Badger Chat: Zalewski and Thomas speak

Badger seniors Mark Zalewski and Joe Thomas chat with BN's Jason Miller while passing through the halls of the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, IL. Big Ten football is just around the corner.


There are eight starters who return on your defense. What are some of the things that make you look forward to getting on the field and hitting people this year?

We have so much experience in the defensive backfield. Up front, we have at least eight guys who can step in and make plays. It is going to be a good year for us, because of that experience. We have great speed and depth and the linebacker position. I think the defense as a whole is real athletic. We can just fly around and make plays. It is going to be a strong year.

Who are some of the guys that you expect to step of big to make this a successful campaign?

We have a little bit of speed in our linebacker core. The two guys that are going to step up there (DeAndre) Levy and (Jonathan) Casillas are very capable of doing some great things. They have done a good job, mentally, of getting prepared to go. Athletically they are really gifted, so that is a strength for us. We have a couple of corners that are coming in that had a lot of playing time last year. They weren't every game starters, but played very well. The pieces are there for us to have a really great defense.

Is it going to be excellence by example this season?

I mean, all of the guys that we have on defense can get the job done. (Jamal) Cooper, (Matt) Shaughnessy, (Joe) Monty, and Kurt Ware have all done the job before. The others guys up there are just as good. We have depth and that will be a key. Everybody in the two-deep can come in and make plays. I wouldn't even know who to pick as the star out of that group. They are all good players.

What are your expectations for your final season?

We are going to try and go 1-0 each week. That is our philosophy or motto. If you always go 1-0, you never lose.


What are you most excited about for this season?

I am just looking forward, mostly, to getting back on the football field. After coming off a major injury, to run out that tunnel in front of the fans again. Man, that is just a great feeling.

Describe what it is like to walk into Camp Randall.

It is just the greatest feeling to do it one more time. When you walk out of the tunnel and hear 84,000 fans screaming for you. Wow. You cannot even begin to describe what that is like.

Do you feel that the experience factor is going to help out offense this year?

Sure. (John) Stocco is one of the best leaders I have ever been around. He knows how to rally the troops in the huddle and get us fired up when we are down. He has great control and everybody respects him. He will be able to get the young guys to step up.

You are the only senior that is projected to start on the offensive line. That has got to be a great thing for the future of the program.

We have a lot of players on that line that are going to be great football players. It is great to play next to them all.

If you could tell the fans one thing about Badger football 2006, what would it be?

I think we are going to have one of our best defenses ever. Look for a fantastic defense and good offense this year.

Do you have any predictions for the season at hand – in regards to a record?

1-0 each week. Bowling Green is the only thing I am worried about right now. That is it.

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