September 23, 2010

Clay still on pitch count entering Austin Peay

MADISON - Distribution wise, the running back totals were a little off during Saturday's win over Arizona State. Not off in the sense that they were mismanaged. Instead, they were off in the sense that they were a little unexpected.

John Clay, like one would expect, paced the group with 22 carries that helped him surpass the 100-yard mark for the ninth-consecutive game. Behind him though, true freshman James White overtook Montee Ball in the handoff department.

Now, with the non-conference finale on the horizon, it seems as though White's rise is going to continue. On the most recent depth chart, his name is slashed ahead of Ball's. When the Badgers host the Governors Saturday, it will be interesting to see newest edition of running back carries.

Earlier this week, BadgerBlitz.com had an opportunity to catch up with UW running back's coach John Settle. The following is the transcript of that interview.

Is Montee pressing?

Settle: Yeah, he is. It's kind of like being the middle child. You think you have to do something to get mom and dad's attention. But he's a guy that has proven he can play. All he's got to do is relax and play football.

He has John in front of him playing well and James is or was behind him and he's showing some things that he's pretty much shown from day one. So now there's a big competition to see who is going to get those second string reps. He just has to understand that if he plays his game and not try to do anything out of the ordinary or anything special, he's going to be alright.

Do you envision him having a certain niche and has he reached that? Maybe he's finding himself a little bit?

Settle: He's always going to be ready to go and he has to be ready to go. He's a guy that can play first, second and third down for us. He definitely has a role in third down packages because he understands the things that are going on in our third down protection schemes and what the other teams are trying to do to us and how they're trying to attack us.

He definitely needs to make sure he's aware of what's happening then. Because, like I tell him, if he's going to be the third down guy and he's getting in the game when the game is on the line, we need to execute and we need to move the chains to get more opportunities to get more plays. Then he's in a position where he might get more first and second down reps.

We talked all through fall camp about how explosive James White can be. Now we're starting to see that. Is it surprising to you to maybe see him making the impact that he is so early?

Settle: No, like I said he's shown maturity all along so it kind of doesn't surprise you. We watched film and we recruited him and we're excited to have him. We knew he could play and that he's got big play ability. Some of the things that he's done have kind of surprised us. It was a good surprise and I'm glad to see him come in and have the success that he's had.

Like coach Paul Chryst always does, he's going to put the young guys that show potential in a position to be successful. He has taken advantage of every rep he's got.

Is John taking stock in this nine-game 100-yard rushing streak he's got going on? Does he take pride in that?

Settle: That's something we've never talked about. I kind of like that. I think he just approaches everyday as a business day and a workday. Everyday is the same. It's an opportunity to go out there and perform and an opportunity to go out there and win. If he got 99 yards and we won, it wouldn't matter.

What does that say about that guy? And are you where you wanted to be with the pitch count with him at this point?

Settle: We were a little high on Saturday. We would like to have him at 30 (plays). That was our goal but we got him 40. We were hoping to get him 30 to 40 this week understanding it's right on as we go into Big Ten play. We want him to play 40 to 50 reps and probably carry the ball 25 or 30 times.

This week will be a good week for us in the fact that we get a chance to get him a lot of reps, get him hit and breathing heavy. Then we'll see where he is after the game.

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