December 19, 2009

Hemer surprised by scout team honor

MADISON - Ethan Hemer may be a relatively unknown defensive tackle prospect as of right now. But that will not be lasting long as the defensive scout team player of the year looks to be one of three young players that could potentially break into the defensive tackle rotation next season.

At the conclusion of a recent practice, caught up with the freshman. The following is a question and answer with Hemer with audio at the bottom.

I just wanted to congratulate you on being named scout team player of the year. What were your thoughts when you heard about that?

Hemer: I was extremely surprised. In the back of my head I thought, oh, maybe there's a possibility. When they finally called the names and mine was one of them, I was really just surprised.

I understand that coach Bret Bielema brought you in early on in the season asking if you'd play special teams. You just said you'd rather redshirt?

Hemer: At first I said yes. It seemed like it was an opportunity to play, but as the week progressed it just wasn't going to work out. It was getting up to the Northern Illinois week already and it was just getting too late. I had to relearn everything. The timing was just wrong. I was totally okay with redshirting. I feel like this year has definitely helped me a lot as far as my abilities and strength.

Where would you say you've come along the furthest?

Hemer: Jeez, I don't know. Probably my footwork. It has improved a lot. It's not where it needs to be right now, but coming in here it's made so much improvement since the first week of camp. That has definitely been the thing that's come along the farthest.

What can you say about coach Charlie Partridge and the way he gets you guys to get better?

Hemer: He's a great coach. He knows his stuff and he's got a way of really explaining it to us and making us understand things. I really enjoy having him coach me and I'm seeing results too. So that's a good thing.

So what's your current weight at right now?

Hemer: Right now, 280.

Is that where you want to be or are you looking to add more during winter conditioning?

Hemer: Well, I think that coach Herb (Ben Herbert) in the weight room with his staff can definitely do some work. If I keep doing what they want, good things are going to happen. I'm going to put on weight, I plan on doing that. How much? I don't know. But eventually I want to be 300-plus, however long it takes to get that.

That's tough, that's 10 or 20 plus pounds of muscle. What kind of mindset does that take?

Hemer: You have to be really dedicated. I feel that it really helps having great teammates that really push you and want you to get better. We all kind of feed off each other. It's definitely an achievable goal.

Is that kind of the mindset of the scout team, too? When you're out there, just trying to get the guys you play better?

Hemer: Yeah, we definitely want to win so we're willing to do whatever it takes. Only we know what we're going through. We really want to get the W so we're willing to do what it takes.

Now obviously you look at the defensive line, especially at defensive tackle, Patrick Butrym is really going to be the only one coming back next year. Do you feel like you can get into the rotation? Is that a goal of yours maybe?

Hemer: I would definitely like to get in the rotation eventually, but coach Partridge knows what's best for the team and defensive line. So if he feels that I'm ready, then I'm ready. I'm going to do my job and work hard to do what I have to do to put myself in what I think is the best position.

Do you get the sense that you're in pretty good position right now?

Hemer: You know, it's too early to tell. I'm just trying to dig and grind and get better in this developmental stuff that we're doing now. I think good things are going to happen.

It's got to be pretty nice to do some Wisconsin vs. Wisconsin stuff instead of just scout team.

Hemer: Definitely, it's a nice changeup. You get so much better on scout team over the year, you improve so much and then it's nice to finally show yourself a little bit.

When you look across this team, yeah, the seniors make a huge impact, but this team is young. You guys won nine games this year, close to winning 10 if you guys could have pulled it out at Northwestern. That's got to be exciting for the future of this team, you being a part of it.

Hemer: It will. I'm definitely looking forward to the next few years. I'm so happy to be a part of this. I'll be a part of the whole experience and wear that W and go through all that like so many other people have done.

I hear that you were a big hockey player in high school?

Hemer: (Chuckling) Yeah, I played hockey in high school. I really like that sport. I miss it now. It's a lot different than this. There's a lot more finesse. It's definitely helped me with my footwork and all that kind of stuff. This is my love, you can't beat this. It's something else.

I mean in football you are always hitting people, but there's nothing like getting somebody into the boards.

Hemer: That's what I miss the most, just lining somebody up and cleaning their clock.

Who's your favorite NHL team?

Hemer: I'm a huge Blackhawks fan.

They're pretty good. They've got some young talent there, too.

Hemer: They're going to get it this year. With Toews and Seabrook, they'll be alright.

The following is the audio file from Hemer's interview:
Hemer, Bowl Prep Q&A

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