March 31, 2009

Toon aims for starting role

MADISON, Wis. - After redshirting during the 2007 season, wide receiver Nick Toon was looking to breakout during his first season of playing time in 2008. After a somewhat slow start, which comes to be expected in a players first year of action, Toon started making gains as the season progressed. Now, as week two of spring ball ensues, Toon looks to continue that momentum.

At the conclusion of Saturday's practice, caught up with the Middleton native. The following is a question and answer with the wide out:

Well, after the first day of pads, how does it feel just to get back out there?

Toon: It feels awesome. The first two practices were real good. We were just up here in helmets (and) the helmets are easy. The first day of pads is when everything starts to kind of show up, but it feels good to get back out here.

There were a few scrums out there today, is that to be expected when the pads come out?

Toon: I think everyone was kind of ready to start hitting. That stuff happens in spring because we're going against each other every day. So, people get a little bit fed up with it. It's part of the game, I guess.

Early on this spring, you really stood out out there as a receiver…

Toon: Thank you. (I'm) just trying to get better out here and establish myself as a playmaker and a starter. Spring is a good opportunity to work on your game and kind of get a head start for fall camp.

You redshirted a couple of years ago, then last year when you started to see some game action, was there pressure on you?

Toon: Yeah, I think there is pressure on any player out on the field. Anybody out on the field playing, there is pressure on. That's part of the game and if you want to play and be a player, that's something that you have to deal with.

Were you running track this winter?

Toon: I ran track over the winter. I'm done now until after spring ball. Hopefully I get back out there for outdoor season.

How was it going before spring ball started up?

Toon: It was going well. Coach Nuttycombe gave me the opportunity to come out and help the track team out. I just took advantage of it and had some fun.

What events did you do?

Toon: I just ran the open 60 indoors. Then hopefully I'll run the open 100 and four-by-four when we get outdoors.

Do you and Kyle Jefferson have a little bit of a rivalry both being on the track team?

Toon: No, no, we don't do the same events. We're not the same position on the football field either. It's kind of fun to have another football guy out there.

Moving forward with spring ball, what are you hoping to accomplish with the rest of these 12 practices that are left?

Toon: You know, just work on the little things that I need to work on as a player. Increase my mental knowledge and get smarter as a football player. Just get better. Like I said before, spring ball is a chance to kind of take a step forward for fall camp and hopefully I can just put myself in a good position for fall.

Going back to track, coach Bret Bielema said he thought it actually helped your confidence a little bit. Is that an accurate statement?

Toon: Yup, it's kind of fun to just have something to go out and still be able to compete in the off-season. It keeps the competitive juices flowing. Obviously track is pretty physically exhausting so it kept me in shape and I feel it made me quite a bit faster and quicker. But, now I'm here to play football. Track is fun, but football is my main thing.

When you were doing track, were you a part of the winter conditioning program with the football team?

Toon: Yup, I did both of them. I did track and football every day.

How did you like that new conditioning system?

Toon: I liked it. Coach B kind of preaches, and there's a lot of truth to it, that summer is where you make your biggest gains. What he attempted to do is create another summer and a lot of guys made some big gains and gained a lot of weight and did what they needed to do. So, I think it was pretty successful.

Did you gain any weight?

Toon: I'm not trying to gain any weight. I'm at the weight (207) I want to play at and I feel good where I'm at. But, I did get stronger so that's good.

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!