MADISON - With Curt Phillips recovering from a torn ACL suffered last spring, Jon Budmayr has been getting a bevy of reps throughout fall camp as the primary backup to Scott Tolzien.
Now, with fall camp beginning to wind down and with the season opener at UNLV approaching, it seems as though Budmayr is trying to take in as much as he can in case his number is called this upcoming season.
Following a recent practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the redshirt freshman quarterback. The following is a question and answer with Budmayr.
Well, we're a decent amount of the way into fall camp. How has it been going and are you pleased with the way you've been playing?
Budmayr: Yeah, it's pretty good. There's still a lot I can learn from and I've just got to quit repeating the mistakes I've been making. Those picks in the red zone have got to stop happening. But I'm making progress and we're two weeks in (at time of the interview). I'm far from being game ready but we're getting there and we're making progress. I'm happy.
Is that just a matter of forcing things and trying to do too much?
Budmayr: Yeah, that last one there I couldn't see it so I shouldn't have thrown it. That's something I've got to be smart with and be smart in the pocket with. If I can't see it, I can't throw it because I don't know what's out there.
Is that a problem?
Budmayr: Sometimes it is, but they form a nice pocket so you find lanes to throw. You're never throwing through anybody or over anybody.
That's definitely the biggest offensive line you've had in your football career, isn't it?
Budmayr: Yeah, it sure is. That's good. You want big guys in front of you and it's my job to find the throwing lanes and complete the balls.
Just talk about some of these younger guys. Obviously you're still a young guy, but I'm talking about these young guys that just came on. The Sherard Cadogan's and Manasseh Garner's, how are they progressing?
Budmayr: Really good. They're just diving into the playbook and trying to pick up on as much stuff as they can. Sherard, he's playing well. He's playing a little bit of Y and that fullback spot there. He's got a lot to learn. Manasseh, he's doing well too. Some receivers went down and he just jumped right in and is playing well.
Another guy that's playing great is Jared Abbrederis. He's really sticking out to everybody. He's making plays out there.
With Sherard and Manasseh, are they pretty physical receivers?
Budmayr: Sherard I think is, but Manasseh is unbelievably physical. That's what they say. Everybody calls him a magnet because he's always in contact with somebody and always hitting somebody. No, he's very physical and that's what you like to see. He's a guy that's going to get the ball for you.
Obviously with Curt being a bit nicked up, are you ready to be the No. 2 guy?
Budmayr: Yup, I sure am. This is an opportunity that I was ready for in the spring. I've just got to keep progressing and getting better each day. Like I said, I'll learn from my mistakes and learn from Scott. He's a great quarterback and great in the system. Each day I can come out here and get better and keep learning. I'll get that much more ready.
That's just the way you have to approach it isn't it? I mean when something happens, as unfortunate as it was, you just have to step in and keep plugging along.
Budmayr: Exactly. That was one of the toughest things for this team, especially us quarterbacks, to see such a close teammate and close friend in Curt go down. He's working hard getting back and stuff. He's a great asset to our team. So we'll get him back. But like you said, you've got to be ready for it and willing to step in.
How has he been helping you guys, especially on the sideline. Particularly with you?
Budmayr: A lot. Curt's kind of the guy to keep everything pretty relaxed. He's always a jokester. That's kind of his personality. It's great to have him out here. Any little things he sees he's telling us and letting us know. He's just another pair of eyes for us.
You touched on the mental miscues or forced passes, but what else do you still need to work on that you're really trying to shore up before the season starts?
Budmayr: Really, just being decisive. I know that I'm starting to get the playbook down and now it's just trusting what I know and not trying to force things. If I see the coverage I know where to go with it. I need to just go there and not second-guess myself.
A lot of people talk about yours and Jared Abbrederis' relationship. He makes you look good sometimes, doesn't he?
Budmayr: He sure does. He makes all of us look good. He's just a fast kid and understands it. He goes hard all the time and is making plays left and right. It's nice to see.
Have you been talking to Blake Sorensen? What's going on with this beard here?
Budmayr: I don't know. It actually started out with me and Travis Frederick. He's got like a beehive. I don't know if I can catch him. I'll trim it up after camp.