Varsity is the free Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.
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O LUCAS AT LARGE BY MIKE LUCAS // UWBADGERS.COM Twitter a tool for Badgers' biggest names 14 n any given day, Wisconsin's Jared Abbrederis might communicate via Twitter with fellow Big Ten football players like Nebraska's Kenny Bell or Indiana's Cody Latimer and Kofi Hughes. Not that Abbrederis sends out tweets all that often; he has sent out less than 500 from @abbrecadabra. "But if they hit me up," he said, "obviously you give them some love back when it's other receivers." On any given day, Wisconsin's Sam Dekker might communicate via Twitter with fellow Big Ten basketball players like Michigan State's Gary Harris, Indiana's Yogi Ferrell or Michigan's Glen Robinson. Dekker tweets far more frequently than Abbrederis; he has sent more than 9,000 from @samdek1. "I've got a pretty good relationship with a lot of athletes," he said. "Even guys not in the Big Ten." Abbrederis has almost 12,000 followers, Dekker has almost 21,000. While they both use Twitter as a communication vehicle ― neither is into Facebook ― they take very different approaches. "I'm not really on it a lot; I'm basically just reaching out to fans," conceded Abbrederis, who will occasionally tweet his appreciation for their support or post a bible verse when appropriate. "The biggest thing with Facebook is that I felt like I had to respond to people and it's a little more personal. If I got a long message and I wasn't able to respond in a timely matter I kind of felt bad. "Twitter is good because you don't have to say too much. It's not // VARSITY October 24, 2013 like you have to respond ― obviously you should ― but you can if you want to. It's more so people just speaking their mind." Which is in Dekker's wheelhouse; he loves speaking his mind; so much so that the coaching staff has kept tabs. "They just tell me to be careful," he said. "They know I like to interact with people." Dekker is aware of the consequence when hitting Send. "Even I admit that sometimes I have to back off a little bit," he said. "There are just times when maybe the least amount said is the best." Some of his teammates are really into Twitter, he has observed, some not so much. "Some days I won't tweet at all," Dekker said. "Then sometimes there may be a big game and I'll tweet a bunch about it. Sometimes whatever pops into my mind, I'll have to send it out. "Sometimes I get a really positive response, sometimes I get negative (feedback). But that comes with the territory. I just have to be careful with it sometimes." Dekker has found multiple uses for Twitter. "I try witnessing my faith a little bit through it," he said, "to send out some bible verses or words of encouragement to people. "If someone has a problem, I'll send a tweet their way and try to help them out. So I try to be a positive influence that way, too." Abbrederis and Dekker are among the highest-profile athletes on campus. They're also members of the same national fraternity: college jocks. It's a tight-knit group, especially regionally. You can break it down to the lowest common denominator: position groups. In Abbrederis' case, he has been watching and supporting Big Ten receivers and they've been watching and supporting him. The aforementioned Bell, one of the most physically gifted receivers in the country, and his Nebraska teammate, Quincy Enunwa, have made a weekly habit out of viewing tape on Abbrederis. Bell has called Abbrederis the best-pass catcher in the Big Ten. "That guy is a stud," he said. Abbrederis was flattered when he found out Tuesday that Bell and Enunwa were in his corner. "It's cool that they're watching film on me," he said. "We'll be watching film on those guys as well." The Big Ten has long been known for its running backs and linebackers and smash-mouth football. Bell, in particular, has been trying to drum up some attention for the wide receivers. Michigan's Jeremy Gallon opened some eyes with his 14 catches and 369 receiving yards against Indiana. Tofi Hughes had six catches for 138 yards and Cody Latimer had five for 96 for the Hoosiers. It prompted Abbrederis to tweet to @CodyLatimer3, "Y'all wrs in that Michigan game went off!!!" Neither Penn State's Allen Robinson, nor Abbrederis, nor Bell, nor Enunwa have to take a backseat. "It's good to see some Big Ten receivers do some good things," Abbrederis said. Nicely played. And he still has 81 characters left.