By Other Contributors on September 25, 2013 12:43 PM
Freshman WR Robert Wheelwright came to Wisconsin this fall with quite the football pedigree. His older brother, Ernie, starred as a receiver for Minnesota from 2004-07 and his grandfather, also named Ernie, was a running back in the 1960s for the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Having grown up around football, Wheelwright is well-suited for his trial by fire at receiver as a true freshman in the Badgers' lineup, which will continue this Saturday in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, against No. 4 Ohio State.
What's it going to be like to be able to go home and play in Columbus?
"It's going to be a great experience, especially to be able to do it with a different team, with a different program, and be able to go back and try to beat my hometown team."
After growing up in Ohio, what made you decide to come to Wisconsin?
"It felt more like home here and I needed to grow up and mature on my own without having family around."
With a brother that played at Minnesota, is there any smack talk between you two now that you're a Badger?
"A little bit. He's here to support me, but when we play the Gophers he said he'd have his Wisconsin shirt on but will have his Minnesota Gophers shirt on underneath. We go back and forth like that, but he's more than likely a Wisconsin fan now."
What have you learned from your brother and grandfather and their football careers?
"I tried to learn everything that I could from them. Everything that they were good at they tried to teach me, and I tried to better myself off of their experiences in the (NFL) and in college football. I learned to take it one day at time, better myself and have a no days off mentality."
As a true freshman, what has it been like to learn and develop in front of 80,000 people every week?
"It has been a challenge, but as you go on, you have people here to help you. Your coaches and teammates are here to help you and so far that has been a great experience. They motivate me and they teach me the good values of being a great receiver."
Which teammates have you learned the most from so far?
"I've learned a lot from Jared Abbrederis, Kenzel Doe and Connor Cummins. They have all helped me in difference aspects of the game. They're all like my big mentors. They've taught be to have confidence, be consistent when I'm on the field and to play out here in front of 80,000 people like you would if it were Little League or if you were playing in front of your family and friends."
By Other Contributors on September 19, 2013 1:19 PM
After graduating from Waukesha West High School, Joe Schobert was set to walk on to the North Dakota football team. That was before a breakout performance in a Wisconsin state all-star game that drew the attention of UW coaches, however. Now, the sophomore linebacker is coming off the first start of his career after making a rapid rise up the depth chart at Wisconsin.
What's it been like to go from walk-on at North Dakota to starter at UW? "It means a lot to me to be playing for my home state team. Playing for the Badgers is what every Wisconsin kid dreams about growing up watching games every Saturday. It's crazy to think about where I could be if the opportunity to play for UW didn't present itself, and to have the chance to start last Saturday was a great feeling."
How did it feel to get the call from the Badgers saying they were interested? "It was a little hectic at the time, as I was set to head to North Dakota, but it all worked out once everything settled down. It was a great feeling and was a big relief that I would be closer to my family and they'd be able to come watch games, even if I wasn't playing."
You were a four-sport athlete in high school. Why did you settle on football? "After my junior season of football, we did really well and won a state championship and I had a good year, so coaches started calling and sending letters. That was the first time I realized I could play Division I football and could achieve that if I worked hard and put time into it."
What led to your rise up the depth chart beginning in the spring? "Unfortunately we had a number of guys get hurt during camp, and while that was unfortunate for them, it provided me with an opportunity to step up and make plays. All you have to do is make a couple of plays and the coaches will take notice and stick you in more situations. You have to keep coming in every day and working like you don't have another day and try to take advantage of every opportunity they give you."
What's it like playing in a 3-4 defense? What adjustments have you made? "The best thing for me is the new defense since everyone is on the same level playing field, in terms of learning. Last season I came in a receiver, then a safety and eventually moved to linebacker at the start of the season, so I was always in catch-up mode. I didn't know exactly what I was doing all the time and was always trying to catch up in the playbook. This year, everyone started out on the same page and everyone was learning at the same pace. I think that really helped me."
