MADISON - Madison, Wis., is a long way away from Plantation, Fla., but new Badgers cornerback Hugs Etienne is settling in nicely in his first semester at Wisconsin. Etienne is one of three early enrollees the Badgers brought in this semester, and BadgerBlitz.com caught up with him after practice on Tuesday.
How do you think spring camp is going for you so far?
Hugs Etienne: I think it's going great. Today I actually made some plays, so I think it's going really good. In the first practice, I was kind of nervous out there. But not I'm going out there and flying around, so I'm feeling good.
How has the transition from high school to college gone for you?
HE: That's been great. I've been doing a good job in school, trying to get that out of the way. I'm coming out here and going 100 percent. I like all my classes right now, I'm getting a lot of help from tutoring, but it's going great.
Does that kind of take some pressure off of you, since you can deal with one new thing at a time if you enroll early?
HE: It's actually made a big difference, because now that I came up early, I actually get to go through the process without actually having to worry about football too. I actually get to go around and get used to school. It just takes a lot of stress off of your back. I'm really happy that I came up early.
How are you doing physically? Are you at a weight that you like?
HE: Physically I'm feeling good. I'm going into the training room, so that's helping me to put some size on. My goal for this spring is to put on at least 10 or 15 pounds, and I'm doing well with that so far. I came in at about 160 and I'm at about 170 now. I'm hoping to get up to 180 or 185.
Through three practices, what's been the biggest difference between high school football and college football?
HE: In college, it's just a faster tempo. It goes really quick. In high school some days you could not go 100 percent and still do well, but in college you've got to come out here and compete every day. It's got to be and 'A' game every day. Every day you've got to come out and work hard.
You were talked about as a guy who could use some extra developmental time to get bigger. Are you ok with taking a redshirt or are you hoping to play right away?
HE: I see where you're coming from, but I came here to play. I didn't come here to sit on the bench. I came here to play, so I'm going to do whatever it takes to get on that field. At the end of the day it's (head coach Bret Bielema's) decision, but at the end of the day I'm going to do whatever it takes to get on the field.
Ok, so what do you think you need to do to get some playing time this season?
HE: The main thing is my size, so I'm trying to put on some size so I don't have to worry about all of that redshirting stuff. I also need to work on my physicality. Obviously I'm kind of a smaller guy, so I've got to get physical. This is the Big Ten, with big receivers, so you've got to get physical with them. Summer conditioning will be important.
Have any of the other more experienced guys helped you out in these first few months as you got adjusted to college?
HE:Devin Gaulden and (Peniel Jean) have been a big help. We go up in the coaches' office and watch film almost every day. They show me my mistakes and help me out, so I can get better every day.