August 23, 2009

Brown capitalizing on reps during strong camp

MADISON, Wis. - There is no question Zach Brown is in the midst of his best training camp since being a member of the Wisconsin football team. He is running the ball hard and making the most out of every rep he receives.

Following a recent practice, caught up with the junior tailback. The following is a question and answer with the Florida native. (NOTE: This interview took place before Saturday's scrimmage.)

Talking to a lot of players, it seems everyone really enjoyed the summer workouts. Did that go well for you?

Brown: Yeah, that went real good. I think it's showing now in camp how I was able to work on my speed and get stronger. I was able to improve on a lot of things this summer.

What were some of the things you focused on in particular?

Brown: Just working on my agility and my speed. I felt like last summer I was able to get stronger so this summer I wanted to work on getting fast when I start playing with everybody else.

Do you feel like you're faster? You look faster.

Brown: Yeah, I definitely feel like I'm faster and quicker. And I was able to put on some weight and get stronger at the same time, so it was a plus overall.

Are you kind of coming into camp with a chip on your shoulder. I don't know if you were happy with the way last year went.

Brown: Yeah, definitely. Last year, I was the third down back and this year, I wanted to come in and want a bigger role. So, I just felt like it's on me to get those carries and get more playing time. So, I felt like going into camp I have to be on and I just have to ball out.

Do you think you are showing something to the coaches that you can get a lot of reps this season?

Brown: Yeah, definitely. I'm going out there and giving my hardest. I'm able to improve, make plays and I think it's showing.

How would you classify yourself as a player? You've got some power, but you've also got plenty of speed. How would you classify yourself?

Brown: Man, I would just say I have versatility. I can do a lot of stuff. I feel like I can pass block, I can hit the corner, I can go up the middle and I can do a lot of stuff. So, I'd just say I'm a versatile back.

With the offensive line and the injuries, do you notice a difference with the guys that are in there filling in for them?

Brown: I mean, yeah, they're getting reps. They're brand new. Yeah, they're making mistakes at times, but at the same time, we're seeing improvement. For this to happen, this is the best time for it to happen in camp, so they can get the reps and get that game type feeling. So, when the game time does come, nothing is brand new to them. They did it all camp.

That kind of makes you excited then, that when somebody goes down, it's just the next guy in.

Brown: Right, exactly. And at Wisconsin, that's what we live up to, next man in. So, for the young guys to get reps knowing that in the season, if somebody does go down, I know that next guy in knows what they're doing.

As one of the veteran running backs on the team, do you kind of take Montee Ball under your wing and show him the ropes a little bit?

Brown: Yeah, Montee is a great kid. He's getting the hang of everything and he's very talented. I just want to give him the opportunity I had when I was a freshman and had P.J. Hill as a older player teaching me the ropes. So, I just want to be the same thing with him.

Have you been impressed with how he knows the playbook so well?

Brown: Yes, very much. Especially how he reads the running game. He caught on real fast with that and I'm just real impressed with how he caught on to the run game.

Then the running joke among some of the players is the rivalry between the Florida and Texas kids. Are you guys talking some trash?

Brown: (Laughing) Yeah, it's been a little rivalry. I think as the more recruiting classes come in it's getting bigger and bigger. But, I'd say it's a friendly rivalry right now.

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