Getting His Head Above Water

The only member of the 2010 recruiting class to enroll early for spring football, Belleville East defensive end Warren Herring is getting a heavy dose of new philosophies and Coach Partridge teachings.

MADISON - A year ago, Wisconsin football brought in four players during second semester and saw Travis Frederick start, David Gilbert contribute and Jon Budmayr and Jordon Kohout redshirt, a result that put them in the two-deep depth chart.

Warren Herring is hoping to see those success results fall on his shoulders.

Although he caught 32 passes for 428 yards and five touchdowns in his tight end career, the coaching staff saw Herring as a formidable defensive end, a position he recorded 168 tackles and 23 sacks during his tenure. While he's decreased his position total by one, Herring's first two weeks of spring ball were anything but a snap, but the Belleville native is starting to make strides heading into the final seven practices of spring football.

Badger Nation: I assume on the first day that your eyes were bugging out of your head a little bit. After two weeks, have they retreated a little bit or have you felt like a big sponge trying to absorb everything?

Warren Herring: You know, there's a lot of things going on that I have to absorb. I am trying to take it a day at a time, a practice at a time because are looking at me to learn things fast … not fast, but mature quickly. It's a lot of things I am trying to learn, so I am a lot like a sponge right now.

Badger Nation: Is it easier focusing on just one position, because at Belleville you played both tight end and defensive end?

Warren Herring: To be honest, it's a lot harder here to focus on one position than it was at the high school level to focus on two. In high school, they don't run through a lot of stunts and pass rush. They give you a few total. Here, you have more than just a few things to learn on defensive line. It's like … it's a lot more to learn at one position on the college level because you have to work on fundamentals, alignments, know your defensive adjustments. It's a lot harder.

Badger Nation: What's it like going against Josh Oglesby every day?

Warren Herring: Man, that's a big kid. That's a big man actually. I mean … it helps me get better because I watch film after going one-on-one with him. It makes me see what I am doing wrong, what I can do to improve, but it's just a kid going against a man. The kid has to improve. Hopefully going up against him will help me get better and improve for the future.

Badger Nation: Have you watched a lot of film of yourself in practice and if so, what have you seen?

Warren Herring: Yes I have. I get in every chance I get. If I get half an hour, 45 minutes, an hour, I get in there and watch one-on-ones, watch pod drills or team drills. I just get in and watch as much as I can because I know I have some things to work on like just footwork and assignments. Coaches are pounding that into me and want me to get use to the speed of the game. Just coming out of high school, it's something I need to adjust to fast so I can get used to the college level.

Badger Nation: Were practices seven and eight your best practices?

Warren Herring: I am getting there. There are still steps I have to take to get better. I just take it a practice at a time and whenever the coaches tell me to do, I do my best, I adjust to you and do whatever they tell me to do. I rely on my assignments, learn it and read my playbook. It's another step everyday.

Badger Nation: What has Charlie Partridge meant for your improvement through a couple weeks and what is it like working with him?

Warren Herring: Working with Coach Partridge is great. He's making me better as an athlete and as a person because not only is he staying on me athletically, he's staying on me academically. He's making sure I am getting my grades, helping me with my calendar, things I have to do in class, making sure I am watching film and reading my playbook and he'll let know on the field what I am doing wrong or what I need to correct. It's a great thing with him being on me because that lets me know that he's looking forward to me doing some things in the future. He's counting on me and wants me to get better as a player so I can help out the program in the future.

Badger Nation: Since coming in January, how has your body changed?

Warren Herring: I actually feel a lot better. I am toning up working with Coach Herbert, getting stronger, faster and conditioned. If I would have came in the summer instead of now, I probably wouldn't be ready at all. I would be breathing heavy. I have gained some seven pounds of muscle in the weight room. The coaches are making sure I am lifting the right kind of weight and lifting correctly. It's getting better.

Badger Nation: You said it yourself that if you didn't come in now you would be behind. How pleased are you that you made the tough decision to graduate early and come here?

Warren Herring: I mean, of course I am disappointed that I can't be with my friends and teammates (from Belleville East), but that's the past. This is a business. As soon as I got the scholarship, it was more about my future and I needed to think about what was going to help me in the future. By getting here, compared to staying back, it was a better decision to come here so I can get used to the program, the players, the coaches, the lifestyle of being on campus. Coming in during the summer, it would have been a lot more difficult adjusting to everything. I know that being here has affected me in a positive way.

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