A Step A Day

After graduating from Walworth Big Foot early so he could get a jump start on his Wisconsin career, freshman Travis Frederick had two simple goals entering camp: make one solid step a day and learn from it so it comes naturally.

Badger Nation: Have you felt like you have been thrown into the fire or do you feel you are slowly getting what is being expected of you?

Travis Frederick: I think I am starting to get it. That first day, I was kind of like, ‘Ahhhhhh' and that first week was really out of my concept and my comfort zone. I think I am getting use to now. We're getting extra stretching in before practice and the weight room stuff helps out.

BN: What's Coach Bostad preaching to you? He obviously had a big deal you're your recruitment, but what has been the message in camp he's given to you?

TF: He just wants me to get better every day. Going out there, I need to make improvements, look at my film and see what I did wrong and fix it everyday. If I could make one step everyday, 15 steps is a lot in the game of football.

BN: Where have been the steps that you feel that you have made?

TF: Well, I've had to take a couple adjusting to the speed of the game. Obviously it's a lot different. The physicality is a lot different and another one. I've got to get my pad level down. I've done a little bit better at that but I've got to continue to work at that. I have to work at throwing my head across and use my head and body more because that will help control the defensive line a little bit better.

BN: You played a lot of tackle at Walworth Big Foot and we talked before you came here that Coach Bostad was going to put you at guard. Now they've put you at center. What was the big transition point from guard to center that they felt would be a good fit for you?

TF: I think it has to do with the way I can understand things quickly and I can pick up and read the defense a little bit better. There is a lot of calls at center that there isn't at guard, just from learning both positions. As a center, you do presnap calls and lot more to understand about the play than guard. I think me being able to understand that, it makes me better at both center and guard. Coach Bostad wants to keep me versatile in there.

BN: I take it that it doesn't matter what position you play as long as you can contribute somewhere, but the big change to center is that you don't pull as much? Have you played any center before this?

TF: I have never really played any formal center. I played in junior tackle when I was a little kid, but not other than that. My older brother was a quarterback, so I was always taking snaps with him in the backyard. That may or may not have helped.

You actually take a lot of pulls here at center. I dare say more than guard. Me getting to the outside is a good thing. I think that I am decent once I get to the outside.

BN: Who has been your role model since you got up here? Which offensive lineman has really spoken up to you and guided you? I know you and Jake Current are pretty good friends.

TF: Yeah, Jake Current has done a great job of helping me out and pushing me in the right direction. It seems like he really knows what he is doing. Peter Konz has helped a lot, both on the field and off the field adjusting to college. John Moffitt has done a great job of guiding me in the right direction and center and help me make my reads and do what I am doing. By listening to him, he pretty much knows what he is doing, so he's a good guy to look up to.

BN: At Big Foot, you were the biggest guy on the field. Now you are just one of the big guys on the field. What's it like having a super-sized defensive line standing in front of you that can do a lot of good things?

TF: It's way different and it's nice, for me, that instead of everybody being smaller and less experienced than me and asking me the questions, I can go out there and I can get better every day against these guys that are just incredible. J.J. Watt is phenomenal, and to be able to go against him each day is making me a lot better. The more times I can block him in practice, the better I am and the better is it helping me adjust.

BN: Do you feel that as you progress, fewer and fewer things are getting away from you? Maybe Watt is getting by you a lot on the first day, but the number of times he gets by you has gotten less and less?

TF: I think I can. It really helps when I am looking back on film and see my footwork getting a little bit better or on a pass set, I can step a little bit farther. Being able to watch film and watch it in slow motion, I can really analyze those little tiny points.

BN: You talk about making steps. What are some of the big steps you want to make before the spring game?

TF: The biggest step is that I've got to get my pad level down. I've got to be able to shoot in there and move some people. I've got to keep my butt down so I can really pound that step. My second step in the ground is really important. I can move that guy a lot better that way. Being able to move and I want to be able to understand the offense almost completely by the spring game. I don't want to make any mistakes. I don't want to make any errors in who I am blocking to or who I am directing to. Hopefully, I can get that part down.

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