Hicks played with Josh Metellus, Devin Gil, Devin Bush Jr, and Devin Bush Sr was one of his coaches when he won a state championship. Hicks said that they talk all the time and have been joking back and forth all week and since he has the bragging rights from the Wisconsin win last year he doesn’t want to lose them this season. Hicks said that he spoke to Michigan but was never offered a scholarship and has really enjoyed the opportunities to play early that he has had received at Wisconsin.


Faion is an avid chess player. His dad taught him how to play when he was in third grade and he has not stopped playing since. During elementary school Hicks competed in chess tournaments and won a couple of trophies. And in High School there was not a chess team so Faiondecided he wanted to start one. Hicks spoke with the principal and got approval and worked with one of his teachers who supplied the chess boards and a classroom for the team. Faion recruited his chess teammates by tweeting out the new afterschool activity on Twitter. He said that there were about 15 athletes total and that they played after school for an hour before he would go to football practice. Faion says that chess has helped him process football better. He says in both football and chess you always have to consider what will be your next move. And as a corner you have to think about how you will counter a receiver’s move. He says he will always keep his football mind sharp by playing chess.


Faion says that the secondary as a whole has discussed the challenge that stands before them because of the injuries and suspension plaguing their group. Hicks says that the one thing they have been harping on during this week of preparations is GREAT not just GOOD communication. The goal is to eliminate any pre-snap/alignment mistakes. Hicks also said that the secondary just has to focus on not panicking if something does not go right or Michigan makes one good play.


Hicks says that he will probably line up against Donovan Peoples-Jones a fair share during the game. Hicks says he wants to be really physical with Peoples-Jones, press him and really challenge him. Faion says when he watched film that not people have tried to be physical with him because he is such a physical receiver.


Taylor is averaging 25 attempts per game and when I spoke to him this week he says his body is feeling great despite the pounding. He takes his recovery habits very seriously because he understands that he can only be as good as he is healthy. The first 30 minutes after a game are the most important to him. He says he immediately gets into a cold tub, has treatment on anything that is aggravating him and has treatment and puts on recovery tights, socks, and shirts to contract his muscles.


He said that he spent the offseason “looking into the nooks and crannies” to see where he could improve. He says that right now running backs Coach John Settle has been hounding him to go back to the basics and “trust the run and trust the plays”. They watched film together of JT and Coach Settles would show him when he was improvising and doing his own thing. Taylor calls it “going off on a tangent”. And then Coach Settle would show him times when he would take the 4 yards that the play was designed to get. Taylor realized that taking what the defense gives you when it is only 3 or 4 yards can be what sets you up for the big explosive play like the 75 yarder vs Nebraska.


If Jonathan Taylor kept pace with his rushing and  stayedall 4 years at Wisconsin he could break former Badger Ron Dayne’s all time record. And as it turns out Dayne and Taylor have forged a close bond. Jonathan says that Ron is often around the facility and they talk on the phone sometimes when they want to check in with each other. Jonathan says Ron Dayne is a big help to the mental part of his game and always reminds him to “take the game with a smile, the good and the bad”.


LB TJ Edward told me that the team learned that you cannot assume you are going to win any game just by walking out onto the field. Edwards said that the entire team was doing uncharacteristic things. Defensively they were not lining up right, missing tackles, not playing their gaps. And as a whole the team was not playing with a sense of urgency.


Is a self-taught guitar player. He played for the first time in front of an audience at the Buckinghams in April, which is the student athlete banquet. He said his own Mom had never heard him play and he wouldn’t let her come up to see him in person so she had to watch online.


Chase is the youngest of 4. I spoke to his brother Peter who is 10 years older than him and he says that Chase has always been fighting to prove something. Peter says Chase would be the youngest playing pick up basketball or hanging with his friends but it caused him to mature faster and love competing. He told childhood stories of Chase being a rambunctious 3 year old that would scale a backyard fence. Or times when he would be left at a stadium where Peter was playing his HS game because he was off somewhere playing flag football. Peter says that Chase was born with a chip on his shoulder because he is the youngest. But he says that’s why he has able to work through playing 3 positions in 3 years before finding his home at defensive end.