April 14, 2010

With healthy feet, Gilreath hopes for big year

MADISON - As a freshman, it didn't take long for wide receiver David Gilreath to open some eyes with his blazing speed and kick return capabilities. But after a somewhat slower sophomore, Gilreath looked to bounce back as a junior.

However, with a couple of very sore and bothersome foot injuries plaguing the speedy runner throughout the season, Gilreath wasn't able to perform at his highest level. Now, as spring camp winds down, Gilreath has a fresh pair of feet.

With them, the senior wide out hopes to accomplish great things during his final go round with the Badgers.

At the conclusion of a recent practice, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the Minnesota native. The following is a question and answer with Gilreath.

Obviously with spring camp winding down, has it been going pretty good?

Gilreath: Yeah, it's going pretty well. It's always good to get it done with. I love football and everything, but you want a break sometimes.

How are you doing with your feet?

Gilreath: They are back to normal. I feel some soreness in there, but it's fine.

Did you have any surgery or anything during the off-season?

Gilreath: This past off-season? No.

How bad were they hampering you last year?

Gilreath: Yeah, I had surgery a couple of months before fall camp started. My first day of actually running was the first day of fall camp. I got out there and I started grinding right away. With an injury, even though you may try to baby it, it just never got better. I just kept pounding it and it got worse. I just had to play through it basically.

When was it the worst? When you went side to side?

Gilreath: Yeah, coming out of breaks it just bothered me. It's your feet and it's on both sides. You try to limp on one, but when you limp with that one you're kind of hobbling. It was kind of funny, but it was both of them so it was pretty tough.

You said they get a little bit sore now in spring camp, but are they comparable now to what they were last season?

Gilreath: No, this is just like a soreness. It's all good. The other ones were just a sharp pain and it was pretty intense. I had never dealt with anything like that before.

It's got to be a relief then if you're feeling pretty good with the feet, especially as a receiver. What can you do with healthy feet?

Gilreath: I hope I can put the last couple of years together. I had a good returning year, a decent receiving year and good rushing year. Hopefully I can put it all together for a big senior year.

You talk about yourself, but as a unit you guys have a lot of guys returning with a lot of experience. How good can you guys be and how do you get to be that good?

Gilreath: You've just got to work hard. I guess we can't settle for what we've done last year. We can just springboard off of that and try to snowball off of that. We do have a great team and I think that Miami game really gave us some confidence. We can beat anybody. We beat the U, a highly ranked Miami team, that wasn't just a slouch team. We went out there and won. I think we can snowball from that. We've got a lot of great players from each position.

How about the offense in general? It's just loaded this year it seems. Obviously you lose Garrett Graham and Mickey Turner, but you guys have got a lot coming back.

Gilreath: Yeah, but it happened my freshman year when I came in here. They were talking about having a lot of guys coming back from that 12-1 year, this and that. The guys talk about that a lot out here. We haven't done anything this year. The 12-1 year was great, the 10-3 Miami team was great, but we have to come out here and work hard. They're pushing us in practice. I feel like they forgot about that and they're pushing us out here.

Is that a mentality that the coaches instill or something that you guys as players are trying to strive for too. Just within your own circles?

Gilreath: I don't even think coach has talked about us last year much. I think it's the players. We had a senior meeting and we talked about it. We can't settle for anything less, and I think somebody mentioned the 9-4 year we had after the 12-1 year. We've just got to forget about that.

I think coach Bob Bostad had a speech. He's a real rah-rah guy and he kind of cussed us out, but he had a real good message. It was about forgetting what we did last year and keep going forward from that.

That's got to be a motivating factor. Did he just fire you guys up?

Gilreath: Yeah, he's a great motivational speakers. It's not just one of those speeches where you're like, 'Okay, that was a nice little speech.' I thought he put feeling into it and we understood where he was coming from. He talks with a lot of passion and we know what he's talking about because he's a great coach. He yells a lot, but whatever way you want to get your message across we're going to respect you.

Talk about yourself a little bit. You're kind of the staple of that end around play, what makes that work?

Gilreath: The blockers really. Anybody can come flying around the corner. We can get Isaac Anderson or Nick Toon flying around the corner. Maybe they don't have the quickness or speed like me, but hey (laughing). I think we get a lot of guys blocking.

Coach Paul Chryst draws up some nice little schemes for it, some blocking schemes. They draw us a nice little scheme for it and it works pretty nice. A lot of people don't use it. I think we got it from Oregon State or whatever. I see them using it a lot. They drew up a nice little thing. That's what works pretty well.

You obviously like running it.

Gilreath: Yeah, just touching the ball in general. Keeping the ball on offense is fine.

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