Postgame quotes: Wisconsin vs. Arizona State


ON WISCONSIN
ON WISCONSIN

ON WISCONSIN

Sept. 18, 2010

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Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema
Opening Statement:
"I'd like to point out a few things first off. I've kind of harped on these kids about every play matters since last January. There's no better example of that. Today, the play of Shelton Johnson and Dezmen Southward right before the half, to never give up on that play and get him down speaks volumes. Those are two redshirt freshmen. If you want two guys that are going to track someone down, those are our two fastest guys, so we had the right situation there. Then, at the end of the game, Jay Valai, and just the whole defense. When they scored a touchdown, it wasn't a flinch that they just scored a touchdown, it was the next opportunity to make a play and our guys capitalized on it. Then the way the offense, there in the last couple minutes, to grind that out, do what they did, is impressive."

"I'd like to thank the fans. They were unbelievable today. We talked about that last week, and they definitely influenced the game, made Arizona State tough to communicate at the line of scrimmage, that was a huge, huge part in the game, so I appreciate everything from the Badger fans."

"Also, I want to thank Gabe Carimi. Gabe is of Jewish faith, and for him to go out there today, I just want to give him a special thanks. He is somebody special on this football team, does a lot of great things for us that you never really see except for the guys behind the scenes, so I think that is absolutely awesome."

"And then, the play of some of the guys. We knew Nick [Toon] and David [Gilreath] were going to be down, a couple of those wide receivers, Isaac [Anderson] played big, Jared Abbrederis played big. Duckworth got in there. Just really, really a good effort out of that group. I thought John Clay really raised his game to another level today against a very, very good defense."

"Give credit to Arizona State. They were, and are, a very good football team that I think is going to win a lot of football games, and they have a lot of talent that they maximize all over and in all phases, so best of luck to them the rest of the year, but it's good to have a win."

On how much this game helps the team:
"Well, it helps from a confidence standpoint. We knew, and our guys knew, coming into today that it was going to be a very difficult challenge for them. What I loved about today is that we have talked all camp, especially this week, about it being a four-quarter game, and the resolve about what Wisconsin is all about, play disciplined football, play for four quarters. We were going to work for two, come in and talk about it, and go back out the second half. For us to finish the way they did, you can't ask for anything more."

On Jay Valai's blocked extra point:
 "That block that we put on there was the only time it's been called. Actually, I believe that was the only time it has been called this year. We've done a little different thing with putting Ricky Wagner and Gabe Carimi in there. We've put two big bodies. Their wing span is off the charts. Their wing span is probably taller than I am. We put those guys in there and they've been blowing up the line pretty good and covering down with everyone else, and then this one, Jay took advantage of the opportunity he got and put his hand on the ball. It was awesome."

On Lance Kendricks:
"Lance is playing great football. He has played a lot of good football here and just goes about his business. I'm sure you guys get frustrated interviewing him. He doesn't talk very much. What he has done this year, he has probably had the most ferocious hit on the whole team. He's hitting people left and right. He's got great hands. That play in the end zone, to make that grab with that guy draped all over him. If you know Lance, that's just kind of who he is. He works incredibly hard. We've had a lot of great tight ends here, and he's probably playing as good as or better than any of them that we've had."

On Scott Tolzein's grasp of the game today:
"Well, I think before the end of the half, we handled that as good as coaches and players as we've handled that situation. I really like the use we had with the timeouts. I thought it was just very well executed. Scotty has great, tremendous poise. He was talking ahead of the play about what to do on the next play if something happened. That was obviously a huge, huge turning point for momentum in the game."

On Jared Abbrederis stepping up today:
"Whenever you're in a situation where a young man is going to step in for the first time, you can tell during the course of the week how they're going to approach the game. Sometimes kids are looking to hide behind either people or behind a play. Jared had a spring in his step all week. You could see the energy coming out of him. He was embracing the challenge, and that's what you saw today. He's a great joy to be around."

On Wisconsin's defense today:
"The receivers, the running backs, we thought that was about as good of skill as we'll see. Obviously they're very talented and deep at those positions. We knew that if we played a four-quarter game, they were going to get first downs, but just keep the ball in front of you and make the tackle. A huge point of emphasis for us was leveraging the ball and getting the ball down."

