First and 10 Wisconsin.
Starting all 13 games, Hubbard grabbed 38 passes for 627 yards and became known as Wisconsin's primarily playmakers. When the Badgers needed to move the chains, Hubbard was there to move them himself. In the Capital One Bowl, Hubbard was Wisconsin's offense, gaining 73 yards and a touchdown in the bowl victory. Not too bad for a guy who had only one career catch for four yards the season before.
Now in his fifth season with Wisconsin, Hubbard is looking for more big results for him and his wide receiver core. Paul Hubbard sat down with Badger Nation publisher Benjamin Worgull to talk about his 2006 season, his fellow receivers and his wide receiver coach.
Badger Nation: Last year, you were labeled as Mr. Third Down; that whenever the Badgers needed a big play, you were there to move the chains. Looking back, how was your role defined last year and how did you develop as the year went along?
Paul Hubbard: My role on the team last season was to establish myself as a playmaker when the team needed a play to be made. Obviously like you said, it was third down and we needed to move the chains. We went to the number one play and that happened to be on my route tree. It got to the point that I was comfortable with that route and [John] Stocco was comfortable with that throw. [Third down] became my role on the team when it was third down and we needed those yards.
BN: The receiving core came into the season – you, Luke Swan and Travis Beckum – came into the season as unknowns and you finish the year one of the more prolific offenses in Wisconsin history. What did last season mean to you to be able to tell everyone that we are a group of pretty good receivers?
PH: What that means to me, coming from an unknown aspect, I feel like [that criticism] gave us the hunger to come out here and do more things to excite the people. Not just the people, but to excite ourselves and the team to give us that boost. If we were labeled as household names coming into the season, we might not have been as special as an offensive group.
I feel like coming from the bottom and working your way to the top, you always have that satisfaction that you get from being successful in that situation. Coming into the next season, we need to pick up where we left off. We can't let the fact that everything thinks we're good and we did this and that get to our heads. We need to continue on doing the same things and working our way up to the point that we are now and, hopefully, get better.
BN: Is your offense going to change a lot from last year to this year with a new quarterback and new wide receivers coach?
PH: The offense isn't going to change at all. Just like last year when we saw Stocco go down, Tyler [Donovan] came in and our offense didn't change. It was a different quarterback in the same offense. This year, Stocco isn't here and we have Donovan and Allan Evridge. Allan is a lefty, Tyler is a right-handed guy. The only change you're going to see is we might roll out to the left or the right at times. We aren't going to keep rolling out the same way because we have quarterbacks with different [throwing] hands. The offense is going to stay the same.
BN: How has [interim wide receiver coach] DelVaughn Alexander fit in and relate to the wide receivers so far?
PH: He's definitely fit in. Coach Alexander is a guy who's been growing up in this offense for a long time. This offense has been his baby for awhile so he knows the ins and outs. He knows some things that Coach Mason might have missed or that he's still grasping in his time year. For him to have that experience with this offense, it's only going to help us out a ton. The fact that he's so much younger and has more energy brings a lot to the table.
Also, we have a new coach that we have to listen to is going to make us better as football players and mature faster, because we're going to have to learn to respect this guy. What's [Alexander] is saying is absolutely true and he's going to make us better everyday. We're going to have to take [his information] and run with us because Coach Mason can only teach us so much. Once it's done, we're going to Coach Alexander and he's going to fill in the blanks. That's basically what he's doing now. We're working on some new drills that we haven't done before. But as practice goes on, we're going to see the improvements. We're seeing them slowly but surely. He's a great fit.