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March 10, 2014
Practice: Brown meets the media
MADISON, Wis. - New Wisconsin running backs coach Thomas Brown makes a good first impression. In his first meeting with reporters since he replaced Thomas Hammock a few weeks ago, Brown came off as chatty and well spoken in front of a group of about four or five strangers.
In short, it's easy to see why head coach Gary Andersen moved quickly to get Brown on his staff. Brown said he originally got in touch with offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig on a Thursday, took a call from Andersen on Friday, and was in Madison on Saturday for an interview on Sunday. And while the Badgers had to wait to make the hiring official, Brown said he knew he wanted to be at Wisconsin as soon as the process started.
"I did everything I could to get the opportunity to be here," Brown said Monday after practice.
Brown's passion for football was obvious when he answered a question about his coaching pet peeves, and it was clear that while he has moved on from a playing career that ended just a few years ago he isn't about to forget about it any time soon.
"I hate guys who loaf, because it takes no amount of talent to finish hard and go hard. We have so many limited opportunities in this game, which I know first hand," Brown said. "You never know which is going to be your last play so you'd better make the most of it. I can't stand guys who are soft- thankfully we don't have any of those guys here."
And again, it is easy to see why the Badgers liked Brown's potential on the recruiting trail, where he will recruit his home state of Georgia along with other national running back prospects.
"Like I said when I first got the job, I don't think there's a better place in America to be if you want to be a tailback. If you think you're a top guy I think this is where you want to be," Brown said. "You have an opportunity to start and get 25 or 30 carries a game and as a back up get 15 to 18 behind the best offensive line in the country. Why wouldn't you want to be here?"
Brown also acknowledged that Hammock helped the Badgers make inroads in Georgia, after they signed two Georgia natives as part of their 2014 recruiting class. But Brown thinks he can take Wisconsin's presence in Georgia to the next level, because he's no newbie when it comes to the Peach state.
"I think I have a little more [name recognition] from growing up there, playing high school football there, playing college football there, and briefly playing in the NFL and also having recruited that area over the last two years," Brown said. "I know some guys, I know most of the coaches and some of the players are going to know me over the years. We have some trust there."
Joel Stave took some live skeleton drill reps for the first time this spring in a part of practice that was open to the media, and it didn't look to me like his shoulder was bothering him very much. Most of his throws were targeted at deeper routes, and it seemed like he had good zip on the ball. Stave participated in just the one drill, but it was clear to me that he still has the best arm at the position. We'll see if he can keep it up after the Badgers throw him back into the regular quarterback competition after spring break.
Joel Stave: 7-for-9, TD
Bart Houston: 6-for-11
Tanner McEvoy: 8-for-10
D.J. Gillins: 6-for-11, TD
D.J. Gillins: 3-for-4, 8 total reps
Bart Houston: 1-for-3, 7 total reps
Tanner McEvoy: 1-for-4, 14 total reps
D.J. Gillins: 1-for-2, 7 total reps
News and Notes
Top five songs the Badgers played at practice today:
The Badgers will practice again on Wednesday morning. That practice is open to members of the media starting at 7:15, and head coach Gary Andersen will meet with reporters at approximately 8 o'clock.
John Veldhuis covers Wisconsin football, basketball and recruiting for BadgerBlitz.com on the Rivals.com network. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnVeldhuis.