March 25, 2009

Maragos excited about team chemistry

MADISON, Wis. - The road Chris Maragos has traveled has been expansive. But after transferring out of Western Michigan where he was a walk-on, Maragos came into Wisconsin in a similar spot. With no scholarships available, Maragos made the team as a walk-on and through hard work, has found himself with the No. 1 defensive unit early in spring ball.

Following Tuesday's practice, caught up with the Racine native. The following is a question and answer with Maragos:

It must feel good to get back out on the field.

Maragos: It's so nice, especially just after the off-season. It was kind of a little extended off-season, kind of wanted to get a summer in the winter type of deal. That's why you train to come out here and play. So, just having a year under my belt feels great, I feel real confident.

That's something new, the winter conditioning program, how did it go?

Maragos: It went good. That's something that we really wanted to emphasize was strength gains, especially too in the off-season, just to switch some stuff up, to have some better team chemistry. I think that's rally carrying over. Guys are playing cohesively a lot better and I think it's really beneficial for us.

Was chemistry an issue last year?

Maragos: You know, I thought at times we played as individuals and we didn't play as a unit. I think that's why, you know at times we were flashing brilliance, and at times we kind of lacked a little bit. I think just coming with this winter here and just coming into the spring, I just think everybody is close knit and we're just playing as a unit.

Is that a byproduct of a four-game losing streak?

Maragos: Yeah, it's tough, but you've got to battle through that. As an athlete, you've got to overcome adversity, that's just something that we needed to do. I think we really wanted to look at that and just do a better job of that this year.

You were running with the one teamers today. How exciting is that for you?

Maragos: It's good. Like I said, from this time last year to right now, even from the season, my confidence is pretty strong right now. I just really feel comfortable back there knowing everything that I need to be doing. It's a blast, it's really fun.

When you get as much playing time as you did last year, is that something that really helps your confidence?

Maragos: That definitely carried over and especially now in the spring here, I'm not really looking to learn my plays or anything like that. It's more like fine-tuning stuff. Just having the confidence and just going out there playing loose now, I don't have to worry about where I need to be. It's more about how I'm going to execute. You can add a little stuff to your game here, just a little bit of stuff, but yeah like I said, just playing a little more relaxed and loose.

Is that something that really takes time, learning that playbook?

Maragos: Yeah, I think it takes time, especially being offensive minded and coming over to defense. You understand it, but just really getting comfortable with the position. Going through the winter too, there was things that I knew from the season that I said, 'okay, I've gone through the season, now here's the things I need to improve on, here's the thing that's going to help me out.' Before you go into a season, you kind of know from the spring, but after you go through the season, you really know the kind of stuff you need to look at and kind of the stuff that's really going to benefit you as an athlete. So, especially this winter, just drills that I was doing and film that I was watching, different things that I needed to do, I think have really been helpful.

Just looking at the secondary in general with Aaron Henry back out there and buzzing around, you guys have great depth…

Maragos: Yeah, definitely. We have a lot of guys that got experience. That's definitely going to help out a lot. Any given play, anybody can get hurt and it's always great to have depth. It's also great to have guys around you that have experience. If you got questions, you can talk and just kind of sharpen off of each other. That really helps out a lot. Again, as each day grows and we just keep playing together, our confidence just keeps growing. So that's very exciting.

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