Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Lewis Short on Time

Alex Lewis would love to get used to life as a Badger.

“Somebody told me that a lot of people would want to be me, would like to be in my shoes,” the Delran, N.J., native said, “Just a couple of years ago I’d say I’d like to be in my shoes, and now I’m living the experience, so I’d say that I’m blessed by what I’m doing right now.”

The problem is, Lewis’ dream is almost up. Lewis came to Madison after beginning his college career at SUNY-Morrisville, where he was a standout for the Mustangs. Lewis was named the Conference Defensive Player of the Year, as he totaled 100 tackles to go along with 10 sacks. When Lewis transferred to Wisconsin, he had only two years of eligibility left and a lot of learning to do.


“The game was a lot faster; you have to be a lot smarter and more aggressive and just be patient, have more confidence,” Lewis said.

Wisconsin defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove echoed Lewis’ thoughts and praised him for his development.

“There’s no comparison (between this year and last). He’s improved tremendously,” Cosgrove said.

One teammate who has helped Lewis’ learning process immensely is senior linebacker Jeff Mack.

“He helps me out a lot,” Lewis said, “I mean, he’s a wise man. He’s been here four years, he knows the program, he knows what the coaches want. So I try to listen to him and try to pick up the keys from him.”

“I finally started to get more comfortable, I’d say, midway through the season last year,” Lewis said. “I’d say around the Michigan game.”

Though Lewis had one of the best games of his junior campaign against the Wolverines, his play before the trip to Ann Arbor was impressive to say the least. Lewis racked up 10 tackles against Northern Illinois, 10 tackles and a blocked punt against Arizona, 13 tackles — four of which were in the backfield — and two forced fumbles against Iowa and 13 tackles and a fumble recovery against Illinois.

His standout play didn’t go unnoticed: Lewis was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Iowa, and prior to this season he was named to the pre-season watch-list for the prestigious Butkus award, given to the top linebacker in the nation.

The national attention hasn’t changed Lewis’ work ethic one bit.

“It’s a very good honor, but you have to live up to it,” Lewis said.

After seeing extensive time at both the weak-side and strong-side middle-linebacker positions last season, Lewis is happy to have finally settled in on the weak side.

“It’s been real good… I’ve just found a home,” the senior linebacker said. “I’m trying to get better at it every day, every practice.”

Lewis, who states that he doesn’t model his game after anyone (but admits that he admires Ray Lewis, Derrick Brooks and former Wisconsin star Donnel Thompson), has shown that he truly is at home at his permanent position. Lewis is third on the team in tackles (30), second in tackles for loss (5) and leads all of Wisconsin’s linebackers in pass breakups (3). Now that Lewis is comfortable, he’s starting to become a leader as well.

“Alex is kind of a quiet leader,” Cosgrove said. “He shows his leadership through his work ethic and how he performs on the field as far as getting to the football and going full-speed on every play.”

In addition to making plays with his rare combination of strength and speed at linebacker, Lewis has made an impact on special teams with his penchant for blocking punts, with three thus far in his short career for the Badgers. Though Lewis doesn’t have a specific secret for his talent, he says confidence is the key.

“Just not being scared … just be intense and know that you’re going to block the punt every time you go out there,” he said.

As far as the future, Lewis doesn’t want to think about the fact that his time at Wisconsin is almost up or his potential professional career.

“I’m not even trying to think about it like that,” Lewis said. “I’m just trying to play every game, game for game, and just have fun while I’m doing it and try to be the best at what I can do. Right now I’m just thinking about a Big Ten championship … the NFL can wait, college is once in a lifetime.”

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