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Wisconsin football: Jazz Peavy working toward larger role in Badgers' offense

The Kenosha native is looking to take the next step in Paul Chryst's offense.

Tom Lynn/Getty Images

MADISON -- It was one of the deeper sentiments seen on social media when the Wisconsin Badgers traveled up to Green Bay to practice inside the Don Hutson Center and tour Lambeau Field last Saturday.

While many took pictures with the four Lombardi Trophies the Packers have won as Super Bowl champions, touring the locker rooms and Hall of Fame, or simulating a Lambeau Leap, junior wide receiver Jazz Peavy sent out a simple tweet. He stared out at the field to which he'll set foot on come Sept. 3 when Wisconsin makes the two-plus-hour trip back to Titletown to face LSU in the 2016 season-opener, simply asking, "Have you ever dreamt about something.....Every single day?"

"It was just me kind of reflecting back and also looking towards the future," Peavy said Tuesday morning after Wisconsin's seventh spring practice. "All the preparation that I know I have done, and everything that I plan on doing. Just one of those things that I'm looking forward to getting playing there and hopefully getting to the next level and things like that. It's just things that keep me motivated and driving myself."

The up-and-coming receiver has continued to prepare for the opportunity to play an even larger factor in Wisconsin's offense this fall. With the loss of Alex Erickson, who led the team in receptions the past two seasons, Peavy has the chance to contribute and be a threat in head coach Paul Chryst's pro-style offense.

It's also a prime time for others in that position group, including Reggie Love, George Rushing and Krenwick Sanders to step up and challenge Peavy and Robert Wheelwright for first-team reps and substantial playing time. It's a competitive environment, said wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, and the two wide receivers need to "protect their job" while continuing to grow and improve upon 2015's performance.

Wheelwright and Peavy were third and fifth in catches for Wisconsin last year with 32 and 20, respectively, and the former NFL position coach noted their spots heading into 2016 are theirs to lose. Peavy gained momentum last season, catching four passes for 44 yards against Nebraska on Oct. 10 and five for 88 yards against Northwestern on Nov. 21, but will need to continue to build upon that solid performance.

"Establishing himself as a guy that's an every-down player," Gilmore said when asked about what he's looking for in Peavy leading up to the season. "Establishing himself as a guy that can make those catches, that can be consistent. Hey, you talk about Rob, you talk about Jazz, I would like to see one of them establish themselves as the go-to guy. Things like that, taking the next step."

"Jazz in particular, when something does go bad, getting stronger mentally and moving on to that next play and flushing it. So that's his challenge this spring, and I think if he gets stronger in that area alone, it's going to help all the other things."

Peavy's focused on three objectives. The Tremper graduate continues to improve his conditioning and keeping his body in "tip-top shape" with what's asked of Wisconsin's receivers. The 6'0, 189-pound athlete also wants to enhance his route running, working to be more physical at the top of his routes, while getting in and out cleaner.

Along with Gilmore's thought process, he wants to continue mentally mastering the playbook so there's no hesitating when he's on the field against a defender. It's not just a goal for the in-state product, but for the other receivers.

"This spring, we want to make sure we have all the details and all of those little wrinkles cleaned up and make sure we understand everything, so when we come into the fall, we can just get rolling right away. We're still not hitting those little things over and over, like not patting your feet at the top of the route, getting in and out, things like that."

Wheelwright's seen the development and role change of his close friend since the two came in together.

"He's been making tough catches," Wheelwright said. "His route running's always been pretty good. It's just good to finally see him come into this role and fit this offense."

How snug of a fit will depend upon his progression and what transpires between now and Sept. 3 in Green Bay, where he practiced just a few days earlier.

While up there, did he at least get to re-enact one of the great celebrations seen throughout football at the home of one of the league's most storied franchises?

"No, I didn't get a chance to do a Lambeau Leap," Peavy conceded.

"I wanted to, but it started getting cold and all the guys were lining up, so I was 'Alright, I'll just go in.' Maybe I can get one (on) game day."

Something Wisconsin coaches and fans would love to see to start the season.