November 11, 2009

Ball still looking to improve vision

MADISON - Wisconsin fans had been getting bits and pieces of Montee Ball in games leading up to last weekends win at Indiana. During that 31-28 win, Badger fans got an even bigger sampling of Ball as he played most of the second half as the featured back.

Following Tuesday's practice, had the chance to catch up with the true freshman running back. The following is a question and answer with Ball after his career day that included 27 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

After the game we talked to you too, but has it sunk in, what you were able to do in Indiana?

Ball: I'd say yeah it has because I thought that we had a great week of preparation and a great week of practice. We just went in and did what we had to do. I like to sweat with my teammates so I just feel that if we just go in and do what we've got to do we're going to come out happy.

Do you feel like you've give yourself some recognition as far as the fan's perspective? Maybe, so they can see what you're all about. They got little bits and pieces for a few weeks leading up to it and now they got the real thing there in the second half.

Ball: Yeah, I hadn't been doing it since high school. I have a great offensive line in front of me so they if they make the hole for me I'm just going to do what I've got to do and hit the hole. We've got great coaching and great teammates to support me.

What have you seen from Michigan on film so far this week?

Ball: Athletes. Obviously they have a lot of athletes and great coaching. If we just go in and play Wisconsin football and pound the football we should come out with a victory.

Did you watch that game last year when Wisconsin played Michigan?

Ball: Yeah.

What were your thoughts?

Ball: This team that we know, we need revenge. That's what we need on this team more than the other teams. But, we're just going to take it like another game in our week and go out there and do what we got to do.

Is there kind of a risk when you start talking revenge? Maybe you over-hype yourself for the game?

Ball: Yeah, that's why coach is punching it in our heads just that we've got to take it as another game on our schedule. Do what we did last week, great practice, and we'll get a win.

When you look at the seniors you can see it in their eyes that they want this one, right?

Ball: Yeah, you can. And that's a good thing. It will get them fired up. They're the leaders of the team. If they get fired up, we'll follow.

Obviously as a freshman and a true freshman at that, will you get a little emotional when you see some of these seniors about to play in their last game at home? With how they've maybe helped you?

Ball: I'd say not too much now, but I feel that I will. It can be for some their last game here forever. Yeah, I'm not feeling it now, but I feel that I will.

Just talk about the seniors in general, what have you been able to learn from these guys and the upper classmen in general?

Ball: Leadership and hard work. You have to do your hard work to succeed in college football.

When you look around this team, you've got yourself, you got Chris Borland, both true freshmen and David Gilbert making impacts, too. Do you feel like you've got this program in your hands and you can take it wherever you want?

Ball: Yeah, I would say we have great underclassmen that are going to come in and contribute. We are now, but like Coach Bret Bielema said, we've got to worry about now and win these next three games. That's what we've got to do.

Going back to your game a little bit. I talked to you in fall camp and you said just the speed of the game is so much different from high school. Is the vision something that takes time to get going, too?

Ball: Yeah, it's different. The speed of the game, I've got that. The vision, I'm still trying to work on that, you know, where the holes are going to hit and then you've got to get there. I feel that will come. I just need to keep contributing to the team.

Do you feel like you're hitting holes pretty fast and pretty good, maybe hitting the right holes?

Ball: Yeah, I still always come out of the games with two runs I could have run better on, three runs, but that's a good thing. It gives me something to work on.

Is that something you watch with the coaches on film? Do they point that out?

Ball: Yeah, and I'm grateful for that. If they're not coaching you, they're not trying to help you.

What do they say to you? Do they say you just need to hit that hole? Or what do they say?

Ball: Yeah, basically that. It's not a negative, they don't make it in a negative way. They just say that you could have hit that hole, but you're going to get that and stuff like that and just encourage me.

Do you think you've surprised some people? You're kind of short in stature, no offense or anything, but you put a pop on people, too.

Ball: I hope I surprise some people because that's why I love the game. You go in as a freshman and people think you aren't going to do too well and then you do. It just proves people wrong.

Has this kind of played out the way you thought it would, your freshman year?

Ball: I'd say I didn't expect this much to be honest with you. I'm grateful for it. I've got great teammates and great coaches.

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