September 1, 2009

Graham poised to anchor tight end group

MAIDISON, Wis. - At Wisconsin, the tight end position is truly a staple of the offense. It seems like there is never a drop off of talent and the position simply reloads. In 2009, that is especially true as Garrett Graham figures to have a play a big role in the success of the Badger offense.

After recently being named captain, caught up with the tight end. The following is a question and answer with Graham.

The big news for you recently is being named captain. How did you find out about it and what were some of your initial reactions?

Graham: I found out in the team meeting. You know, it was an honor. There's a bunch of guys who have been captain and you look up to them as you're coming through the program. Yeah, it's an honor.

Did you expect it at all or did it kind of catch you by surprise?.

Graham: Yeah, I expected it a little bit I guess you could say. I wasn't really sure, there are a lot of seniors that could have been selected. (The) three other great guys represent everything about our team, so I think the team picked pretty good.

Just talk about each one of you having a different personality. How does that effect getting through to the team as a cohesive group? Do you all bring a little bit something else to the table?

Graham: Yeah I'd say so. O'Brien Schofield is a real vocal guy and on the other hand I'm more of a lead by example guy. Not that OB doesn't do it on the field, obviously, but I try to come out of my comfort zone a little bit more and talk to a bunch of the guys and see how the freshmen are doing and stuff like that. You know, we're going from there.

Have you had a chance to look at Northern Illinois tape yet?

Graham: Yeah we have. We started scouting them. Defensive wise they're a good defense. They fly around and play really hard. So, we're looking forward to it.

I know they lost Larry English on the defensive line, but do you see them missing a step without him?

Graham: Their defensive ends, they're good players. They come down and they play hard. They play in a cocked wide technique so they have a running start when they come at you. So, we expect to get a lot of heat from them and they'll be playing hard.

The transition from going Wisconsin versus Wisconsin every day in fall camp to going to Wisconsin against Northern Illinois, how does that change things. Is it exciting going against something different for a change?

Graham: Yeah, definitely. I think as we get closer to the game everybody will get a little more hyped up. It will be good to hit another color that is not Wisconsin colors.

How did your fall camp go?

Graham: It went good. I tried to focus a little more on the little things that mean a lot as far as blocking technique and steps and hands and routes such as second level releases and things to that nature. It went pretty well.

I remember talking to you back in spring ball and you said you were really focusing on blocking. From back then to where you are today, have you seen an improvement there?

Graham: Definitely. Coach Joe Rudolph definitely helped us add a lot. The little things he's taught us bring you a long way. I think I've definitely improved.

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