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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Fullback Pressley overcomes emotions, has career day

[media-credit name=’JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]FB_Sidebar_Jump_JS[/media-credit]Chris Pressley’s line Saturday — five carries for 31 yards and his first career touchdown — was impressive and surprising for a running back known so much for his blocking that he considers himself more like an offensive lineman.

What makes the story even more impressive is what didn’t show up on the stat sheet: In the last two weeks, Pressley’s grandmother and uncle both died suddenly, and his brother was in intensive care for four days and on life support after being stabbed.

“Chris had an unfortunate situation with his family; he had to fly back the Thursday of the Penn State game … to attend his grandmother and uncle’s funeral,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said.


Pressley said he briefly thought about skipping the game against Penn State, but though he played, his mind understandably wandered from the field.

“He was there, but not there,” Bielema said.

“It was tough, though,” Pressley said. “You’re losing a whole lot of different things. I almost thought, I thought I was losing my brother … so Saturday during the game I’m thinking, ‘I can’t wait to get to the phone and hear some news.'”

Pressley’s brother is now recovering and is expected to be OK.

Against that backdrop, football was really put into perspective.

“You’ve really got to take advantage of your opportunities,” Pressley said. “You only have one life to live.”

Saturday, Pressley did just that.

Coming into the game with only one career carry for five yards, the senior took advantage of the offensive game plan to get more involved in the offense and had a career day: five carries for 31 yards and a touchdown and one catch for six yards.

Such involvement in the offense is so foreign to Pressley that although he knew coming into the game it would happen, afterward he still hadn’t completely processed it.

“Yeah, that was unexpected,” Pressley said of getting his hands on the ball so frequently, before reconsidering. “No, no, it wasn’t unexpected.

“Coach let me know what he was going to do. It was one of those things Coach said: ‘Yo, take advantage of the opportunity.’ … I kept telling him all year, ‘Let me tote the rock a little bit and show you what I can do.’ So finally he let me see what I can do.”

The decision to give Pressley more touches was something the coaching staff had been thinking about doing for a while, not just the result of advantageous situations in the game.

“Chris had had a pretty good fall camp,” Bielema said. “He had really been pressing — not to be a pun — but we’d press him to get him more involved in our offense.”

The 10-yard touchdown run was Pressley’s first score as a Badger and came on the first play of the second quarter.

“They were like, ‘Press, come on, you can get in there, it’s not a problem,'” Pressley said. “I’m gonna get in there. This opportunity might not come again.

“It’s one of those things I have to make the read, slide over and do what I had to do.”

Pressley did just that, and after the game, passed off the credit to his brethren on the offensive line.

“It was really important to emphasize to my linemen how much that their work counts,” Pressley said. “Sometimes linemen don’t get glorified, and I feel like a lineman 90 percent of the games.

“It’s just one of those things, ‘Thanks for everything that you do,'” Pressley added.

After everything Pressley had gone through in the last two weeks, roommate and running back P.J. Hill was happy to see his lead blocker enjoying himself.

“Just to see him with a smile on his face throughout the whole game (felt good),” Hill said.

If Pressley has learned anything over a two-week stretch, which the unexpected seemed to become a common occurrence for him, it is to take advantage of the moments and opportunities you have.

“It’s just putting your life in perspective. Life is short. You have to enjoy it while you’re here,” Pressley said.

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