August 26, 2010

Ball likes depth at running back

MADISON - A season ago, Montee Ball received meaningful reps as a true freshman behind John Clay. As a result, he enters his sophomore season with plenty of experience, and more importantly, confidence.

With the season opener just over a week away, had the chance to catch up with the Badger running back. The following is a question and answer with Ball.

You've been through quite a bit of practice now, how are the legs holding up?

Ball: The legs are not too bad. They could be better, but that's what's camp is for. It makes you mentally stronger and physically stronger. I'm just taking it in.

It's your second go around in fall camp. How is this year different as compared to last year?

Ball: I know what to expect and I know how my body is going to feel. I know how I'm going to approach stuff now since I did it last year. It's fun. We're improving a lot and we have to stay focused. We plan on doing big things.

Do you really feel that the team is starting to click a little bit? Are you guys starting to come together as far as running plays pretty well and being crisp and things like that?

Ball: Yeah, that's what the two-a-day's are for and the 30 periods that we do. The film, we all stayed focused over the summer and watched film to have that.

What was your mindset and your approach when it came to film this year? Were you in there quite a bit?

Ball: Yes I was. Like I said, when coach John Settle gave us our own little films or our little cut tapes he gave us of every one last year and watching teams that we're going to play this year and watching techniques I'm sure will help.

If you had to put a number on it how many hours a day would you say you're in the film room?

Ball: Hours a day? I'd say just about an hour and a half a day. If you'd say a week I'd say probably four or five hours a week.

Is that pretty standard for most guys?

Ball: No, positions are different. Scott Tolzien obviously has to watch more film to prepare. But I felt like I've watched enough film to improve on the field.

Talk about your running back group. Obviously you and John are up there at the top but talk about some of these younger guys and the other veteran Zach Brown, too.

Ball: Starting off with John, he's doing pretty well. He's doing what he can and he's pounding the ball. He had a nice one today. I feel like I'm improving myself by staying focused and with small techniques and stuff like that. James White is improving a lot. He's stepping up. He's stepping up to the plate and Zach is really good at teaching us everything we need to know. He's showing up too.

Is White the change of pace back you guys could use?

Ball: Oh for sure. That's a given. He's most definitely the quickest one. He's most definitely a change of pace. We've got some depth now in our group.

Is he the fastest guy, too?

Ball: Yeah, he's the quickest and the fastest.

Two weeks from today (at the time of the interview) is gameday. Is there still stuff you're trying to shore up? I'm assuming there probably is.

Ball: Stuff I need to freshen up on? Oh yeah, for sure. I feel like we're all thinking you can always improve all the way up until game day. You can always improve on something and it will just make you better.

What would you need to focus on? What are you hoping to accomplish before UNLV?

Ball: Stay focused and just come out hungry and read to go and fly around.

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