December 17, 2010

Football mentality key for Mason

MADISON - A standout on the hardwood, Madison native Marquis Mason accepted a scholarship to play a game he wasn't quite as polished in. Now, having practiced throughout an entire regular season, Mason is adjusting quite well.

At the conclusion of a recent practice caught up with the wide receiver prospect. The following is a question and answer with Mason.

Obviously you're through your first full regular season and your redshirt year, what has the experience been like? Is it what you expected?

Mason: I expected it to be hard, but I didn't expect it to be this hard. I knew coming in that I was redshirting, but I didn't think you'd have to do as much as far as developing. It's a lot of work. Getting our defense ready for every game was the main thing and getting my body right because I still had a basketball body. It's slowly transforming into a football body. Now, I have a football body but now it's just the mentality part of it.

You said it was hard, is it hard physically, mentally or both?

Mason: It's more mental. When you get to college it's more mental. If you're athletic or whatever, it comes out later on. But you have to get the mental part of the plays down and the coverage's. There's a lot of reading beforehand.

I was watching you in practice and just watching you there as compared to what you were doing in fall camp made you look like a totally different person. Have you improved quite a bit?

Mason: Definitely. Coming into fall camp I knew very little. So I was very timid because I didn't want to mess up a lot. My coach is going to push me to the limit and he definitely pushed me. After I reached that hump I began to settle in and everything started sinking in. That led to me getting more comfortable which led me to where I could show my talent off.

You talk about having a basketball body and I've seen you play basketball where you're a pretty physical guy. Does that kind of translate into being a wide receiver?

Mason: Honestly, it's completely different. In basketball it's about taking up space. Football is physical. You're pounding your opponent. That's something I had to get used to really quick.

Can you be a physical presence at wide receiver though?

Mason: Yeah, as the season progressed I have gotten more and more physical. It's pretty much the hand position. Like I said I have a big body so I'm able to push a lot of defensive backs and move them a lot. It's just a matter of me getting that mentality of blocking first and catching later and helping my team win.

Obviously being a stud athlete that you were at the prep scene both on the football field and basketball court, did it come easy for you as far as being a high school athlete?

Mason: Yeah, that's one of my downfalls. I never really had to try that hard. I know there were a couple of times where in football I would only try hard when I was shown up. That made me play. Basketball was kind of different because that was kind of my passion. I kind of just did what I had to do. I tried a lot harder my senior year because I knew it meant something more.

Coming here it's just like you have to try hard all the time. You have to show them why you're here. That's one thing I had to make an adjustment to.

Coaches won't let you have it any other way.

Mason: If they do that means they're not coaching. They're going to push you over your limit. There were times where I doubted myself on whether or not I wanted to be here. It's one of those things you have to get used to. That's one thing, the college mentality that I didn't think I'd have to go through. But Wisconsin is Wisconsin for a reason.

Are you happy you stuck it out? It seems as though you're doing pretty well.

Mason: At first I was always doubting and thinking am I really a football player and am I really supposed to be here. But once you get everything settled and you put the pads on and you walk in this doorway it's either all or nothing. That's one thing I still have to do.

Who was the favorite player you had a scout on? The favorite guy you got to emulate this year?

Mason: Probably Ohio State and Michigan. I was one of the primary receivers. I was DeVier Posey for Ohio State and I can't remember the Michigan guy's name. But I got the ball a lot so I was able to, not really hurt the defense, but push them. I think the scout team against Ohio State was what helped the team win, along with great defense.

Do you take pride in winning the Big Ten title even though you weren't necessarily on the field?

Mason: Yes, because it's like a fishbowl with the outside looking in. If you redshirt people don't think you do a whole lot. But if you think about it redshirts do a lot of stuff. Without us the defense can't get prepared. Without the defensive redshirts or people that aren't playing in the games, the offense can't prepare. It's behind the scenes work and that's one thing I take pride in.

Do they have you working wide receiver exclusively or have they maybe talked about putting you at H-back?

Mason: I think there were two or three games that I played tight end. Then Sherard Cadogan came over and he started playing tight end. I got a little action at tight end, but a lot at receiver.

Are you fine with both of those?

Mason: Wherever they put me I'm going to try to do my best. I love receiver of course and I have a lot of people I look up to at receiver, but if I have to play tight end that's fine, too. Whatever I've got to do to make the team better.

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