December 18, 2010

Hammond adjusted to college life

MADISON - Chase Hammond has plenty of size to become a legitimate scoring threat, particularly in the red zone, as his career progresses. Having a full year of development under his belt, as well as playing at a position with a number of guys set to graduate, there's plenty to look forward to for the Ohio native.

Continuing the bowl prep series, had an opportunity to catch up with Hammond. The following is a question and answer with the freshman wide receiver.

You've been on campus now for a full season and a complete regular season. What's it been like? Did it live up to everything you thought it would be?

Hammond: Yeah, first of all, just the adjustments. You learn about managing your time a lot better. You've got to figure out how to weight school, football and a social life. I think that's the hardest part and that was the hardest transition. Managing time, as far as my social life, you've got to know when to study, when to go to class and everything like that. But yeah, it lives up to everything. It's been exciting and it's been a great experience. I'm looking forward to starting some work this off-season.

Obviously you make the transition from high school to college and it's one thing on the football field, but getting to class every day did it take a while to get used to?

Hammond: I think at first I was rather motivated to get to class. I was excited to get to class and get started. Its when you get comfortable. That's when you realize you're comfortable with the football schedule and you're comfortable with the class schedule. Then you're like, 'I don't have to go and I can sleep a little longer.' You start slacking in certain categories. That's when it bites you in the ass.

I assume the coaches are staying on you pretty hard. They want to make sure you're going to class, too. It's important.

Hammond: Yeah, we have class checkers. If you miss a class the coaches will know about it five minutes later. They'll be calling you and asking where you're at and why you aren't in class. You have to be either on your way or you'll be doing a little extra work.

On the field stuff now. I was watching you in fall camp and just watching you the other day in practice I'd say you're just a big receiver out there with a presence. Is that what you pride yourself on? How would you describe your game?

Hammond: Yeah, I like trying to play the big receiver role and being a bit physical. I block a little bit better than the smaller guys. I'm going to go up and get the ball because I have a good range with that.

Are you a red zone threat?

Hammond: Definitely.

You look at the roster right now and there are three seniors on the team and then there is Nick Toon who may or may not go to the NFL with whatever that choice is. Is there an opportunity for you to get into the fray next year?

Hammond: Yeah, definitely. Like coach always says, he has the guys who are leaving, we have Nick who is up in the air, and two redshirt freshmen that will be sophomores next year. After that its us freshmen. He's looking to get one or two of us to fill a void. It's all up in the air. It's how well we play this spring and how well we develop as players. We all have equal opportunity but there is definitely a shot.

Is that what bowl prep is good for, maybe a head start on spring ball?

Hammond: Definitely. That's our main goal during these practices, to pay attention as much as possible and learn as much as we can. In the season you don't get that because you're working a lot with the scout team. While you're here with the team and you do get a chance to get it in and get a chance to watch and see how things are done, learn plays, then you really get a feel for things before we get started in spring ball.

Instead of being on scout team you get to do some Wisconsin stuff out there in practice. That's a different change of pace.

Hammond: Yeah, that's very different. You go from running Purdue's offense to Indiana's offense and Michigan's offense to finally running Wisconsin's offense. Wisconsin offense in itself is different from the rest. Every week you learn something different. That's the one positive about working on scout team. You get to work on all aspects of the game. When you progress all year working on all those then it's time to learn what you're supposed to do.

Favorite team you got to scout this year.

Hammond: My favorite was probably Indiana. They like to throw the ball a lot and we had a good time with that. Them and Northwestern were a good time.

Well you guys must have done a pretty good job because you obviously had some success against those guys.

Hammond: Yeah, it was a great time, too. We had a blast with it and running around making plays. We talked a little trash every now and then to the defense to get them hyped up. It was definitely a good time.

I'm hearing they had this gift suite up here the other night. What was in there?

Hammond: Yeah, it was nice. We came in and there were electronics everywhere, a couch and a bike and all these cool toys. We had a limit, but we got to choose a few things and see what we wanted. I ended up going with the XBOX and I'm going to give it to my younger brother for his Christmas present since we weren't able to afford one this year and he really wanted one. I decided I'd get one and give him one. I'm a family guy.

Obviously you won't be playing in this game, but what are you anticipating from this experience going to the Rose Bowl. You guys walk up this tunnel every day and see that logo and that's what you strive for. Now it's going to happen.

Hammond: Yeah, I don't know. It's just a good experience. I'm happy for the older guys. For us, as freshmen, we kind of feel like we chose to come to school here and then it happened. We really didn't have a lot of play in it so much. We're just excited to get out there and just to take everything in. Even as coach Alvarez says when he comes in and speaks to us, when you get there take it all in because it's unlike anything you'll ever do. I think us young guys just really need to take a step back when we're there and get a good feeling for it and remember that feeling because we're going to want to produce it again.

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