Getting in Tune

After seeing little reps in the non-conference season, Wisconsin freshman Nick Toon has seen his reps and catches increase, giving Badger fans a glimpse of what is yet to come.

MADISON - Utter the name 'Toon' and long-time Badger fans will likely have a story to tell. Starring at wide receiver from 1983 to 1984, Al Toon left Wisconsin as the school's career receiving leader (131 catches, 2,103 yards, 19 TDs) and played eight seasons in the NFL.

Al's son, Nick, is aware of his father's accomplishments and is hoping that Wisconsin fans remember his name when he leaves Madison, as well.

Wisconsin's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2006, Nick Toon came highly recruited to Wisconsin in order to follow the great Badger receivers that have come before him. While he spent last season studying from the sidelines, Toon has overcome a nagging hamstring injury to start giving the Wisconsin offense some production, something the Badgers surely need in their last six games of the season.

Talking to you early this year, you were frustrated about not being able to contribute because of your hamstring injury. How do you try to prepare yourself while you were sidelined so you would be ready for when you got on the field?

I used that time to really try to stay mentally prepared, learn the offense and do everything that I could do to get ready to be on the field. It was real difficult to do because the mental part of the game is only half the battle. You have to go out there, run the routes and catch the ball. Those are probably the two biggest things that I learned.

After your redshirt season, did you feel like you were ready to go in the spring? You started off hot and then after the injury happened, you seemed like it was nagging you and it was hard for you to get back in rhythm.

I was real anxious to get out here and try to make a name for myself and make plays. Like you said, my hamstring held me back. It is an unfortunate part of the game but it is part of the game and you just have to deal with it and move forward.

How did you push yourself in fall camp to make up for some of the time that you lost in the spring and move forward?

Like you said, going into fall camp I knew that I missed all of spring ball and I needed to make up for lost time. I just had to come out ready to go, ready to learn and ready to make plays.

What was that Michigan game like for you from a personal aspect? That was the first time you were really integrated into the offense in a key situation. How would you describe that experience for you?

I would say that it was a combination of everything. I wasn't super nervous but I was excited, happy to be on the field because it was my first opportunity to be out there. I just wanted to take advantage from the reps that I got and used that opportunity to go out and make plays. I learned a lot from that game and I am trying to take what I learned from that game and use it in the future and move forward.

That was the game where the receiving core really struggled with catching the ball. How did Coach Alexander respond that next week in preparing you guys? How has he tried to turn those negatives into positives?

We had a tough game but our team philosophy is to learn from our mistakes and move forward. That's what he did. We corrected what we needed to have corrected. We learned from our mistakes, we watched the film and saw the corrections that we needed to make and we've moved forward from that game.

What are you learning when you are going against these Big Ten defenses? Is it like learning on the fly for you or are you starting to pick up things when you study for them during the week?

The majority from my learning comes from the film and going against the scout team during the week. Obviously, the scout team is not going to be the same as the defense you are facing that weekend. Our scout team does a great job of giving us a good look at the defenses we're going to be facing. We try to learn from that and learn from film and then when we get out there, everything is not going to be the same because everyone makes adjustments. You've got to know what you're trying to accomplish in your offense and play your game.

What have you tried to accomplish this year?

I just wanted to come out, learn the offense, establish myself as a play-making receiver here and hopefully by the end of the season to start a game. If you don't have aspirations to start, you don't have the right mindset. That's obviously my goal. I am just trying to learn, move forward and do everything the coaches are asking of me.

Coach Bielema said publically that the team hasn't changed any of its 13 goals. How valuable is that knowing this team has a lot left to accomplish?

Any team that doesn't want to win is out there for the wrong reasons. We know we need to win to get where we want to go. Obviously, we're going to try to go out there and win every time we step on the field. Every game is important now. We just need to go out there and take care of our business this weekend.

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