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Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. Purdue



Postgame Quotes

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Wisconsin vs. Purdue
Sept. 21, 2013
Camp Randall Stadium - Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin Head Coach Gary Andersen
Well, it was an interesting week, to say the least, and I think we can put all that to bed and put it to rest.  But I'm just really proud of the kids, the way they came back and prepared, didn't miss a beat.  Thought we played well on offense, defense, special teams.

Overall, the defense, 14-0, they get a nice drive together and have a broken play for the touchdown and then they get a pick and we're right back out on the field.  They bowed up in that situation, and I was proud of them.

But it was good, ran the ball very, very well.  Those are some really good tailbacks and let's not forget who is in front of them, the offensive line, the tight ends, the wide receivers and those fullbacks, talk about unselfishness.  They just keep on working at it, and some talented players back there making big time plays for us.

I also think Joel Stave checked the run game very well and got us out of some things.  And again, that goes unnoticed many times but that was a positive.

Special teams, we kicked the ball pretty good overall, seemed to, and made a few plays.  So the kickoff coverage got better as the game went on and as we kicked the ball better the kickoff coverage got better.

I'm proud of this group of kids.  Great, great crowd today.  Exciting for myself, selfishly, to be involved in a Big Ten game for the first time.  It's something special out there, as you all know.  But I've never had that opportunity until today.  So it's a memory I'll cherish for a long time.

QUESTION: At this point in the season, I think you're pretty comfortable that you can run the ball effectively.  But there were some pass plays today, especially a couple deep throws that you guys missed.  Are you going to need to start converting more of those consistently from here on?

ANDERSEN: I would say yes.  I don't have the numbers in front of me as far as third down and the throwing and the running and all the stuff that comes with it.  But if I just say one thing that we come out of that game that we need to do, again, we need to pitch it and catch it better.  I don't care if it's a long throw, short throw.  There were some drops out there again today that we need to get rid of.

So we protected well.  Seems like we protected very, very good.  I've seen Purdue, watched a lot of tape on them and seen them give some people real problems with rushing the passer.  For the most part we protected extremely well.  So we need to throw the ball and catch the ball better without a doubt.

QUESTION: You've been a part of a number of teams over your career, but can you recall being around a better running back tandem than what James (White) and Melvin (Gordon) have to offer right now? 

ANDERSEN: No, they're very, very talented, especially with the way they fit into this type of offense.  We had, a few years ago, couple years ago we had two NFL backs that were playing for us.  Obviously, I believe we have two NFL backs playing for us now.  But they're just so dynamic, their ability to make people miss.  They really kind of complement each other with the running styles in my opinion.  So they're special kids.  The third guy out there on the field is not too bad either.

QUESTION: You alluded to the defensive stand that led to that field goal instead of a touchdown.  What did you see from (Dezmen) Southward where he came up and forced Hunt to lose two yards and go out of bounds I think it was second goal from the five and gained five yards to first down.  It looked like Hunt was going to get outside and he didn't?

ANDERSEN: I don't know. I probably couldn't even tell you what the defensive call was in that situation.  Was it on their sideline, I suppose? Yeah, it was on our sideline?  Yeah, I don't know.  I must have been getting a drink of water or something.  I can't remember that.  I'm not going to tell I know something I don't.

QUESTION: It seems like a chicken and egg thing, good coverage in the back end versus a pass rush.  What was the equation today?  What got the secondary, was it the secondary that got the pass rush under, moving in the right direction, or the other way around?

ANDERSEN: Well, I think we got more push today overall.  We had a few more pressures that came clean early, forced him to escape.  The kids rushed the passer better today and had some opportunities to make some plays and they made them.  We mixed a good amount of zone coverages, and we didn't blitz a lot.  There was a lot of four-man pressures that may look like blitzes, but they weren't.  So it was a good defensive effort, and I think we just rushed the passer better today than we have in some other games.

QUESTION: You've had so many explosive plays and it was such a big part of your offense last year.  How important is that to what you're doing right now? 

