August 17, 2009

Cromartie looking to play at current weight

MADISON, Wis. - Redshirt freshman Marcus Cromartie is exactly what the Badger secondary needs. He's a big body with a high motor and exceptional athleticism. After using his redshirt a season ago, the Texas native seems poised to make an impact at the corner position this season.

During Sunday's Wisconsin media day, caught up with the second-year player. The following is a question and answer with Cromartie.

How did the summer go for you as far as conditioning wise?

Cromartie: It went well. I got the chance to gain some weight. I'm up to around 190 right now and I'm feeling good. Just going through the strides of fall camp and recovery and stuff like that. As the summer, Ben Herbert had some great things in line for us and I think as a team, not only did we grow physically but as a team. We're just looking forward to the season.

You said you are at 190? Is that where you want to be when the season starts?

Cromartie: Yeah, I want to stay around 190. Fall camp usually takes a few pounds off of you but I've been really stressful about making sure I've got fluids in my body and food in my body so I can keep the weight on. I weighed in this morning (Sunday) and I was still around 190. So just keeping my weight on and starting the season at 190 is important for me. That's the big aspect. When I came in, I was a little light on my feet. I got the weight on now and am prepared for the season.

What were you at the end of spring camp, weight wise?

Cromartie: At the end of spring camp I was around 180. I came in as a freshman at 165. So, I'm probably around plus 25 in the past year and a half.

How disciplined do you have to be to add that much healthy weight?

Cromartie: Well, you know, you just got to be real disciplined because you got to get up each morning to eat breakfast. A lot of people out there like to skip breakfast. Breakfast is a big part of your day, not only in gaining weight, but just going on your whole thing and the recovery process. Ben Herbert and the staff have a lot of great things (like) muscle milk and protein shakes to put in your body so you can keep gaining weight.

They have you at corner, what are you looking to do this camp? Are you trying to break into the rotation?

Cromartie: I'm just trying to have consistent days and get the trust of my teammates. I can go out there and make plays and just get better every day. That's the only thing I can ask for, to keep competing. I got some great players to compete against and great players to compete with as my corners. Just go out everyday and know that you got a good support staff and your coaches and just try to get better everyday.

With Shane Carter and Aubrey Pleasant's situation, have they talked about moving you to safety at all?

Cromartie: No, not with the situation.

As far as the secondary in general, you guys get Aaron Henry back now. What's the depth like, especially at the cornerback position?

Cromartie: Well I think, as a whole, they're pretty experienced. Aaron and Niles Brinkley, they've had their fair share of starts. Then Devin Smith and Antonio Fenelus also played last year sparingly. I'm just about to get into my redshirt freshman year, so hopefully I can get some experience this year. But, all together, I think we're a good group. We got a slight bit of depth, we all know we can play and we all trust each other so I think it's going to be a great year.

How'd the redshirt year benefit you?

Cromartie: It benefited me mentally more than anything. As a senior in high school, I never really left the field. Coming here and not playing and doing scout team in practice, it just helped me look at everything from a perspective and see why I really need to take this time to get better as a player and work on my form and technique. I think it really benefited me.

What's your game? How would you characterize it to someone on the outside?

Cromartie: I'd definitely characterize my game as a cover corner, trying to stay on top of my receiver. I guess you can say the speed particularly, just stay on top of receivers and do what I've got to do to get the job done.

Would you call yourself a ball hawk?

Cromartie: Yeah, I think I definitely love to get the ball. Anytime you get a pick, that's just great momentum for the defense and great momentum for the whole team. I love to get the ball, so I must say I love to be a ball hawk.

Just some get to know you questions, what's your favorite sport other than football?

Cromartie: You might find it surprising, but I really like playing baseball and basketball. Actually, I like golf as well. I see Tiger Woods doing his thing in the PGA Championship. I like all sports I should say.

Who's the best athlete on the team when not on the football field?

Cromartie: Certainly not Jay Valai. But I got to say it's probably Niles Brinkley. Niles came in as a receiver and never really played defensive back and just came into this. For somebody who never had played cornerback before, his technique is crazy good. He's a splendid athlete.

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