Pressley Likes the Running Back Situation

Senior fullback Chris Pressley likes the progress the offense is making and the energy all the running backs are bringing to the table in spring workouts.

MADISON - Fullback Chris Pressley knew that this off season was going to be an important one on January 1 at around 2 p.m.

The Badgers had just been beaten by the Tennessee Volunteers in the Outback Bowl, linebacker Jonathan Casillas made the battle cry that losing like that would not happen again this season and Pressley nodded his head in agreement.

That's senior leadership to a tee.

Working feverishly in the off season to be physically ready for the start of the season, Pressley has taken his conditioning outside the box as he sat down with Badger Nation to talk about his new workout partners.

Badger Nation: When I talked to you last year, you said you were really looking forward to this spring camp and trying to get into the swing of things. How have things been going so far?

Chris Pressley: It's going really well. I really like the tempo in practice. Guys are coming with good energy. The coaches are bringing in some new sets that are making us try different stuff. It's cool. I adjusted really well, coach said. We've had one padded practice and that went pretty good. I am excited and it's going really well so far.

BN: How did this off season go for you? Did you concentrate on anything or try to develop anything in your game?

Pressley: During conditioning, I got to work with the linemen. Just working with them, it helps you get better because they are obviously bigger people. And if you can move them around, you can move around the lighter people like the linebackers. Working with the linemen has helped me focus in on my body position, my strength, driving off my block and things like that.

Also working on catching the ball a little better. The coaches want me to be able to catch so I worked on that, getting some balls thrown to me. Pretty much just getting ready for my senior year, wanting to go out and display my talent the best I can. I am just trying to let the coaches know, and the people at the next level know that I am capable of playing good and am a very capable fullback.

BN: Bret talked about the practice after spring break last year wasn't a very good one and how this year's practice had a higher level of energy. Did you feel the same way out there and could you tell a difference?

Pressley: This practiced seemed up tempo. Coming off spring break, we weren't in full pads and weren't sluggish or slow. Some guys don't do a lot for spring break and some do. Either way, this practice helped us get our legs back, our bodies didn't get a big shock and we'll get to real heavy stuff later. I think it was a good opportunity to run around a little bit and there was good energy out there. Guys were flying around.

BN: How motivated are you and the other seniors to change what happened at the end of last year, have a good senior year and feasible win a Big Ten championship and get to a BCS bowl game?

Pressley: We're all highly motivated and we're anxious. We're excited of what the team can be and this group of seniors, we all believe and know that we have to lead the way for the young guys and show them how to do it when they are seniors. The biggest thing is we know how the seniors felt when they lost their last game going out. It leaves a foul taste in your mouth, especially after not playing well. We don't want that again and that's why we are working hard. We're really anxious to get this thing going and that's why we're excited about spring ball and we keep pushing each other real hard.

BN: Wisconsin has so many capable running backs this year when you go right down the list. What have you seen from each of your running backs that have really impressed you so far?

Pressley: They are all big competitors right now. They all know it's not one specific spot they are competing for, it's a spot and a time when we're going to be involved. I think Lance (Smith) has stepped his game up. They are using him a lot more in different formations. They are setting him out wide, trying to get the ball in his hands a little more. He and P.J. are getting back to their games and running hard. P.J. told me that he's got to get back to being healthy and he's going to lift harder, run harder and do everything harder so he can be healthy so he's not breaking down, he's breaking the opponents down.

Zach's still a student of the game and getting better. They are all competing and that's the biggest thing you see. (John) Clay is learning from the older guys and getting a lot better.

BN: John Clay is not somebody we've seen a lot of because he redshirted last year. But he came in here highly-touted and it looks bigger and more developed into what the coaching staff wanted him to look. What have you seen from him over the last year and in this spring?

Pressley: The thing about John is he is one of those guys that is going to go out there everyday to get better. You see him out there with the guys: asking questions, asking coach questions and he pays attention. He pays attention to his job and he wants to know the jobs of everyone around him so he can play better. That's really important when guys do that so they see the big picture.

Also his body has developed a lot better. I think when he came in last year to camp, he had that time off where he couldn't play. He came into the weight room, developed his body a little bit and he's going really well. He's a fast guy for the as big as he is and he's really learning how to use that speed and be big at the same time.

BN: Bill Rentmeester is finally healthy and you're bringing in Sam Spitz in the fall. Talk about what Bill has been able to do to contribute to the second team and to you, helping push you to make you better and about what Sam brings?

Pressley: Billy has really pushed me. We work together, obviously, and he's a very capable fullback. Any other place he goes he'd probably be a starter. He's pushing me because he knows he's the guy if I go down or something. We push each other and it's one of those situations where he knows that I am pushing him as much as he's pushing me. We just want to get better. Being a fullback in an offense sometimes gets kicked to the curb and we want to make sure that that is a position stays one that is appreciate and one that people see.

I really can't speak a lot about Sam because I haven't seen him play yet. From what I hear, he's going to be a good addition and he's really going to push us and make us a deeper at that position. We all know what our job is and we'll make sure of that we do our job to help the team.

BN: The offense returns four offensive linemen and you have John (Moffitt) filling in for Marcus Coleman. Basically, you didn't lose a player. Would it be fair to say that other than the running backs that the line is the strongest position on this team in terms of experience?

Pressley: They're strong. Like I said before I got to work with those guys and they know how to work things on the line really well. They get everything going and those guys are strong, ready to go, have time under their belt and understand they have to get to that level so they can be more physical than their opponent.

They are a strong group and the sky is limit for them as long as they put in that time in the off season and understand working together. As long as they are working, that's great and I think they are because Coach Bostad is doing a hell of a job with getting those guys ready, stronger and more understanding of the game.

BN: It is still very early in the process but how good can the offense be? You lose some key personal but you return a lot of key personal, too.

Pressley: We can be as good as we want to be. We have all the tools and backups that are just as capable of playing as the starters. Our offense is really going to play to the level that we want to play to. We have to understand that because we raise the bar every time. We got to go out there and make teams play to us and that's what we're going to focus in on this year. We're Big 10, UW football. People come to see us run, be physical, be big, see the receivers catch the ball and that's what we're going to do and we understand all that. We're going to be as good as we want to be and as we make ourselves to be.

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