What makes you suited to play the field-side linebacker in the 3-4 scheme? "It's more of a hybrid safety-linebacker position. I have prior experience as a safety covering tight ends and playing in space. I'm fast enough to take the offensive tackles by surprise sometimes on speed rushes and blitzes. I also have leverage on the outside against the run. We have one read and we know what we're doing and we get to make plays off of that."
QUICK Qs WITH JOE
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter
Favorite Meal? Victory meal of lobster, crab or filet mignon
Favorite Athlete? Clay Matthews
Favorite Quote? "I've failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan
By Other Contributors on September 12, 2013 3:41 PM
The tight end tradition at Wisconsin is well-documented as the Badgers have sent numerous players at that position to the NFL. UW again boasts a promising crop of tight ends this season, including junior Sam Arneson, who hopes to put his name among Wisconsin's historic list of standouts at his position. Arneson, a Merrill, Wis., native, has two catches for 17 yards this season. Your dad, Dave Arneson, played football at Wisconsin in the 1980s. What does it mean to you to be able to follow in his footsteps and wear the Cardinal and White? "It means a lot. Like every other kid in Wisconsin I grew up as a huge Badgers fan. With my dad being a former player and my mom having gone to school here, I grew up coming to Madison all the time. I have been going to games since I was 4 years old. I've always had the dream of being a Badger and I worked hard and was fortunate and lucky and be able to come here and follow in my father's footsteps." What has been the highlight of your Badgers career so far? "There have been so many cool moments that I've been fortunate to have. I've been able to be a part of two straight Big Ten championship teams. Obviously scoring a touchdown in last year's Big Ten championship game was pretty darn cool. The Rose Bowl is always a special event. Not many guys get a chance to play in a game like that, so going out there twice was very special."
Offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig has said he feels like his has four tight ends that he is confident in. How does that level of depth at your position help the offense? "You've seen us use three tight ends on the field at a time this season, which has been awesome. You've seen us be able to rotate guys in and out if someone is tired or nicked up or something. We have so much depth at tight end that we're all ready to step up and not miss a beat. That is great to have. We also have so much experience at the position with three fifth-year seniors and myself, a junior. Tight ends have really been a strength for our offense so far and we're going to continue to try and get better and keep building that."
Wisconsin has produced a number of NFL tight ends in recent years. It's had both blocking-type players, like Jake Byrne, and noted pass-catchers, like Owen Daniels and Lance Kendricks, latch on with NFL teams. What type of tight end do you see yourself as? "I see myself as a mix. I wouldn't say one or the other. Somebody who was here recently and did both, like me, is Garrett Graham. That's somewhat the style that I play. They'll line me up as the Y, but they can also split me out wide. That's the key, to be versatile, that way they can use me at any time. One of my first coaches always said, 'don't limit yourself, be able to do both.' So I've really worked on being able to both block and catch passes and I think that has helped me see the field as much as I could."
What has the new coaching staff brought to the offense this season? "The offense hasn't changed too much. We're back to, even more, stressing the details again. There is more of an emphasis on all the little things, all the time. That's what's going to make us a good team. When you're tired, focusing on the little things and making them happen is what will make us a successful team."
The defense has gotten off to a strong start this season. What challenges to they pose to the offense in practice? "You can't get much stronger than back-to-back shutouts. We went against them all spring all fall and that defense is a son of a gun to go against. That 3-4 (formation) presents some things that you don't see that often. Most of the Big Ten teams are 4-3 teams, so you're not used to seeing it and also, we have some good players on our defense. They play hard and are well-coached, so I can see why they've been successful so far and I expect them to keep it up."
By Other Contributors on September 5, 2013 9:23 AM
Sophomore OL Tyler Marz (61) found a home at left tackle in the Badgers' season-opening 45-0 win over UMass last Saturday. The 6-foot-5, 321-pound Marz got his first career start when he lined up at left tackle against the Minutemen after bouncing around a number of positions during fall camp.
Your last name is pronounced (MARE-its) nothing like its spelled. Does anyone ever get it right on the first try?
