MADISON - Joel Stave admitted things were a bit overwhelming when he first started practicing as an early enrollee. Now, two-thirds of the way through his first spring camp as the truest form of a true freshman, Stave is seemingly settling in.
After UW's 10th practice of the spring, BadgerBlitz.com had a chance to chat with the Whitnall (WI) high school native. The following is a question and answer with Stave.
How is spring going?
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Stave: It's going well. It's going well.
What are you learning and how are you progressing now through 10 practices?
Stave: I'm learning a lot. I came in not knowing any of this stuff and I'm able to run quite a bit of the offense.
How much time do you spend in the playbook?
Stave: Well, we have meetings three times a week for about two hours each meeting. I'll take that home with me and look over the stuff before I go to bed trying to solidify what I learned.
What do you go over in those meetings? Just plays?
Stave: Yeah, plays, practice and things we can do better. We look at defenses and reads, too.
You look at the quarterback position and Jon Budmayr came in as an early guy. Curt Phillips came in as an early guy. Joe Brennan didn't, but I was just curious how much you look up to Jon and Curt to just kind of help you out with your transition here?
Stave: Quite a bit. They've been really helpful, especially not knowing a lot football wise, as far as the offense. I've been able to ask them questions. They've been able to help me out. It's just been a lot of help.
What's the biggest change from the high school game to where you are now? Just five or six months ago you were playing high school football now you're playing for the Badgers.
Stave: I'd say the speed of the game. I mean, both offensively and defensively everyone is going fast. Everyone is a very good athlete out here. It's a big adjustment.
Is it ever overwhelming?
Stave: I'm not getting a ton of reps so I mean at first it was. When I first took my first snaps I was real nervous, but I'm getting a little more used to it and feeling a little more comfortable. I'm gradually getting there.
Would you classify yourself as a confident quarterback? You look pretty confident out there. If I didn't know any better I would have guessed you'd been around for a little while.
Stave: Yeah, I'd say so. Coach Paul Chryst has been making it a little easier on me and not giving me quite as many plays with motions and all that kind of stuff. I feel confident when I get out there and I'm having fun doing it.
Two-thirds of the way through spring camp are you ahead of schedule in relation to where you wanted to be? Or did you even set those types of personal goals?
Stave: I guess I was kind of unsure about what the spring would be like and what kind of reps I would be getting. I'm happy with the way it's progressed and I'm happy with the reps I've gotten and the opportunity I've been given.
What was winter conditioning like? How was that coming into campus your first year and you get thrown right into that fire?
Stave: That was a bit of a shock. It's the Wisconsin Badgers so I knew it would be some tough stuff, but I guess the early morning stuff was really what got me. I never had to anywhere at 5:30 in the morning.
Is that what it was every day?
Stave: No, that's what it was on Wednesday's and Saturday's. We would do early stuff.
So you were doing that when you had class at certain points I would imagine?
Stave: It made it tough to stay awake in music class after that. (Laughing).
Obviously you've got a week and a half left of camp, what are you trying to accomplish and are you pretty excited about getting a chance to play in the spring game?
Stave: Yeah, I'd like to just continue getting more comfortable and making reads more quickly and everything like that. I'm real excited to hopefully get a few snaps in the spring game. There will be about 20,000 people there. I've never played in front of that many people in my life, so it should be exciting.
Did you add any weight during winter conditioning?
Stave: I did. I picked up about 10 pounds or so.
So what are you at right now?
Stave: I'm about 215. I guess I would like to gain as much weight as I can without losing any mobility or anything like that. I have room to fill out I think.