Streaking to the Finish

Isaac Anderson made headlines last season with his 80-yard touchdown catch to kick off the 2009 season, but what people forget is the senior wide receiver's all-around ability to make plays with the ball in or out of his hands.

MADISON - Talking to reporters during last year's fall camp, Isaac Anderson often referred back to how his performance against Minnesota his sophomore season was an important first step in becoming a valuable playmaker within the Wisconsin offense. It was no surprised that Anderson referred back to last season's home opener as a similar first step. Scoring his first career touchdown on UW's first offensive play, Anderson had surpassed the 100-yard receiving barrier by the end of the first quarter and scored his first career rushing touchdown on the first play of the second quarter, two plays that provided a big boost to UW's offense in the Badgers' 28-20 victory.

Not only did it boost Wisconsin's season, it gave Anderson a breakout year. Starting in 12 of the 13 games he played in, Anderson averaged a team-high 16.0 yards per catch, finished third on team with 30 receptions, 480 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns and finished fourth with 629 all purpose yards (all career high marks)

Now entering his final season, Anderson is hoping to surpass those numbers, and continue his above-average skill at blocking, something that got him into the rotation in the first place.

Badger Nation: When people think about you, they think about that 80-yard touchdown catch on the first play of scrimmage that got the season off to a hot start. A lot of people don't realize how good of a blocking receiver you are. Is that one of the best things that you are bringing to the table?

Isaac Anderson: You know, that's part of Wisconsin football, trying to be the tough guy and go in there to hit a safety. That's our number one priority in our run game to attack the safeties coming down hill. At the Z position, that's one of the biggest things, going in there and blocking. Looking at myself as a blocker and a receiver, you want to be able to block and catch the ball.

Badger Nation: As a group, do you feel the wide receivers made a big leap forward last year in terms of balancing this offense and making it explosive?

Isaac Anderson: Yeah, I definitely think we took advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves. I definitely think with Scott Tolzien coming in, our communication was better and I think we became more comfortable with Tolzien, especially since we brought a lot more experience back than the year before.

Badger Nation: Having Scott out there every game and knowing that he was going to be out there – having that consistency factor – had to play a big role for you, especially moving forward into the 2010 season?

Isaac Anderson: Right, it's definitely a testament to our hardwork going into last season working with Scott on and off the field and in the film room. Every day last summer, we worked pretty much an hour each day to get our timing down, building a relationship and being comfortable with each other. I think we are much more on the same page coming into this year.

Badger Nation: As much hard work as you put into last year, how much hard work do you have to put into this year to make sure a 10-win season isn't a fluke or forgotten so quickly?

Isaac Anderson: Right, we definitely as a group of seniors on this team have set high expectations for ourselves. We definitely try to hold each other accountable and set an example for the younger guys to follow. The previous senior class did a real good job of that, and we just want to continue to put in the extra overtime work off the field going into camp to make everyone better.

Badger Nation: You've been here through bowl wins and bowl losses. Is there a difference in a team during winter conditioning and spring football coming off a big bowl win than the opposite?

Isaac Anderson: You can feel a difference this year. We had a conversation in our team meeting about how we can't become complacent in what we did a year ago. That's in the past. Right now with our progress, we're halfway through spring ball and we want to focus in on moving forward and not being stuck with a 10-win season as of last year. We want to raise the standard of our team and understand that the things we did last year, we have to build on them and continue to perfect them and do more of what we did last year.

Badger Nation: How have you tried to raise your personal standard to try and be a better wide receiver?

Isaac Anderson: It starts with one, communication with the quarterbacks. I think that helps out a lot. The more you can get an understanding of why you ran a certain way or cut a certain way on passing you don't complete, you have a better understanding of how to correct it the next time. Two, camaraderie is the biggest thing on our team right now. I think we have all around in all positions that we are real comfortable with each other.

Myself personally, I have been real detailed in everything I do and treat practice and every situation like it's a game situation. I want to visualize running routes against the defensive backs and making plays. Separation is the key for me because I am a smaller guy and I can get away from guys. Just being really thorough and detailed.

Badger Nation: What's the biggest thing you are struggling with right now? Is it staying focused throughout a drill? Hanging on to the ball? Running routes?

Isaac Anderson: I would say, sometimes I tend to go too hard and I don't stick to my fundamentals. I try to go ‘over hard' instead of sticking to myself and the plays. Sometimes, I tend to get myself too wound up and I have to relax in certain circumstances and situations. I just have to trust myself, because I have the ability to do everything.

Badger Nation: How excited are you about this wide receiver group? Kyle Jefferson and David Gilreath look like they are having good springs, Nick Toon looks better and some younger guys like Jared Abbrederis are stepping up. You have to be excited about the group?

Isaac Anderson: I know. Definitely this year, the offense is going to go with how the wide receivers go. The ball with definitely will be in our hands more this year. We have set high expectations. We looked at film at how many opportunities we had a chance to score last year compared to the times we did. We want to capitalize on all those opportunities and the key to that is knowing that we are coming out here everyday preparing for the upcoming season.

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