Hill Cleans Out the Bad Vibes

Finally healthy after missing time last season with a foot injury, P.J. Hill is running with a purpose for the Badgers during spring ball and is taking advantage of his bonus time in the Wisconsin backfield.

MADISON - P.J. Hill has done pretty good for himself without participating in spring workouts.

In just two seasons in the Wisconsin backfield, Hill is one of just three players (Ron Dayne and Anthony Davis) in school history to have rushed for 1,000 yards in each of their first two seasons, already ranks ninth on school's career rushing yardage list with 2,805 yards and fifth on UW career rushing TDs list with 29.

The only problem is that Hill, who broke his foot and redshirted in 2005, has broken down at the end of every season and missed significant amount of time over his career.

This year is different for Hill, who has not missed a practice and has been healthy throughout the winter conditioning program. It's a good thing, too, as the Badgers have three talented backs that are pushing for Hill's starting job. But as Hill told Badger Nation, the competition, while intense, is still a friendly one between teammates.

BN: I guess the first question to ask you is how are you feeling? We aren't use to seeing you during spring practice.

P.J. Hill: (laugh) Yeah, yeah. I'm feeling better than I've ever felt. Every day I'm just going out there, working hard. I'm not in the training room anymore and I'm pretty proud of it. I'm doing things right in the weight room, I'm taking care of my body, stretching a lot, eating right, getting some things in my body that I need.

BN: How has the running back competition gone for you? Is it a friendly competition between all four of you?

P.J. Hill: Everybody's getting the same amount of reps. We have a good running back core as of now. Last year (Zach) stepped up and did a very good job and I was very proud of him. Nobody has anything against each other. If I see (Zach), Lance, Clay making a mistake, I pull them over because in a game situation they could be that guy, make a big play, do some things for us.

BN: Would it be a big deal to you if your carries decreased because one of your teammates stepped up in the backfield? How would the play calling chance do you think?

P.J. Hill: I know those guys can do the job. I'll cheer them on; those are my teammates, they got to win the game, I'm on the same team so I want to win with them. It depends on the coaches calling the plays and what they want, but as long as I can contribute to the team, and do what I can, I have no problem doing it.

BN: Since you are the back with the most experience on the unit, have you taken on more of a leadership or teaching role with the others?

P.J. Hill: When I see something wrong, I'll pull them over. But I like to lead by example. I lot of times I won't say anything except ‘watch how I do it.' It's all just to better their game, because those guys have a lot of ability and can fill in the tailback position as well as I can.

BN: What's been the biggest characteristic of the running backs? What is something you guys all have in common?

P.J. Hill: A lot of things but we all work hard. I expect those guys to come out working hard. We've always been a group that works very hard. When you're in, you're the guy that needs to do the job to the best of your ability. A lot of games can be changed from us running the ball very hard and doing the things we've got to do. We're going to compete, go out there and give it their all.

BN: Being from the east coast, when you first started looking at schools, what was something that attracted you to Wisconsin?

P.J. Hill: That's one of the reasons why I came here. This school is known for breeding great running backs, so when I came here, I was like, ‘I want to be the best running back I can be.' You got Ron Dayne, Calhoun and I could be next in line to come out of the University of Wisconsin and playing for the Badgers. So right now I'm very proud of my decision.

BN: Your running style has been compared to Dayne's. You two have had communications in the past, how often, if any, do you talk to him now?

P.J. Hill: I'm pretty close with Ron Dayne. He has my number and we keep in contact. He told me if I have any advice to talk to him and I have no problem talking to him because he's a very open-minded guy, a guy that you can really talk to.

BN: Lastly, what motivated P.J. Hill? What is motivating you right now?

P.J. Hill: You see one guy doing better and getting compliments from coaches, it makes the next guy want to step up because he also wants to hear those things.

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