There's More on the Table for Beckum

After a successful shoulder surgery to repair an injury suffered against the Gophers, senior tight end Travis Beckum is ready to go, hoping to put up even bigger numbers in 2008.

MADISON - It's not often you see one of the more talented players at their position in the country say no to the NFL and say yes to school. Then again, it's not often you see such a team-oriented guy in Travis Beckum.

Leading the nation's tight ends in receiving yards (982) and ranked No. 2 in receptions (75) in 2007, Beckum's 75 receptions were most ever for a Badger tight end (breaking his own record of 61 that he set in 2006), tied for most in school history (any position) and he knows he can do better.

That's why after a successful shoulder surgery, Beckum told Badger Nation that he used this season's spring practices as a learning experience for him, watching the defensive schemes and patterns in order to be a more effective wide receiver.

BN: I haven't talked to you since the Outback Bowl but how did your shoulder surgery go? Everything work out A'OK?

Travis Beckum: Yes sir. It is going real good. I am up to date with all my recovery, which was what I intended to do when I had my surgery in January. That was the big issue when I had my surgery on January 4.

BN: You've been running routes and working out during spring practices but you've also been involved with the offense, usually holding a clipboard and directing traffic. How important was it to do that and not just sit on the sidelines?

Travis Beckum: It's been good, especially working with some of the younger guys. Spring ball is the time for them to step up to the plate and for me to sit back and coach as well as going out there and running routes. I am just trying to help other guys with what they are doing and it's been good.

BN: Watching from the sidelines, have you picked up on the things that you wouldn't normally learn if you were running routes, that you are seeing things from a different angle?

Travis Beckum: I am. I am actually watching a lot of the defense to see what the defense is running before the snap. That's one of the things I wanted to key on while I had this time off from practices. I wanted to be able to read defenses pre-snap and I think that's going to help.

BN: What have you liked from Mickey (Turner) and Lance (Kendricks) this year? With you and Garrett out, they have gotten a lot of reps. What are some of things that that have done that you've been impressed with?

Travis Beckum: They are making the plays and that's something we kept we reiterated to them and telling them they needed to. They needed to step up with me and Garrett out, to make plays and take advantage of the opportunity that they have now, which I think they are both doing a great job at. Some of the other tight ends, too. Just in general, the key was for them was to step up to the plate and play ball.

BN: Why did you decide to come back this year? You were projected pretty high, but what about Wisconsin made you want to try and repeat the solid year that you had last year?

Travis Beckum: I have heard so many things from second round to third round. I just think that I can play better and have the potential to put myself higher (in the projections) and play better than I did last year. There is always room for me to grow and I didn't think that one more year was going to be bad for me. Coming back, I wanted to get my blocking down and my route running. I just looked at it as coming back was another year for me to get better.

BN: As a coach on the sidelines, what have you liked from Mr. Evridge and Mr. Sherer as they compete for the starting quarterback job?

Travis Beckum: Like you said, they are competing and that's something that you always like to see. I don't think that any player should just be given something. I am a big believer that respect is given, it's earned. I think that they are both earning the respect, they are both playing well and they just need to continue to do that throughout the summer and may be the best man win.

BN: Talk about the wide receivers. There is a lot of youth there after having a lot of experience there last year. What have you seen from there and how they have gone through the growing pains?

Travis Beckum: We lost two key wide receivers last year with Paul Hubbard and Luke Swan and somebody is going to have to step up. They have big shoes to fill and somebody is going to have to step up to the plate and fill that challenge. The quarterbacks are putting up the deep balls and there are wide receivers that can make that catch. The receivers are stepping up and playing well. They just need to keep doing it.

BN: When you do you foresee that you will be cleared 100 percent for full contact?

Travis Beckum: I hope summer conditioning. That is my time when I hope I will come back. Something I intended to do when I was out was to put on weight and I've put on 10 pounds. It's something that I am continuing to do because I want to be overall stronger. I want to be both physically and mentally strong.

BN: Talking with veterans after the Outback Bowl, the seniors have said that they were going to take it upon themselves to work very hard this off season to make sure that last season doesn't happen again in terms of struggling in conference and finishing the year on a loss. How are you approaching the season? Are you approaching it with a sour taste in your mouth? Determination? Take it as it comes? What's your attitude as you go into your senior season?

Travis Beckum: Well, the year before, we went 12-1. Last year, we went 9-4, which we were a better team than that and our record didn't show that. That's something that happens. I am not big believer in the past. We're going to take this year saying it's our last year. Our seniors are going to need to play a big role, especially in the leadership aspect. We're going to definitely need to do some leading and have other guys follow us. We're going to need to work hard to make people follow us.

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