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July 16, 2010

Baretz working on both sides of the ball

With nearly 6,000 all-purpose yards and 63 touchdowns (41 passing, 22 rushing) as Franklin's quarterback over the past two seasons, it's hard to fathom one of the state's top offensive players working out on defense during his camp tour across the Midwest.

But such is the case for Lance Baretz, who recently picked up his first Division 1 offer courtesy of Illinois State. The Saber signal-caller is opening up to more of an "athlete" role this summer and is learning the intricacies of the defensive backfield, rather than focusing on how to pick it apart with his arm.

"I haven't really played any defense since my freshman year, so I'm kind of getting back into it," Baretz told BadgerBlitz.com Thursday night, "At Illinois State and Wisconsin's camp, I played mostly at cornerback. Coach (Phil) Elmassian (Illinois State) said I could play either corner or safety, and I could find my way onto the field by trying both if it didn't work out with me at quarterback."

Juggling around a busy baseball schedule, Baretz, 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, spent two days at Wisconsin's second summer camp.

"I went down to Wisconsin for a couple days and I decided it would be good to work out with the quarterbacks for a day and then work out with the defensive backs the next day," said Baretz, who also has offers from Division 2 schools Minnesota State-Mankato and St. Cloud State to play quarterback. "The first night we did our testing and I ran around a 4.5 in the 40 (yard dash) and a 4.2 in the pro agility.

"They held me and a few guys back - my teammate Anthony Meyer was with us. I thought I threw the ball fairly well. I was a bit rusty but I thought I did some good things. I talked to my dad and he thought it would be good if I worked with the DBs during my second day. It was really good to spend some time with Coach (Chris) Ash and Coach (Ben) Strickland. We did a lot of footwork and a lot of one-on-ones. I thought I was real physical with my bump-and-run at the line of scrimmage, but I'm still raw in the secondary."

Strickland, in his first year as a graduate assistant with the Wisconsin coaching staff, is more than familiar with Baretz' situation. The former Brookfield Central standout entered the Badger football program as an undersized walk-on but left as a team captain and one of the more respected players during Bret Bielema's time as head coach.

"I was asked to stay after to talk with Coach Strickland," Baretz continued. "We talked for about 30 minutes and we're kind of in the same situation. He was a really good athlete at Central but just didn't have the ideal size, something I'm dealing with right now. He said that I could most definitely go the preferred walk-on route, at least at this point in my recruitment. I told him about the Division 2 offers that I had at the time. He told me what things were like as a walk-on - always being an underdog and keeping a chip on your shoulder. That's something I am considering at this point."

Also a standout in the classroom with a 3.8 GPA and 29 on his ACT, many of the Ivy League schools are options at this point as well.

"Illinois State is a place I could see myself playing," he said. "They are probably my leader at this point, but I'm still waiting to hear from some other schools. I'm talking a lot with West Point and the Air Force Academy. Also, I'm really interested in the some of the Ivy League schools like Dartmouth and Princeton."

Baretz will lead a Franklin squad that should be a contender to win the Division 2 state title this fall.

"I'm really trying to focus on my senior year, though; I think we can really do something special as a senior," he said. "My recruitment won't take away from my teammates or my senior year."



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