MADISON - Moving away from home and going to college is almost never easy for any freshman. The sheer number of differences between living at home and living at school can be enough to overwhelm anyone, let alone someone who's going to school on a football scholarship as well.
But Badgers offensive lineman Dan Voltz has been able to ease into college life, after he graduated from high school last December and enrolled at Wisconsin a semester early. Enrolling early has given Voltz and other Badgers a chance to catch their breath as they adjust to another chapter in their lives. The following is a question and answer with Voltz, who finished his second official practice with the Badgers on Saturday afternoon.
How do you think the first couple of days gone for you and the team?
Voltz: Really good, I think we improved from the first practice. Just getting more reps helps out, as well as getting used to the new plays, and getting used to the new coaching. We're just kind of jelling together- from a team sense, obviously getting the offense to work together and gel as a unit, jelling as an offensive line. We're learning how each other plays and helping each other.
How has the transition from high school to college gone for you?
DV: It's been pretty smooth. Obviously there have been some challenges, just because it's a different lifestyle. But it's a really good program, and they've really embraced me, helped me a lot, so it's been a smooth transition.
Have you found any classes that have held your interest? Do you have any ideas about a major?
DV: I'm taking a zoology class that's pretty tough, and an animal biology class that's pretty interesting. Right now I'm undecided as a major.
Overall, has enrolling early been beneficial for you? Do you feel like you've had more of a chance to catch your breath?
DV: Definitely it's beneficial. Like I said, it's a huge transition. It takes time to get used to things football-wise, school-wise, social-wise, so coming early and getting a head start is just going to pay off in the long run. The academic side is just as challenging as the football side, so being able to come in here and get used to the schoolwork and kind of slowly build football into it is a good thing. Now I can kind of get used to one thing at a time.
Did you have an idea early on that enrolling early is what you wanted to do?
DV: I made that decision pretty much right after I committed. The coaches contacted me and I knew that's what I wanted to do.
Where do the coaches have you working this spring? Is it both the interior line spots or just one or the other?
DV: Right now I'm working at just center. It's brand new to me- I've never played center before. I'm just getting used to the technique. I feel like I'm getting better- there's definitely a lot of things I need to work on. I've just got to get a lot of extra work, extra reps.
Where are you at right now physically? Are you at where you want to be from a weight standpoint?
DV: I feel pretty good right now. I've put on 20 pounds since I've been here. I'm probably going to stat slowing down the weight gain a little bit, but right now I'm around 290 or 293. I've put on a lot of weight, but I feel stronger and faster. I needed to put on weight and get stronger before we started camp, and I've been able to do that.
Have any of the other linemen kind of taken you under their wing to help you get used to things? Does it help to have someone else show you the ropes?
DV: Oh definitely, especially Travis Frederick. Especially since he's at center and I'm learning center, and he was in the same spot as me two or three years ago so he's definitely been a big help.
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