April 17, 2009

Sorensen confident with linebackers

MADISON, Wis. - Blake Sorensen utilized the off season to get his body shaped into one that will be able to better handle the rigors of a Big Ten schedule. Now, with spring winding down and as the projected strong side linebacker with a bigger frame, Sorensen has performed at a high level and looks to carry that momentum into the fall.

After a Thursday's practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the veteran linebacker. The following is a question and answer with the Minnesota native:

Well with spring winding down, how did it go for you?

Sorensen: Yeah, I mean it was a lot of fun this year. Obviously we got 15 practices so I just try to come out here everyday and try to get better every day. That was the main goal. I think I did that so I am pretty happy with that.

With the linebackers, you lose DeAndre Levy and Jonathan Casillas, but last year you got to start the first few games with DeAndre's injury. How has that transferred over to the spring for you?

Sorensen: Yeah I got a little action and I think that definitely helps me. I think this year I won't be the new guy coming in because obviously I have a little bit of experience. So that definitely helped me. Also, I think Jaevery McFadden and Culmer St. Jean are comfortable this year with me. They know that I'm not going to get out there and freak out. I'm comfortable with my assignments, so I think it helps.

Do you guys feel like you have to form a new identity at all?

Sorensen: I mean, a little bit. As a team we really do. Last year we lost a lot of close games so everyone has got to come together and play as one this year so we try to do that.

Looking back at it, do you say some of those losses were strictly from mental mistakes?

Sorensen: Yeah, I mean I'd say a lot of it. Starting with this off-season, everything has been stricter as far as class misses and lifts that are really carrying onto the football field. Mentally, we're stronger than we've ever been.

As far as the linebackers go coverage wise, how are you feeling about that?

Sorensen: I think we're doing pretty well. We're helping out the d-backs and trying to get some jams. Obviously we're looking out for guys like Garrett Graham. Nick Toon is having a big spring so looking at those guys especially. I think overall, we're doing really well coverage wise.

As far as last year, a lot of the talk was about the speed of the linebackers. Do you feel like that speed is still there with you guys?

Sorensen: Yeah, I'd say it's kind of different. I would say we lost a little speed, but I'd say we gained some things as well. So, you know, you lose a little bit but gain a little bit at the same time.

Is it kind of tough to gauge in the spring how the team will react when you go against a different offense in the fall?

Sorensen: Yeah, kind of. We don't run a spread, but we see a lot of spread teams. Also, get some new freshmen in the mix. Spring ball is good to get the basics down, but as far as the game plan it doesn't really help a whole lot.

When you go against the spread it seems like you have to be pretty quick laterally from sideline to sideline. Is that coming along pretty well in your opinion?

Sorensen: Yeah, I think we got a lot of spread work in the spring. Every Tuesday and Thursday we work the spread so I think guys are a lot more comfortable, that's the main thing. Just trying to be as comfortable with the spread as we are playing against our own team.

It looked like you bulked up a little bit. Is that through the new strength and conditioning thing you guys did?

Sorensen: Yeah, last year I played at 220, a little less. This year I got up to a little more. Right now I am 235, around there right now. So I think it definitely helped and won't get beat up this year.

Is that about the ideal weight for a linebacker in the Big Ten?

Sorensen: I would say. Obviously guys play heavier and lighter, but for me, I think that was a good weight so my body holds up. I still feel fast.

Finally on Saturday, you guys are going to be playing in front of some fans. That's got to be exciting.

Sorensen: Yeah, now we're kind of playing in front of reporters and our own team which is fun. But it will be fun to get friends and family and playing in front of some fans.

The following is the audio file from the interview:
Sorensen, 4/16/09

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