MADISON, Wis. - Second year defensive line coach Charlie Partridge would like to see six to eight players step up on the defensive line and form a rotation that will keep fresh legs on the field. After gaining field experience last fall, Patrick Butrym looks to be one of those players making a strong push for reps this spring.
After Thursday's practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with Butrym. The following is a question and answer with the defensive tackle:
It's almost the end of spring ball, how did it go?
Butrym: I was really pleased with my progress throughout. I came in a little bigger through winter conditioning. I was really pleased with the way I played. I could see myself progress over the course of spring ball each day and that's the goal to get better everyday. And I think I did that.
Talking to coach Partridge, he says he wants eight guys that can rotate in on the defensive line. Do you feel like you're one of those eight?
Butrym: No question.
Is that something that was your goal. Even after last year, because you were in the rotation last year too. Is that something that you wanted to keep improving on?
Butrym: Yeah, absolutely. When you got guys competing out here, it's obvious that there are guys out here that are competing for starting jobs. I know Dan (Daniel Moore) and I are competing for a starting job. J.J. Watt is out here competing for a starting job. I'd say that O.B. (O'Brien Schofield) and Jeff Stehle are the veterans of the group and I'd say they've done a really good job so far this spring. As far as that, you can set a rotation, but when you have guys that are competing for jobs, it makes people better. That kind of sounds cliché, but that's just how it goes. I really saw it because Dan and I were competing and we really got better everyday. I don't think without each other, we'd be where we are today.
Do you feel like you put a pretty good bid in for that starting spot?
Butrym: I'd like to think so. You know, I think I did what I could, but eventually it's up to the coaches so you just got to take care of what you can. Eventually the coaches are going to make a decision, but either way, we're all going to play.
How do you approach spring ball? Is it just coming in and trying to focus on the fundamentals, get better and then carry that momentum into the summer and fall?
Butrym: That's what it is. During the winter you don't really get a chance to play real football. So it kind of starts out as a simple fundamental approach, but the farther you get, guys kind of complex and build on those fundamentals. Throughout spring ball, that is how you get better. You build on those techniques and then you bring that into the summer and into fall camp and you just got to keep building.
Does it seem like spring ball went by fast this year compared to other years?
Butrym: It did, it was nice. Last year we had spring break in the middle of it and last year was three practices a week. This year, it was limited to four weeks. It went by a lot faster. You're not playing a game, we're about four months from August right now. It went by fast. I'm glad this is practice 14, but I'm glad we came out here and got after it.
It's kind of exciting here too, on Saturday, you get to play in front of some fans.
Butrym: Yeah definitely. Hopefully it will be a nice day and we can get some people out here. They've done a pretty good job marketing. We'll see, Saturday is a fun day. It culminates a lot of hard work and we get to get out in front of some people. It's definitely a lot of fun.
From what you've noticed throughout the spring, who's the toughest guy on the offensive line to deal with?
Butrym: They're all pretty tough. John Moffitt, they all have they're own attributes. Bill Nagy, he's a really good pass blocker. John Moffitt is nasty. Jake Bscherer is real long, Kevin Zeitler, he's a physical guy but he can grab you legally. Then you got guys like Travis Frederick that have come in and done a really nice job being just a freshman. I don't deal with Gabe Carimi and Peter Konz or Josh Oglesby that much, but they're all big guys and they're all tough to go against.
Kind of going along the same lines, is there anyone on the defensive line that has stood out to you?
Butrym: A lot of people stood out. I was really pleased, obviously you guys all know about people like OB, Stehle, J.J. Watt, Dan Moore, those guys all stood out. I think Anthony Mains started coming along. David Gilbert really did a nice job. The guys you expected to play really well did. Jeff Stehle, yeah, he's been playing a while. O'Brien Schofield, he dominates. J.J. Watt did a really really good job. Obviously people know about that and Dan Moore, you know, we all bring something different to the table. I think we improved on that and guys have done a really good job honing their skills.
You guys have had a whole year now with coach Partridge. Do you kind of see that chemistry coming together with him?
Butrym: Yeah, I mean, we love playing for coach Partridge. He's a player's coach so it's easier to respond with him. He's the kind of guy that's going to defend his player's so that's the kind of guy you want to go to work for. And we love playing for him, no question about it.
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