game action since his senior year at Oak Lawn (Ill.) Richards.

"You know you redshirt and you sit there and watch it, but that's not the same as being in between the lines and going at it and everything," Lewis said.

Overall, Lewis said he is happy with the strides that he has made so far, but that he still has a ways to go.

"But I'm still far off to where I'd like to be overall," he said. "Obviously, just physically as far as where my size is, there is still weight to be put on… I obviously have to get stronger. And as far as just knowledge of the position and stuff like that, there's still a ton that I have to learn. I'm feeling a lot more confident as far as where I'm at and my ability to play the position. But as far as being satisfied or anything along those lines I'm not even close to where I want to be."

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