March 24, 2010

Gilbert focused on bulking up

MADISON - In short, David Gilbert is a young man in a grown man's body. He may only be 18 years of age, but the sophomore defensive end looks and plays like a seasoned veteran.

After dabbling in the defensive line rotation as a true freshman, Gilbert showcased his athletic ability while showcasing a skill set that should wreak havoc on Saturday's for years to come.

With the departure of O'Brien Schofield at the end position, it seems as thought Gilbert is on the verge of becoming a regular contributor on every down plays. With spring camp well underway, had an opportunity to catch up with the Florida native.

During the interview, Gilbert discussed his progression through winter conditioning, his position battle with Louis Nzegwu and any personal goals he has for himself.

The following is a question and answer with Gilbert.

Now that you've gone through winter conditioning, how did it go?

Gilbert: It was tough, but it made us mentally tough. It was also designed to help us on the field.

Did you add any weight?

Gilbert: No, I'm staying consistent at 235 pounds.

Is that where you want to be?

Gilbert: No, I want to gain at least 20 more pounds but I don't want to rush my body.

Twenty more pounds? That's by this time next year or fall?

Gilbert: By fall definitely.

So how do you go about doing that? Adding 20 pounds of healthy weight is pretty tough to do.

Gilbert: Well, you've just got to eat right. You've got to eat a lot of protein and get a lot of meals in you. You can never really be hungry. If you're hungry you messed up. It's hard to keep up the weight on your body, but that's what you've got to do.

Just talk about last year. You got your foot in the water so to speak and a taste of Big Ten football. What are you expecting this spring and how are you going to take what you learned last fall into these practices?

Gilbert: Expectations of myself…(inaudible)…

Does that just come through reps?

Gilbert: It comes through reps and studying films and taking coaching. It's frustrating, but you can't dwell on it. You've got to go to the next play. Next time, if you did what you're supposed to do, you'll recognize it and make the play.

Is it easier after you've been in the program for a year? You know what coach Charlie Partridge is wanting you to do now. Is it starting to click a little bit?

Gilbert: Yeah, it's easier. I know exactly what I have to do…(Inaudible)…

Just talk about him as a coach. How does he get the best out of his players?

Gilbert: …(inaudible)…Everybody has nothing but good things to say about him. He's just a real honest guy. He'll tell you straight up how he feels and that's that. Nothing he's asking of you is impossible. It's that sort of thing.

Is that part of the reason you came to Wisconsin, too?

Gilbert: Yeah, he was real close with my high school football coach. I just trust him. Trust is very important during the recruiting process and I learned that. I came here and all that is done. It doesn't matter. I've got to do what I've got to do now.

Going back to last year, you guys lose O'Brien Schofield but I'm sure you learned plenty of things from him. Are you and Louis Nzegwu going to fill his role?

Gilbert: Yeah, me and Louis go at it a little bit. Never anything too serious, but we just push each other. We both do different things well and I feel like if I keep on elevating my game and try to make that next step with Louis there behind me pushing me and me pushing him, things will only get better for this team.

Is that the way you approach spring ball? You're just trying to showcase to the coaches what you can do?

Gilbert: Yeah, I'm just trying to make some plays. I'm trying to make some plays. You've got to work hard every play. They're not easy to come by. Once they're coming to you, I've just got to try and make as many plays as I can. I'll just let that show as many times as I can. You can never make too many plays.

Is it hard to make plays when you guys aren't in full pads and you can't really fully tackle?

Gilbert: No, it's not hard. There is no difference being in full pads except for you're not getting cut. You're physical enough and if you want it bad enough, you should be able to take your cuts and make plays.

Do you put pretty high expectations on yourself?

Gilbert: Yeah, I do. I get upset when I don't get what I want, but that's just the way I've always been. It's gotten me this far and if keep doing it, I can only get better.

Just talk about the rest of the spring. Is there anything that you're trying to accomplish the rest of the spring?

Gilbert: Personally, I'm trying to become a better edge rusher and work on my pass rush because we lost our best pass rusher. And then just soak up as much knowledge as I can about the game.

Talk about the defensive line. You guys are pretty young all across the board.

Gilbert: Yeah, we're a real young defensive line, but we've got some experience with J.J. Watt, Louis, Patrick Butrym and I. Butrym has played a lot, so I feel like it doesn't really matter. If we use the technique that we're being coached and lift hard in the weight room we'll be right up there with the same way our defensive line was last year.

You guys can surprise some people?

Gilbert: Yeah, we'll definitely surprise a lot of people if we keep it up.

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