On Sunday night, the Wisconsin Badgers named four of their seniors as team captains. Along with QB Russell Wilson, RB Bradie Ewing and FS Aaron Henry is DT Patrick Butrym.
Butrym is expected to take over the leadership role left vacant by first round draft pick and current Houston Texan J.J. Watt. Similar to Watt, Butrym is a hard-working senior who is currently flying under the radar at the beginning of the season.
All the hoopla and hype around an exciting Wisconsin Badgers team has revolved primarily around the offense and the acquisition of NC State transfer Russell Wilson (e.g. Russell-Mania).
However, no matter how you shake it up, the Badgers defense will also play a pivotal role at deciding how far this team can go in 2011.
No Badger outside of punter Brad Nortman and kicker Philip Welch has more game experience than Patrick Butrym. The New Berlin, WI native has played in 39 games and started 15 during his three years in Madison. In 2010, Butrym started in all 13 games and admits that he learned a lot from his friend and former teammate Watt.
Most importantly, Butrym learned about taking his play to the next level.
“Intangibles, I hope I have those in check. You have to do things the right way. I’ve never been in trouble my whole life. I’ve always done well in school. Just a whole lot of hard work,” said Butrym.
“I think I have a high football IQ. I need to improve my pass rush, make more plays like JJ did, the TFLs, the sacks, hits on the quarterback, things that really impact the game. I use my hands well, I’m pretty good in the run game. You’ll never be the perfect player, but it’s someting you can always strive for.”
In addition to thinking about how to get to that “next level,” Butrym is ready to embrace his leadership role given to him by his team.
“Hopefully we can have our time as seniors and then hand the keys over to hopefully what will be a Ferrari to the new kids and become the cream of the Big Ten Crop,” said Butrym on handing the program over to the younger players.
Ranked No. 10 in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll, the Badgers project to be that so-called “Ferrari,” and whether or not Butrym can get to that next level will be one of the deciding factors.
What do you think of DT Patrick Butrym? Can he be the next J.J. Watt and will he take his game to that “next level”? Let me know by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.
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