"I don't think so. No one did through high school and no one has during college. It's become a first day of school tradition of sorts. It's a 100 percent German name, or at least that's what my parents told me."
You've had the opportunity to sit behind some NFL-caliber offensive linemen in your career at Wisconsin. What have you been able to learn from them?
"A lot of technique stuff like hand and foot placement, as well as learning to dive into the playbook. They always gave me pointer here and there, such as what defenses are going to do against you -- they were all very smart that way. It has been a positive to have those guys in front of me and leading me on."
What is it like to block for the high-caliber running backs at Wisconsin?
"Having those three guys (James White, Melvin Gordon, Corey Clement) back there, and knowing that they are hard runners, is awesome and it's great to block for them. It is our job to do that, so we come in here every day, work hard and do that. Hopefully the outcome is that they all do get 100 yards every time out. That's our duty and that's the goal we have for them every day."
What has it been like to work with new offensive line coach T.J. Woods?
"He's been great. He's really good at teaching the defensive looks, a lot like what the upper classmen linemen will do. He's really good at teaching technique, even if it's the slightest thing like working your feet, or balance. Overall he's just a great coach."
You had a rapid ascent up the depth chart during fall camp. What's it like now to have the opportunity to be a starter?
"It's a great feeling. All of my hard work up until now is paying off. Now I have to keep adding on to that and keep building. I got my first start out of the way on Saturday and got some of the nerves out. Now I can keep building on that because there is a lot that I need to keep working on. I'd like to improve my technique, speed, physicality and dive into the playbook even more and overall become a better player."
You were a three-sport star in high school (baseball, basketball, football). What was your favorite sport?
"I did a lot of basketball growing up, I was in AAU stuff and I played spring and summer baseball. Football was actually the sport I took up last, but I started to focus on it more as I started getting some looks from colleges."
By Other Contributors on December 18, 2012 11:09 AM
Meet Badger freshman Taylor-Paige Stewart! She is from Calabasas, Calif., and attended Chaminade College Prep High School. The righty batter was a four-year letterwinner was named second-team All-Mission League Division III, and also achieved Academic Honors all four years. She earned the Coach's Award sophomore year, earned the Toshiba/BSTA Exporavision Award freshman year and was also named Female Freshman Athlete of the Year.
Stewart received the Student Athlete Award her senior year and graduated as a National Honor Society member.
Her head coach was Gina Hairepatian. She was also a letterwinner in soccer, and volunteered as a math tutor. Taylor also played for the New Zealand National Softball team and participated in the Softball World Championships in 2012.
Her parents are Joe and Rosemary Stewart. She has a younger brother, Dylan. Some of her hobbies include, watching movies, going to the beach, traveling, scrap-booking and spending time with family and friends. Her major is currently undecided.
We took some time for a little Q&A with Taylor:
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: My parents signed me up when I was about six, right after one of my soccer practices and I got hooked. My mom had played softball growing up, and my dad played baseball up until college too.
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: I started playing at the age of six, right when I was starting first grade.
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: I was a multi-sport athlete most of my life. I played soccer until my senior year at high school. So, if I hadn't chose softball, I would have continued to pursue soccer.
Q: What is your dream job? A: CIA Secret Agent
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: Hunger Games
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: Leah O'Brian-Amico / New Zealand All Blacks (Rugby Team)
Q: Describe your dream vacation A: A trip to Europe and seeing a bunch of countries like Italy, Greece, France etc.
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: My favorite memory from softball was when I first found out I was going to be representing New Zealand in the World Series playing for their women's national team. I was able to travel to Canada, and got to start against the U.S Women's National team as a senior in high school, facing some of my softball idols I had watched on T.V.
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: A ritual I have is that I visualize the game where I think I played the best I ever have, so that I'm confident going into the game. I also like listening to rap and R&B before games because it gets me pumped up and ready.
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: The best part of playing softball at Wisconsin is the amazing athletic atmosphere I get to be a part of. I have an incredible group of girls that I call my team, and I get to learn from coaches who really know so much about the game and how it's played.
Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus? A: My favorite spot on campus definitely has to be where we get to study in Camp Randall. Looking out to the football field every night while doing homework, reminds me of how lucky I am to be there. I get to meet a bunch of other amazing athletes and to know we're all here representing the same school is a great feeling.
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: I'm a sucker for anything chocolate or coffee flavored, it's definitely my weakness.
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: Amethyst
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: I don't watch much TV, but I'd have to say Friends.
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: Catwoman
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: A knife, a life raft and some type of firework.
By Other Contributors on December 14, 2012 10:57 AM
Meet Badger freshman Stefanni Lajeunesse! She is from Los Angeles, Calif., and attended Mira Costa Manhattan Beach High School. The lefty batter was a four-year letterwinner and earned the Mustand Award, which is rewarded to four year starters. She received the Longest Ball Award, was named Most Outstanding Player and was a Scholar Athlete for four years straight.
Her head coach was Richard Amberick. She volunteered for three years with M.T.R.C. (Making the Right Connections) and also volunteered with an anti-drug, anti-gang organization educating children.
Her parents are Albert LaJeunesse and Sandra Ponce. She has a younger sister, Adriana. Her father, Albert, wrestled and was on the track and field team at the University of New Mexico for one year. Some of her hobbies include, volunteering at an inner city Catholic school in her community, spending time with her family and cooking with her tata (grandfather). Her major is currently undecided.
We took some time for a little Q&A with Stefanni:
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: Baseball has always been my family's favorite sport. My grandpa loves to watch the games, and I love to do anything my grandpa loves to do. So when I was given a bat and hit the ball at such a young age, my family knew that I was a force to be reckoned with.
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: I didn't start playing or even knew softball existed until I was 12. I had played baseball all my life.
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: I would definitely play soccer. Put me in as goalie and we are golden.
Q: What is your dream job? A: My dream job is to open authentic Mexican restaurants in the Midwest and East Coast called "Las Chenchas". The goal is to bring the Mexican flavor from Los Angeles, Calif., to other parts of the United States, because I sure do miss the home cooking from Los Angeles out here.
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: I have two all-time favorite movies. A Walk to Remember, I mean who doesn't love a great Nicholas Sparks love story, and the must see classic, A League of Their Own. My favorite line is, "There's no crying in baseball!"
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: My favorite athletic team is the LA Dodgers.
Q: Describe your dream vacation A. If I could go anywhere, I would choose to travel all over Europe and visit many historical locations from The Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, to the concentration camps in Germany and Poland.
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: My favorite softball memory was when I got recruited to play here. At that moment I knew that all the years of playing the sport I love had finally helped me achieve my dream of playing softball at a great Division I program.
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: The first song that I have to listen to is Sail by AWOLNATION before any game. It's the perfect song to get you in game mode, and then I proceed to listen to Eminem, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and some Al Green.
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: The best part of playing softball at Wisconsin is the family you have here. The girls are like my sisters here and the coaching staff is amazing. The camaraderie and friendship on this team is amazing, and I am so grateful to be a part of such a great family.
Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus? A: My favorite spot on campus would have to be Camp Randall. If I'm not at the softball field or at my dorm, you can be sure to find me studying at Camp Randall.
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: My favorite ice cream would have to be Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey.
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: My favorite color is Hot Magenta.
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: I wish I could be on Grey's Anatomy, by far the greatest show ever created.
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: I would be Madea from the Tyler Perry movies. She is such a crazy, witty person. I love it.
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: I would have my 1,001 ways to survive being stranded on an island survival guide, a water bottle with a water filter in it and a picture of my family.
By Other Contributors on December 12, 2012 1:51 PM
Meet Badger freshman Staci Roscizewski! She is from Racine, Wis., and attended Racine Case High School. The lefty batter was a four-year letterwinner and made first-team all-county and first-team all-conference all four years. She was also named team captain all four years. She earned honorable mention all-district during her sophomore year and honorable mention all-state during her senior year.
