March 30, 2009

Gilreath not slowed by pressure

MADISON, Wis. - Following a stellar freshman season as a kick returner, wide receiver David Gilreath put together a fairly complete campaign in 2008 from the line of scrimmage. Now, entering his junior season, Gilreath hopes to remain productive at the line of scrimmage, but also restore his explosiveness as a return specialist.

Following Saturday's practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with Gilreath. The following is a question and answer with the Minnesota native.

With the first day of pads done, how does it feel just to get back out here?

Gilreath: It feels good. I mean, we're playing some football again. It's not my first time around the block, I guess, but it feels good to get back out here again.

When you guys lose that bowl game the way you did, it was kind of a blowout in the second half, does it make it that much longer of a wait to get back out on the field?

Gilreath: I don't know, I put it behind us. The weight room is also another type of season or some other step. I don't think about it. I think after winter break everybody was kind of like, 'alright, we've got to get going and get back on the boat and go.'

Talk about the weight room. This is kind of a new thing, the seven-week program this year. How did it go for you?

Gilreath: I think it went pretty well, I got stronger and I gained a couple pounds. It's still hard for me to gain weight, I don't know, it's still hard. It's real good. I actually got stronger out there and maybe maintain a little bit more during the season with the strength.

What's your current weight at?

Gilreath: 165-ish.

Is that similar to what is has been? Is it up at all?

Gilreath: My weight fluctuates. I don't know, I go from 159 and go back up to 166 and down to 165. It's just hard to keep it on, depending on what I eat for breakfast or something like that.

Last year you found the end zone quite a bit and seemed to be one of the guys stepping up at the position. Do you kind of have pressure on yourself going into this?

Gilreath: No, I thought I had more pressure last year. I showed I could do some things and now I have to go out here and show the people that I can play some ball at the line of scrimmage too. I don't think there's much pressure. I just go out there and showing now that I can be consistent and keep going.

Were you pleased with how you returned kicks last year?

Gilreath: No, guys on the team always joked how I am going to have more rushing yards than I have returning yards last year. That was a good joke, I had to laugh about that. I mean, I was disappointed but it's a new year now and I've got to keep improving. I went up and down in kick returns and receiving and I am trying to keep that balance.

Did you maybe put more focus on getting better at the line of scrimmage?

Gilreath: No, I don't think that had anything to do with it. Just maybe people knew about me more and maybe game planned. Maybe it was me. I don't know. We'll figure it out maybe, but I didn't focus on one particular thing.

So far this spring, you and Nick Toon have really elevated your play. I know it's early in spring ball, but do you guys look at yourself as the leader of the position?

Gilreath: Yeah, I mean, me, Isaac Anderson, Kyle Jefferson and Nick, we all got playing experience. Yeah, we look at each other as leaders me and Nick as well.

Is this the deepest wide receiver group you've had since you've been here?

Gilreath: Yeah, well I guess my first year we had all of us and Luke Swan and Paul Hubbard. But, yeah, I guess so especially with last year, more experience.

How good can this group be?

Gilreath: We can be as good as we work. I think we can be great by the end of the day, but we'll see. Hopefully.

As far as the quarterbacks go, do any of them impress you more than the other? How about Jon Budmayr coming in here as a true freshman…?

Gilreath: Yeah, he's stepped up. It's only his third day and he looks like, I wouldn't say a veteran, but he's got a strong arm. He's out there, he doesn't look like he's worried about anything. He just looks like he's out there playing ball.

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