MADISON - New offensive line coach T.J. Woods was available to the media for a little while following Wisconsin's signing day press conference Wednesday afternoon, so I was able to chat with the new coach for a little bit.
Here's a brief Q&A with Woods, who inherits a strong position group and three new commitments for his first year on campus with the Badgers.
How do you think your offensive line will compare to the ones they've had over the last few seasons at Wisconsin?
T.J. Woods: They'll look very similar. Big bodied, physical kids. Playing with attitude and toughness on every play, for four quarters of football.
Have you been able to get to know your new players yet? What have you noticed about them so far?
TW: It's been great. I've had multiple conversations with them as a group, and then individually as well. The thing I'd say about all of them is they're eager. They're hungry for success. They want to be great, and that's the best part about coaching them.
To me, the thing you don't want to do is coach effort and intensity. They have that. They bring that every single day. That's everything they do and that's a huge, huge advantage.
Were you able to keep in touch with your new offensive line commits during the recruiting process? How much persuading did it take to keep Hayden Biegel, Matt Miller, and Jack Keeler on board?
TW: I was highly involved with all three of the offensive line commits. I think that the University of Wisconsin to a degree sells itself. There are a lot of great things about this place, and that was the biggest positive for us. Coach Alvarez and the holdovers from the previous staff and coach Strickland and coach Hammock. They did such a great job staying in touch with them and getting them on to campus. They really had them in a good spot when we came in, to a point where really their only questions were relationship based us.
I want [the recruits] to know who I am before they come in. It's a two-way street. A lot of times you think of recruiting as a sales pitch, and trying to just get a kid here no matter what. It has to be a fit. You want kids who are going to fit in this program, fit with your style of coaching. Fit with what we all want as an offensive line at the University of Wisconsin.
It's not just about 'hey we have this, we have that.' It's 'this is who I am; this is what I'm about. This is what this program is about. Is this something that you see yourself succeeding in?'
Have you guys figured out as a coaching staff where you'll be recruiting in the future? Where do you think you'll be focusing on?
TW: We're working through that process right now. I will be highly involved in in-state recruiting. I've said this before, but to me the most important thing is recruiting in-state, finding Wisconsin kids that want to wear red and white, and want to go out there and represent the state of Wisconsin the right way. To me that's the number one thing.
I'll have Illinois, and then I'll have Iowa and Nebraska and Indiana for right now. Kind of broader areas, but that's good, we're used to that. It's excited to get out there and learn about those areas. It's kind of a good thing for me- I'm familiar with Iowa having played there.
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