Pressuring Allan Evridge

With head coach Bret Bielema naming fifth-year Allan Evridge the starting quarterback entering camp and with the signal caller looking every bit the part, Evridge looks primed to take control of the UW offense in 2008. Badger Nation's Aaron Brenner gets the answers.

Does it matter that you guys are highly ranked to being the season?

"Right now, everybody, we're just trying to worry about what's happening in-house, and keeping things ready, and trying to look forward to the first game, trying to take it one game at a time. That's our main focus and our main goal."

Do you even know the rankings? Like who's No. 1?

"To be honest with you, I don't. I'm not a big media guy, I try to stay out of it and try to worry about this season and the guys that are around me in the locker room."

What did you learn from being the backup last season?

"There's a lot of experience, it's just another year in the offense. It's just tremendous being able to sit back and watch somebody play and see the mistakes that they make, see what they do well, and you just try to learn as much as you can. It's just another year to build camaraderie with the guys as well. There's a lot of things you can take from that."

Was Saturday's scrimmage exciting for you?

"It's fun. I love those types of game situations. It's always good when you take it down 80 (yards), especially against a solid defense like we have. Those guys are all incredible on the other side of the ball. So it's always fun when you get the better of them, it goes back and forth a lot."

What's it like playing with all the weapons you have on offense?

"It's always nice. You look behind you and you see a slew of backs; you look to the left, you see Travis, a lot of those guys, then you see Garrett Graham. There's just tremendous athletes everywhere. Now we've just got to continue to work and become one cohesive unit, keep working and executing the plan that Coach has set up for us, and things should work out."

What kind of leader are you?

"For me, there's no real A plus B equals C, it's just be yourself. People can tell if you're faking that, I've just always tried to act the same way and if you need to speak at certain times, you do. I've always been more of an encouraging type of guy to begin with, and then if you need to get on them, then they know that something's up. I just told people to get on the ball and then play, just get that bonding in there."

How has your military background shaped you as a college athlete? (Evridge's father is currently a Major in the Air Force)

"I think I used a lot of it just transferring in here. I moved around to a lot of different schools and it was just moving in different situations, meeting different people, and you develop a lot of interpersonal skills, how to adapt, and I think that does play a huge role."

"I lived in D.C., Virginia, Colorado Springs, California, Montana, kind of back over to Nebraska, Kansas, went to six different elementary schools first through fifth grade. I was moving around a little bit"

Is it exciting to finally be here, the starting QB at Wisconsin after the transfer?

"It definitely is. As far as the whole transfer thing, I feel like I don't even think about Kansas State right now, I've been with these guys for a long time. This is my team, these are my guys. I'm just super excited to have an opportunity to play with them and the closer the game gets, obviously, the more anticipation people have and the more excited they are. Luckily, we have some more weeks to get better prepared, but I've always looked at it as ‘game day, that's a payday'. We're getting closer to that payday, we're putting in all this hard work, and it should be fun."

What needs to be worked on the next few weeks?

"There's a lot that needs to be fixed, a lot of little tuning things. We're going in the right direction, but at the end of the day, you can always do more. It's always good to have that time, but I think we're going in the right direction, but we're not there yet."

"I'm very comfortable with the offense. I think right now, the biggest thing I have to do is follow the game plan and not over think certain situations, just let the game come to me."

How is it working with such a young group of wide receivers?

"My hat goes off to those guys right now, they're all flying around, they're all running hard, if they do make mistakes, I love seeing that they're making mistakes at 100 miles an hour. They're all looking pretty good, you can't have anything bad to say about any of the guys, they're all working very hard. I've been very, very impressed with them as a whole group."

How important will returning tight ends Travis Beckum and Garrett Graham be early in the season?

"Everybody's important to every game. If you look across the whole team, even scout team, all those guys that aren't playing right now have a huge pivotal role in preparation for game week. Somebody like Travis, or Garrett, those are two huge key components in our offense, so obviously, if they're not there, then it definitely takes somebody away. That's the great thing about competition, somebody will then step up. Look at Garrett's situation last year. He wasn't even scheduled to be the starter and then Crooks went down. Garrett stepped in and couldn't take him off the field because he was playing so well. So it gives somebody else an opportunity to emerge, but obviously you'd like to have those guys stay healthy."

Do you feel pressure as the starting quarterback for a highly-regarded Big Ten team?

"I think the most pressure comes from yourself. You obviously want to be the best that you can be. As far as all that outside stuff, as I said earlier, I don't really pay attention to that. It's all kind of what's in-house and what's in the locker room, that's the most important thing. We have those pressures and getting ready for the first game."

Talk about scheduling some voluntary workouts during summer conditioning

"We had a lot of passing throughout the summer. I think the guys showed up and played, worked hard. We made a lot of strides throughout the summer, so it's good to get that knocked out, took away a lot of the growing pains that could have shown up in the beginning of fall camp."

"It's something that we always try to do. I think most schools throughout the country try to get together and throw. It wasn't hard when the guys were there already. Everybody's pretty hungry after last season and looking forward to the '08 season."

Who's the most vocal player on the offensive line?

"There's actually so much talent across the board, I couldn't tell you. You look right to left, they're all playing so well. I don't know if there is one, probably John Moffitt, because he's the center making the calls. But they're just such a tight, great group, can't really find one, they're all such tremendous players and people."

What does 1-0 mean to you?

"1-0 is as simple as it is and it's also as complicated as you want to make it. It's just you go out and look at each week, take every game one at a time, don't look forward to the next game, just worry about what's at hand, take on that situation with everything you've got and then once that's over, you move on to the next one. It's just not looking ahead, not looking back, working out what's in front of you."

"I think a lot of the guys, you realize throughout your career, that if you're looking ahead, you see a lot of teams will lose to teams you wouldn't think they would. I think it pops up throughout people's career, they learn as people mature that it is important to focus on what's now and not what's in the future."

What does Wisconsin football mean to you?

"It means a lot of friends out there having fun, sweating, doing work in the summer when people aren't around during vacation breaks, just trying to become the best team possible,= and have fun playing the game we all love. It definitely brings a smile to my face when I think Wisconsin football."

Wisconsin has always boasted a strong running game. How does the passing game fit in?

"You really can't have one without the other. If you don't have a passing game, then they're going to load the box and it's going to be harder for those guys. Look what we have, we have a great line and they could probably make it work. But they both play off each other. If you run the ball well, you should have a lot of good play action, a lot of good opportunities to throw the ball. One goes with the other, if we put together a good passing game, we should also have tremendous run looks. They all kind of complement each other."

Finally, is there any significance behind wearing No. 4?

"There were a couple numbers. I should have thought about it before I came here, especially with the whole Brett thing now. When I first came, it was really funny because we wear green, and Andy Crooks, he's a good friend of mine and he's a huge Brett Favre and Packer fan, he always used to make fun of me. I should have thought about the significance of the number before I came here, but it was one of the few open numbers.

Anybody ever make mention of Favre?

"Sometimes, the old throw-a-ball, Travis goes, ‘all right, Favre', a little bit, but really not that often."

Did you think of changing the number once No. 12 was available? (Evridge wore No. 12 at Kansas State, and Tyler Donovan recently graduated from UW, making that number available for 2008)

"It's just a number, it doesn't define who you are as a person. The number I came here with, the number I'll just keep. There's no significance either way having it or not."

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