Two Deep Walk-On

On Media Day, Ethan Armstrong was just happy to be involved in the Wisconsin program. Six months later, the talented walk-on linebacker is looking to make significant strides in his development, as Armstrong continues to get plenty of reps at linebacker.

Badger Nation: The first time we talked at UW media day in the fall, you were just happy to be here. Now you are in the two deep. This seems like an important time for you and your progression, so what does this spring mean to you?

Ethan Armstrong: Well, this spring means a lot to me. I am really excited about the opportunities that I am getting of being a walk-on, getting into the two-deep in my first spring here is really exciting for me. I am going to have to make the most of my opportunities and watch what the older guys do, learn from them, learn from my mistakes and get better as a football player.

Badger Nation: People spend their redshirt year in different ways and doing different things. How did you spend yours and how did it benefit you?

Ethan Armstrong: My redshirt year benefited me because I was able to sit back and watch what the seniors did and how they handled their business. I learned a lot of great lesson from great people, people like Chris Maragos, Mickey Turner and those guys. I really benefited from that.

Badger Nation: What do you get from watching people that don't play your position?

Ethan Armstrong: Well, you grow not only as a football player, but as a person. I learned a lot and grew a lot as a person coming here, and that's what I learned from those guys.

Badger Nation: Jae McFadden was a tenacious tackler. Can you talk about watching him and what you got from him?

Ethan Armstrong: He was an animal. What I got from Jae is that he brought it everyday in practice. No matter what it was, he brought the same intensity. He was always a very likeable guy, helped out the young guys, was willing to teach and to help.

Badger Nation: How have you changed your body in one year?

Ethan Armstrong: My body has definitely changed. Definitely, definitely. The strength staff knows what they are doing. They've got a great program here, and the stuff that they do is incredible. In terms of weight, I was a shade under 240 when I got in here and right now, I am 235. I dropped a little bit of weight, but I trimmed off a lot of fat and added a bunch of muscle and toned up a bit.

Badger Nation: That obviously makes a big difference, and how has it made a different to you in just a few practices?

Ethan Armstrong: I feel a lot faster. I feel a lot faster than when I came in as a freshman, and I feel a lot more powerful. I think those two things really benefit people that play linebacker.

Badger Nation: You do get a lot from scout team work, but people I've talk to say you really get a lot from winter conditioning because it's the time young guys make their strides. Was it like that for you?

Ethan Armstrong: Definitely. The stuff that really was a workout was the 6 a.m. stations with the coaches. That stuff will get you and test you. Everything we did in the weight room four days a week, really building up your body, really paid dividends for me.

Badger Nation: Culmer St. Jean and Blake Sorensen are the two senior linebackers now. What have you absorbed from them because they are going to be your leaders now?

Ethan Armstrong: They bring a lot of things that Jae brought, like bringing it every single day. The intensity is up there. Culmer brings a definite spark to the defense. I've been able to watch him because he plays the same position as me and I try to mimic what he does because he's such a good player. Blake and him both bring that leadership every single day and the guys listen. When something is going wrong, you are going to look to those guys to make it right.

Badger Nation: Culmer is another guy that really changed his body and you can tell. Watching him this spring, can you tell how he has improved?

Ethan Armstrong: He's definitely put himself in a very good situation. He's moving like I have never seen him move before. He's carrying that weight better now. He just looks incredible.

Badger Nation: You want to have guys like Chris Borland and Mike Taylor in your starting lineup, but not having them here is a big moment that benefits you. What are you trying to get being out of the two deep that is going to help you get playing time?

Ethan Armstrong: What I am trying to do, coaches are looking for consistency and they are looking for me to show them that I can be the same guy, day in and day out. In practice, that's what I am trying to show them so they can give me an opportunity to play come Saturday, whether it be an special team. I want to show them that I can be that guy. So far, I feel like I am making strides in the right direction. I've got a lot to work on, but I think I am on the right trail.

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