Maragos Making Strides

After hoping to just see some time on the field in the spring, junior Chris Maragos has progressed so much that he already has earned a starting job in the Wisconsin secondary.

Chris, what did that start mean to you on Saturday? You came here talking about wanting to get better and now you're starting in your first year here.

I mean, it's a great feeling. Obviously when you come here, your work ethic is something you want the coaches to see. For me, it was sticking to my persistence and working hard everyday. It means a lot, especially growing up as a hometown kid and going to Badger games all the time. It's unbelievable.

They didn't take long to come after you. They always seem to find the new guy right away.

First play huh? I figured they would probably do something like that coming at me. That's the way it goes.

When you looked on tape and you weighed the good and the bad, what did you see?

A lot of good things but also bad things too. I think when you are a competitor and an athlete, you always want to take a look at what you are doing with a grain of salt. You really want to be your own worst critic. I know coaches say that a lot. That's something that I really want to try and do. The good things that I do, make them better. The bad things that I do, correct them and make them good things. That's really the mentality that I've been trying to have.

In your mind, what were some of the things you didn't do well that you need to do better?

Just reading run and pass, reacting better to some things. I think just the experience that I have being out there, just reacting a little better to some things is the one thing I really want to do a lot better.

Has the competition between you and Shane (Carter) intensified this week?

Shane and I have a great relationship and we're both great competitors. We want to go out there and compete and ultimately, we want the team to win. Whoever is going to be out there and playing, that's who we want out there to give us the best opportunity to beat Iowa.

Did Shane take that switch in stride?

Yeah he did. Me and Shane are both really mature guys. We really just want to make it a friendly competition. That's what I really think we've done. He's been great about it. When he's in there, I am trying to help him and when I am in there, he's trying to help me. I think we both really have an attitude that we want to help the team as much as we can.

If that you two feed off each other, by watching each other's back?

Yeah totally. I look at him and I see the things that he does really well and I try to imply them to my game. He tells me all the time that the things I do well, he wants to do to. I think it's learning from each other, because he understands the defense really well and that's something that I really want to continue to do.

Coaches said that tackling has been an issue. Do you think you are a good tackler?

You know, tackling is a lot of technique but at the same time, it's just effort. There's a balance to it. I like to pride myself on my effort. I just like to go out there and if I am wrong, I am going to be doing it at 100 miles an hour. That's the attitude that I have taken into everything. You're half right if you are going full speed.

When you made the switch to defense, did the tackling just come back to you quickly?

It's different. You really have to think about it. Offensive people are trying to make guys miss and avoid people while defense is trying to hit them. When it comes down to it, you get in the swing of things real quick and things start to come a little bit natural for you and the more you work on it and think about it, the more things come to you.

Were you surprised when they told you that you were going to start?

Um, a little bit at first. I think through the preparation that I had a pretty good feel for the defense and the game plan going in, studying film as well. We were splitting reps throughout the whole week so I had an idea that something was going to go on. I wouldn't say that it was this huge shock but it was definitely exciting.

What are the big challenges that you face with Iowa?

They have a big running back. Great size up front. They're just really solid all the way around. We're excited to go down and play a quality team in a quality atmosphere. They've had some big plays. Does that come off of play action because they run it pretty well?

Definitely. The run game helps the pass game and the pass game helps the run game. When you have a big back like that and an offensive line that can move the ball, I think that really helps throwing the ball down the field and get things going.

How much pressure does that put on you because you want to help stop the run?

Sure, it definitely does. The biggest thing we want to focus on is reading our keys and knowing our assignments of what we're expected to do. From there, execute the play as we should.

Did you show enough good things last week that the coaches know that you are reliable in the secondary for the rest of the season?

I don't think it really was just Saturday. I think it's more or less a continuation of the spring and the fall and things like that. There are definitely things I do well and definitely things I need to improve on. With that being said, I am going to continue to keep working and getting better.

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