Staci was a recipient of the Scholar Athlete award, NAACP Herff Jones Leadership Award and the Principal's Leadership award. Her head coach was Tom Adams. She was vice president of the National Honor Society and the Key Club. She was the president of Student Government. She was a member of the Principal's Advisory Team as well as Leadership Club. She was also a letterwinner in volleyball.
Her parents are Kim and Gray Roscizewski, and she has an older sister, Jena. Her cousin, Kate Ricchio played softball at the University of Toledo-Ohio. Her cousin James Ricchio played baseball at Central Michigan University, and her cousin Jeff Ricchio played football at Wisconsin Lutheran. Her hobbies include watching movies, going to the beach and shopping. Her major is currently undecided.
We took some time for a little Q&A with Staci:
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: My mom started me in softball.
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: 10
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: Frisbee golf
Q: What is your dream job? A: Coach
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: Gladiator
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: Joel Stave/Green Bay Packers
Q: Describe your dream vacation A. Ireland
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: Taking seventh at softball Nationals
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: Tie my shoes
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: Hanging out with the team all of the time. It's like having another family.
Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus? A: Camp Randall
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: Double chocolate chocolate
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: Black
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: Wipeout
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: Ashley Van Zeeland
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: Tom Hanks, Wilson and Nutella.
By Other Contributors on December 12, 2012 1:51 PM
Meet badger freshman Katie Christner! She is from Tinley Park, Ill., and attended Victor J. Andrew High School. The righty batter was a four-year letterwinner and was named first-team all-conference as a sophomore and junior. As a sophomore, junior and senior she was named Southwest Suburban all-conference and Illinois Coach's Association second-team. She earned the Scholar Athlete award all four years. She also earned the Chicago Sun-times all-area honorable mention award during her junior year.
During her senior year she was named Southtown Star all-area, Chicago Tribune all-state honorable mention, Chicago Tribune Scholar Athlete team and Victor J. Andrew Female Athlete of the Year. Her head coach was Jim Holba. She was also a letterwinner in volleyball during her sophomore year. Katie was a National Merit commended student and earned the Community Service Award for over 100 hours of service. She graduated first in her class of 530.
Her parents are Randy and Julie Christner. Her father, Randy played baseball at Cornell and her mother, Julie, played soccer at Walsh University. She has two younger siblings, Kelly and Travis. Her hobbies include hanging out with friends and family, coaching the Grissom Middle School softball team and reading. Her major is currently undecided.
Q: Who or what got you started in softball? A: My dad played baseball in college, so he signed me up to play softball when I was old enough.
Q: At what age did you start playing softball? A: I started playing in a recreation league when I was seven, and I started playing travel softball when I was nine.
Q: If you didn't play softball, which sport would you play? A: Gymnastics
Q: What is your dream job? A: Owning a bakery in Ocean City, N.J. with my sister.
Q: What is your favorite movie? A: She's the Man
Q: Who is your favorite athlete/athletic team? A: Derek Jeter and the Pittsburgh Steelers
Q: Describe your dream vacation A:.Going to Ocean City, New Jersey every summer with my cousins, Brett, Cole and Meagan.
Q: What is your favorite sports/softball memory? A: Winning conference at my high school during sophomore year. We hadn't won a conference title since the mid-eighties.
Q: Do you have any pump up or pre-game music or rituals? A: I like to listen to A Day to Remember and Blink 182 before games.
Q: What is the best part of playing softball at Wisconsin? A: The fact that I know my teammates will always be there for me, no matter what.
Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus? A: The grassy area by Elizabeth Waters that overlooks the lake.
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor? A: Chocolate chip cookie dough
Q: What is your favorite Crayola crayon color? A: Sunset orange
Q: What TV show do you wish you could be in? A: One Tree Hill
Q: If you could be any person for a day, who would you be? A: Jenna Dewan (married to Channing Tatum)
Q: If you were stranded on an island and could only have three items with you, what would they be? A: My sister, jugs of water and a boat to get away in (haha)