April 15, 2010

More relaxed Jefferson having fun

MADISON - When it comes to the Wisconsin wide receiving core, not many individual players at the position have had as bumpy a ride as senior Kyle Jefferson. After bursting onto the scene as a tall, lanky true freshman, the Ohio native suffered a couple of setbacks with crushing blows that led to concussions.

Then, as a junior, Jefferson only saw limited action as he slipped down the depth chart ranks.

Now, with his final spring camp winding down, it seems as though Jefferson is focused on enjoying his final season while having a little fun along the way.

At the conclusion of a recent practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the senior wide receiver. The following is a question and answer with Jefferson.

How has spring camp been going so far and are you starting to reach some of the goals, maybe, that you've set for yourself?

Jefferson: Yeah, it's going good. The only goal I really had for this spring was to have fun, relax and enjoy the time. It's my last spring and I'm taking full advantage of it.

When you look back to last year were you pleased with what you did both in practice and in games or is there room for improvement?

Jefferson: There's room for improvement. I think I could have done more, but it was a learning experience and I took it on the chin. I learned from it and that's just one of the reasons I'm relaxed during the spring because me being relaxed is a better me instead of me being uptight. I'm going to take it for what it is. It was a learning experience. I did what I did when I had the opportunities and that's all I can do. I'm just looking forward into the future.

Obviously you've had a little bit of injury problems. As a freshman you had the big hit and then as a sophomore another one against Minnesota. Are those the type of things that made you uptight?

Jefferson: A little bit. Getting two concussions is not too pretty. You try to secure yourself for the next one but you can't. You can't think like that. I learned that. You've just got to play and if you get hurt again…my mom tells me I'm living on nine lives right now. I'm just taking it one day at a time. I'm not worried about it. If it happens again it just happens. I'm not going to wait for it and I'm not going to prepare for it.

Have you had fun? Have you been having a good time over your career here?

Jefferson: I'm having a ball. I don't know about everybody else, but just being here has been a joy. I'm living it, I'm having fun and I'm doing a lot of things many young people wish they could do. I'm having fun and I have a chance to be able to get a degree next year. I'm here to play football and I have an opportunity to run track. I'm enjoying it and taking everything as a learning experience and a gift from God.

How has track been going? Have you run track this spring?

Jefferson: It's going pretty well. I'm off right now because of spring ball, but after this weekend I'll be back on it. I'm off right now, but I'll be back and ready to go.

What events do you do?

Jefferson: I do the 200 meters, 400 meters and 4-by-1 and 4-by-4.

Do you win? How do you usually do?

Jefferson: I do pretty well. It's a setback playing football and getting hit because it beats up your legs. You go out there and run and people have been training all year round, but I don't make excuses. I go out there and still do what I can do when I do it. I perform pretty well so we'll see how it is in the future.

I'm pretty sure you get asked this all the time, but how does track translate to the football field? Is it explosiveness off the line?

Jefferson: Honestly, track doesn't do anything but keep you mentally sharp. It keeps your body in tune for running. You know, when you're a receiver you've got to run so it keeps your body in tune and mentally sharp. Running is a real mental thing. You've got to have mental focus and that's really helped me over the last two years. My mental focus has gotten a lot better. I appreciate that. I appreciate coach Bret Bielema letting me run and do different things. It lets my mind stay into athletics. I'm really grateful for that.

Just watching you in practice, whenever it was open to the media, it seemed like you were really playing pretty well. Is that a fair assessment? Do you think you've been playing pretty well so far in camp?

Jefferson: I really don't pay attention to it too much. I just go out and play and have fun. I let the coaches and everybody else decide if I play well. I just go out, have fun and perform and do what I do. I just keep competing and doing things to have fun and show the coaches and the people around me that Kyle is back, Kyle is doing this and Kyle is doing that. He's doing different things and he's just got to keep doing it and work his craft to do this or that. That's about it.

When you're having fun does it make it easier to succeed?

Jefferson: Yeah, it does. It makes it a lot easier. It makes you more relaxed and you're not as uptight. When you're uptight you tend to make more mistakes. By me being more relaxed I make less mistakes and I do better things than I was when I was uptight. It's a blessing. I'm glad I had this learning experience over the years and it's just making me learn and making me grow. I realized that when you're uptight you can't perform to the best of your ability. When you're relaxed you can do different things. You've just got to stay focused.

Does that just come with the maturity you get as you go further along in your career?

Jefferson: To me it does. For me it did. It's a wonderful thing to be able to say that you matured over the years and are able to do different things. I'm doing a lot of things different than I did in the past and I like that.

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