It's not like Jared Abbrederis was an overnight sensation, but the versatile redshirt freshman wideout from Wautoma certainly grabbed the attention of UW football fans during his award-winning effort against San Jose State last week.
Pressed into extended duty due to injuries to David Gilreath and Nick Toon, the former prep quarterback and track standout caught five passes for 58 yards during the 27-14 win and was named the team's offensive player of the week.
That explains why Abbrederis, who redshirted in 2009 and made his Badgers debut against Nevada-Las Vegas Sept. 4, was surrounded by reporters Tuesday when UW offensive players were available for weekly interviews.
Abbrederis will have a more expanded role Saturday when Arizona State comes to Camp Randall Stadium for a non-conference game. Gilreath (concussion) will not play and Toon (turf toe) is doubtful. Not only will Abbrederis get major reps at wideout as a result, he's listed as the primary punt returner.
Abbrederis took a moment to consider a few topics of the day.
Question: You know the story of former Arizona State linebacker Pat Tillman, who gave up millions in the NFL to enlist in the U.S. Army only to be killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan? What comes to mind when you think about his legacy, which includes being inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame this year?
Jared Abbrederis: "Man, I don't even have words. I don't have words for what he did. It was great. He was a selfless guy.''
Q: Reggie Bush gave back the Heisman Trophy he received in 2005 because the NCAA determined he broke rules and was ineligible at Southern California. Are you OK with that or should he have kept it?
JA: "He was a great player. The Heisman is for the best player and obviously he was the best player, but he broke some rules. I'd have to say I'm for (him giving it up) just because you can't break rules. You have to be completely honest. If you want to be the best player, you've got to be that on and off the field.''
Q: How hard is the Wisconsin playbook? Is it more difficult than some of your classes?
JA: "As a young player getting used to it, I've got to put so much time into studying my playbook and the plays, studying when to convert a (pass) route or not convert. But I think as this year's gone on already, I'm starting to get a grasp of it and now it's starting to make sense a lot better. But right away I had to put a lot of time into that. It's a lot more time than I did in school.''
Q: How much time are we talking per week?
JA: "It's not just the playbook. It's watching film, too. Between that it's probably five hours myself. We still have team time, team meetings and stuff, so add that in there and it's probably 10 hours a week.''
Q: When's the last time you were genuinely afraid?
JA: "Let me think about this for a second. I would have to say this summer. I was driving my car home to visit my parents and a deer ran out in front of me and I hit it actually. My heart was pumping after that.''
Q: Have you ever felt sorry for an opponent, a team?
JA: "Not really. Some teams weren't the best that I played (against), but they all gave 110 percent. When you see that, you respect them no matter what they do.''
Q: Did you vote in the primary election?
JA: "I did not. I had class all day. I would have had that not been the case.''
Q: So you're civic-minded in that regard?
JA: "My mother sent me a text (message) last night. She said, 'Hey, you should go vote (Tuesday) if you have time.' I would have loved to. I just didn't have the time.''