September 23, 2009

Toon, team prepared for conference slate

MADISON, Wis. - Heading into the season it was obvious that sophomore wide receiver Nick Toon looked poised to have a breakout season. Now, three games into the 2009 schedule, those observations are starting to come true. Toon is the team leader in receptions (15) and receiving yards (191).

He is truly a physical receiver with great size and a knack for finding an opening on the field that allows the ball to be thrown his way. Following a recent practice, caught up with the wide receiver.

The following is a question and answer with Toon:

Three games into the season, what are your overall impressions with the way it's gone so far?

Toon: I'm feeling good. Obviously 3-0 we're off to a good start. We've done some things well these first three weeks. Obviously there's always corrections that can be made, but I think we're strong coming into the Big Ten season.

The last two weeks, you've either tied or led the team in receptions. Is that kind of what you envisioned coming into the season?

Toon: I try to set my expectations high. If that's the way I can help the team out then I'm more than happy to do that. Hopefully I can continue to do that throughout the year.

Last week I didn't count any drops from you. Is that something you really focused on after two weeks ago against Fresno State?

Toon: I just came out during the Fresno game and wasn't watching the ball all the way into my hands. Whenever that happens as a receiver, you're going to have a tough time catching the ball. So, last week, during practice I just tried to get back to my basis and make sure I was doing all the little things right. (I was) making sure I was watching the ball all the way into my hands. You know practice carries over into the game so that's why I didn't have any drops last week.

Have you been impressed with the way Scott Tolzien has been able to handle himself in there?

Toon: Yeah, you know, Scott's…..the team has been doing excellent. But, obviously offensively the quarterback is usually the leader. Scott's been doing a great job. He's very confident in the pocket. For the most part, he makes great decisions. He knows the offense well and I think he's the right guy. I think he's going to continue to have success throughout the Big Ten season.

I don't know if you've seen it on film, but he's taken a lot of hits too. He stands in the pocket and withstands the blitz. As a receiver, how confident does that make you knowing that he's going to do whatever it takes to deliver the ball?

Toon: That's awesome, you can't ask for anything more. Obviously as a quarterback, that's part of playing the position. But there's some guys that don't do that. You don't always see that. Scott's obviously taking the high road and doing the right thing. (He's) staying back there and allowing me to make plays. I have a lot of respect for that and it's good for me.

Now you guys have Michigan State coming up. It was kind of a tough one last year, does that play any part of it? Is there any motivation from that?

Toon: Obviously it was a tough game last year. It was probably one of the better games we played, but we lost the game. A win is a win and a loss is a loss. But, we're moving forward and hopefully we can correct that this year and get the Big Ten season started off right.

As an offense as a whole, are you guys where you need to be going into conference play? I mean, coach Bret Bielema talks about ratcheting the intensity up once conference play starts. Are you where you need to be?

Toon: I think we're ready to go. Like I said earlier, obviously there's always going to be mistakes. There's been things that we need to work on throughout the preseason, but I feel our offense is strong and ready to go.

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