2017 NFL Draft Interview: Bart Houston, Wisconsin Badgers

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Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Bart. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Bart Houston: My name is Bart Houston.  First thing people ask is about my name! I was named after Packer great Bart Starr.  He was my Dad’s hero growing up. My parents, Guy and Inge Houston raised me along with my little brother and sister, Sumner and Glynnis Houston, in Dublin, California.  I went to at De La Salle High School in Concord California.  As a Badger, I have studied Kinesiology at the undergraduate and the graduate level. 

Justin David Kish: During your college career you played for the Wisconsin Badgers. Tell us about your time with the Badgers.

Bart Houston: Three different head coaches during my time there made it very difficult for me as well as my teammates. But the success our senior class has had as a whole speaks volumes about our character.  These guys are my brothers for life and we worked hard to achieve quite a bit. I am a team first type of player so it was very easy for me to work towards the success of the group, no matter what my role at the time. Whatever I can do to help the team on or off the field comes first.  This season I went from being the starter to a backup role back to a starter.  Out team success was always most important to me. I even had a very short stint as a punter back in 2014!  (Thank goodness that was short!). 

Justin David Kish: During your tenure with the Badgers you were coached by offensive coordinators Andy Ludwig and Joe Rudolph. How has the coaching staff at Wisconsin improved you as a player during your time with the team?

Bart Houston: Both coaches were very good coaches and taught me so much about the game.  I would not be the same kind of player without having spent time with either one of these great offensive minds.  Coach Ludwig was very organized teaching me the importance of knowing the ins and outs of any play or scheme, whether it was a pass or a run.  Coach Rudy is more involved with the run game and offensive line play so learning how the big boys up front were going to protect me was very important.  Coach Chryst is more of the offensive mastermind behind the pass game, teaching me the simplicity of offensive schemes. 

Justin David Kish: Playing in the Big Ten Conference you played against schools like Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern on a year-to-year basis. What is one game that really brought you to your limits and brought out the best in you?

Bart Houston: Playing against Minnesota and Iowa each year.  These rivalry game brought out the best in myself and my team.  We just came out on top for the five years that I was here to extend the streak to 13 years with the Axe.  Iowa and Minnesota are known for their tough, hard-nosed fights they put up against us.  The preparation for these games includes the fact that we know it will be a four quarter game. 

Justin David Kish: When you look back on your career you created many memories with your brothers. What is one memory that stands out from the rest?

Bart Houston: I am going to remember the great things we did as a team my senior year as well as playing euchre with them the night before games… But nothing really beats winning the Cotton Bowl. 

Justin David Kish: What does it mean to be a Wisconsin Badger?

Bart Houston: Smart.  Tough.  Dependable.  That is our credo.  For me it also includes being the best teammate possible.

Justin David Kish: Let’s now shift our focus on the 2017 NFL Draft. How are you currently preparing yourself for the draft and who are you working with?

Bart Houston: I am working at the University of Wisconsin with Coach Ross Kolodjiez, the head football strength coach.  I am continuing my education as well, working towards finishing my Masters Degree.  Other teammates such as Leo Musso, Eric Steffes, Sojourn Shelton, and others are training with me.

Justin David Kish: What is one aspect of your game do you consider your biggest strength?

Bart Houston: My biggest strength is the preparation aspect for the task ahead. Preparing for games and learning the system is a strength of mine.

Justin David Kish: Who is the toughest opponent you faced during your career and how did you fare?

Bart Houston: Three Wisconsin outside LBs. Joe Schobert, Vince Beigel, TJ Watt. I competed against them every day in practice. I was lucky to be able to compete against such high caliber athletes. It was hard to throw against these guys but the offense won our share against them!

Justin David Kish: Name a point during your college career when you overcame adversity and what did you learn from that experience?

Bart Houston: My entire senior season was filled with adversity. I went from starter to back up in less than a month.  At any point I could’ve just easily given up but I continued to persevere. The coaching staff noticed this and started to give me a few series towards the end of the season. I ended up taking over in the Minnesota game when the other guy got injured. I started in the Big 10 Championship game as well as the Cotton Bowl. 

Justin David Kish: How was your chemistry with your team in college?

Bart Houston: I have very good chemistry with my teammates.  We know how to laugh and have fun while playing this great game yet also know when to focus and learn when the time is right.

Justin David Kish: What were your on-the-field responsibilities in college?

Bart Houston: As a young-buck I mainly signaled the plays in.  As a junior I was a backup and as a senior I was the starter, the backup, the relief pitcher and closer and then starter again. My preparation was the same every week, as if I was playing the whole game.

Justin David Kish: Outside of football, what does a typical day look like when you have time off?

Bart Houston: When football does not consume my life I am probably catching up on some homework for my Kinesiology classes or hanging out with my teammates. I also have been known the swing the golf clubs when the weather is nice.

Justin David Kish: What have you learned from your past mistakes?

Bart Houston: Persevering for the things that matter to you most in life. Whether it is football or personal things perseverance will help you. 

Justin David Kish: In the next couple of questions I am going to put you on the spot. My first question. If you could compare yourself to any current professional football quarterback who would you compare yourself to and why?

Bart Houston: Ben Roethlisberger; he is tough, an excellent student of the game and he is a winner. He has won consistently with a changing cast of teammates. My style is very similar; size and arm strength, hard worker who puts his team first.

Justin David Kish: My final question. If I was an NFL General Manager why should I draft Bart Houston?

Bart Houston: Better draft Bart Houston before someone else does. Working in Coach Chrysts’ pro style system the last two years means my General Manager can expect me to be a contributor to the team.  Progressions, reading defenses and a clear understanding of defensive schemes help our team win games. Aside from performing on the field, I will be a credit to the organization in the community and project a positive image for our franchise.

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