On the overall impression of the game:
"Football is a game that is comprised of four quarters, 15 minutes each, 60 minutes of playing time. But really, it's 60 minutes of reaction, who reacts better to what happens. If we have the proper reaction, all we're doing is controlling what we do. If the result in the end is positive, it shows that we had the proper reactions. I don't know if that makes sense, but we can't control anything other than our reactions to what goes on in front of us.

On how to use today's game moving forward:
"Well, we have to take everything that we can from this game, the breakdowns, the mistakes, but also the positives and the extra efforts. It's a summation of everything that went on. We did enough good things to win this football game, but we have to correct and move past anything that can prevent us from winning in the future. I really just like the resolve of these guys and the way they handle their business."

On battling adversity early in the season:
"I guess it's nice if you win. It makes you stronger. One of the great quotes that I always say is, `Adversity is when a man is first introduced to himself.' That's huge, when you have a bad situation and you respond to it correctly. That is something that you never experience until you do it."

On the receivers who had to step up today:
"I liked the way they responded, and I think it's hopefully a good sign of things to come."


Redshirt freshman WR Jared Abbrederis
On feeling comfortable returning punts:  
"I felt comfortable. Coach Alexander had me catching punts after practice this past week so he did a good job getting me used to it. The first one I was a little nervous because it was, obviously, the first one I've had, but I calmed down real nice and I thought I did a decent job."

On the way he was used today:
"I like getting the ball in my hands and being able to make a move on a guy and get up field. Whatever works, though. Whatever the coaches have planned for me I'll do my best and see what happens."

On his thoughts on Arizona State's return game:
"They had a great team. Hats off to them. We need to pick it up and see where we messed up and we'll practice hard this week."

On the anticipation of starting this week:
"It was a normal week, but knowing you're going to start, you have to step it up. I was really excited, just the anticipation for the game. Just being able to come out here and play the game I love, but I just had to come out here and play to the best of my ability with (Nick) Toon and (David) Gilreath out. Hopefully we'll have them back soon as we can. I think I did well today."


Senior RB John Clay
On the team's ability to stay with it for four quarters today:
"That's what our coaches preach about, staying with it, being the best (team) and playing a four-quarter game. We can't underestimate any opponent."

On the last drive and keeping the game alive:
"I take pride in the coaches having confidence in me and putting the ball in my hands. I couldn't do it without the guys in front. They said we're going to grind the clock down and run the ball and that's what we did."

On not having as many carries in the first half:
"The rotation was good. I was able to get some rest and by the time the fourth quarter came around I had fresh legs and could finish the drive off. I had Montee (Ball) and James (White) to come in and give me some extra energy when I needed it."


Senior QB Scott Tolzien
On facing adversity early in the season and coming out on top:
"From the first day I walked in here until now, you kind of welcome those adverse situations as long as ultimately you're winning the game, and even if you don't you have to learn from it. You need to learn that it's a game of momentum and at times you're going to lose the momentum and there's a challenge, but that's the great thing about the game. I think that's why guys play the game, for those situations and to step up and execute."

On Jay Valai's play and if those are the plays that make good seasons great:
"You look at plays from a lot of different teams and there's a lot of, I don't know if I would say luck, but big plays that could swing one way or another. I think when you put in that hard work and everyone believes, I do think that it's contagious and I think it pays off."


Senior TE Lance Kendricks
On how he felt when he heard a late third-down play would be thrown to him:
"I was confident. It had been successful before in practice. No problem, I was ready."

On being featured today with Nick Toon out:
"I was definitely ready. They put me split out wide sometimes, which we worked on in practice all week, so it went pretty smooth. It was a smooth transition from practice to the game."

On his touchdown catch:
"I saw Scott put a little velocity on it and throw it behind, so I set up the defensive back, and then turned around real quick to get it. "


Senior S Jay Valai
On the blocked PAT:

"We ran the block, and I ran in there and made the play. The guy gave me a birthday gift. Thank god we made the play, and we won. I jumped over somebody's leg and made the play on the outside left side. I'm just thinking I have to make this play. I've seen JJ make it a couple of times, so I knew I could make it. "

On facing adversity and a tough game:
"We're a team, guys came out and stepped up, played aggressive and played hard. The offensive kept running it down their throats. John Clay had a great fourth quarter and finished the game off. In the red zone we played great defense. We came out with a victory, that's all that matters. "

On the blocked PAT being a standout play:
"We made it, simple as that. We did a great job in practice this week. I just did my job, made it through, and made the block."

On having a clear shot at blocking the PAT:
"I just put my head down, looked for the ball. As soon as the ball was snapped, I said, `Okay, I have to make the play.' I ran full speed and did a full-out dive and it happened."

On every play making a difference:
"Our guys came up big today. Special teams, as we saw today, is a big deal. Guys take it for granted sometimes. Shelton made a great play, which could have been the difference in the game. We lived to see another day."


Sophomore S Shelton Johnson
On his touchdown-saving tackle:
"I was just running trying to get to the ball. Dez (Southward) slowed him up enough that I could get to him and make the play. I was thinking, `No, don't let this happen again.' That would have been really deflating going into halftime. I was just hoping I got to him, and thankfully I did."

On the importance of every play:
"I just really didn't want him to score. I just tried to get to the ball as fast as I could. This is an example of how every play is important. My play was big, but I don't know if it was the most important."

On the special teams' struggles:
"I don't know if it was their speed, or our fundamentals broke down, or what it was. We'll find out tomorrow in our evaluation. They were a good team with a good scheme."


Arizona State Coach Dennis Erickson
On Jay Valai's blocked extra-point attempt:
"I thought we had the momentum going. The PAT block is normally unheard of in college football. But we had a chance to get the ball back and kick a field goal to win the game.

Obviously somebody penetrated through. The sad thing is special teams-wise, we dominated the football game. It was unbelievable the things that we did on special teams. We’ve improved so much there. We’ve got some skill guys there. We were one step away (from a touchdown) just before the half.

In all my career I’ve never seen something like that. The bottom line is they got someone through."

On the key to the game:
"I told them we blew a lot of opportunities offensively to score touchdowns and score points. That is why we lost. I also told them defensively, on third down, we needed to get out of drives and get the ball back to the offense."

On Wisconsin's offense:
"They ran the football extremely well and that defensive front of theirs is awfully good. We played pretty well at times but as the game wore on, which is their philosophy, they started to run the all particularly in the third quarter."

On UW tailback John Clay's few carries in first half:
"I saw enough of him in the second half. I didn't know how many times he carried the ball in the first half or the second half. I was just worried about tackling him."

On the importance of the game:
"I feel like it's a loss. My team felt like we were going to come in and win this game. This wasn't a game where we came in and `oh, wow.' We've got to come in and play teams like this and beat teams like this to get us where we want to go. That's why I came to Arizona State. We competed but we fell short.

I was proud of them. We were down 20-13 and came back and drove down on them and got back in the game.

Wisconsin has a good team and they believe in what they do. They do a nice job of coaching. They run the football and the quarterback made some nice plays when he had to.

When you run it like that, the play-action pass is a son-of-a-gun to play against."

On UW being without top two receivers and their pass coverage:
"Where they hurt us more was to the tight end, then reading what the guys on the were doing. They got us on play-action passes several times in key situations. That really has nothing to do with the receivers."

On UW tight end Lance Kendricks:
"He's a big-time player. I was impressed with him coming in."

I feel like we're almost there. There's a feeling on our football team, and I told them that too, that for the first time in a couple of years our team came in here and felt they were going to win and not just come in. They had confidence in themselves and believe in each other. That's where I'm at."

On Deantre Lewis long run where he tripped:
"I think he might have taken it to the house. We have some explosive guys that we haven't had which offensively makes it easier, particularly in the kicking game. I don't know what happened. I saw him and thought he was going to go."

On ASU quarterback Steven Threet:
"I thought Steve played well. I'm proud of him . He hasn't played and he comes back home. This wasn't easy for him. Coming back here with his family and all these people and he couldn't play at Michigan. It was a tremendous challenge for him and I thought executed extremely well. I thought he threw well and had tremendous command of the game."

ON WISCONSIN
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