ANDERSEN: It's huge. Chunk yardage on offense. It's hard in today's day and age of college football to go 12 plays in 80 yards and a pile of dust consistently. You've got to have yards in chunks.  We've been able to do that when we've been successful on offense.  When we've kind of stubbed our toe and haven't been as effective, we don't see those chunk yards just coming our way.

It's great to have.  It's talented young men that can do that because there are a lot of good football players out there, and we need to keep having that happen in our favor as we move forward.

I think the defense is doing a good job of not allowing a lot of big chunk yardage plays.

QUESTION: How did you want your players to react today?  Did you want them to play mad, forget about last week?  What was their mindset?

ANDERSEN: I don't want them to forget.  I don't think you ever forget a loss.  You learn from it to whatever you have to do, you try to learn from it.  I've thought that as a coach, and I've always thought that needs to be communicated to the players.  Did I want them to be mad?  Yeah, I did.  I think that should carry them for a long, long time.  That should give them a little chip on their shoulder that hopefully carries them as we continue forward.  We talked about that this morning.  I was, still am and I hope I can keep that edge a little bit more for them.
We talked about it when we left Arizona State that this should push us to be a little bit harder.  We should want to practice a little harder, work a little harder, play a little harder, prepare a little harder, and apparently they did a nice job of that this week.

QUESTION: You mentioned getting better kicks on kickoffs when you guys made the change.  Was that your call, Jeff's call?  Did you know what to expect from the new kid?

ANDERSEN: Yeah, well, (Andrew) Endicott's done a good job in practice.  He really has.  He's had some opportunities.  We just felt like    I believe we're going to be in a better spot when you have a guy kicking the ball off and a guy kicking the field goals.  It hasn't been that way so far this year, but right now we're hitting the ball well in field goals, and he just seems clean and consistent and his extra points are good.  The holds were good, and the kickoffs were pretty adequate.  I think we got them up in the air.  Even though we were going into the wind, we still got them up in the air pretty good and he pounded them out the back side.
It's a tough moment, because I promise you, when he went to bed last night (Endicott) he had no thought of kicking the ball off in a Big Ten game, and neither did I for him to have to do that.  He wasn't with us at the hotel.  But he had the opportunity to come in and play, so away we go.  Proud of him.

QUESTION: As you alluded to the touchdown was off the broken play.  It appeared like you may have had it defensed properly.  Did you see it where they ran the play that you thought they were going to?

ANDERSEN: I knew it was a fly sweep or a power.  It was one of the two.  So they were running the fly or the handoff; the same play that we run a lot of times out of that.  I really had no idea.  I just saw it open up on the backside.  We were in our quarters coverage, and we ran across the field.  We had to get cut off somewhere on the backside.  I don't know who got cut off or where it was.  But somebody in the structure of the defense had to get cut off, and the kids saw the hole and ran it in for a touchdown.

QUESTION: What did you think of Vince Biegel?  It seemed like he got some good pass rush but might have lost contain on the edge a couple times?

ANDERSEN: Yeah, this will be a great learning tool for Vince, because he hasn't had a lot of opportunities.  BK (Brendan Kelly) has taken all the reps.  There is some good and bad in there.  But I know this, he played extremely hard.  I didn't see a lot of blown assignments from him at all.  And he was, again, ready for that moment.  That's a credit to himself and the coaches.

He came up to me before the game, "Coach, I'm ready to go."  Didn't look starry eyed and was into the moment.  So he did, my belief right now before I watch the film, is he did a nice job.

QUESTION: Seemed like your players dealt with a number of injuries this week and today as well.  At this point, do you have much concern about the severity of those injuries?

ANDERSEN: I do.  I didn't even talk to the trainers before coming in here, so we'll see.  But there are some big shots that we took.  Hopefully, the kids get back.  I don't think anything seems to be a huge problem, but there are some issues out there, and we'll know a lot more tomorrow or early the first of the week, because, obviously, we need everybody we can get for this next game.

QUESTION: With the friendly running back competition, is it easier or harder for you to pick and choose who goes in or what plays to run for each running back or is it a friendly competition?

ANDERSEN: Well, first of all, that's not me at all.  Trust me, Thomas Hammock and Andy Ludwig can do a tremendous job of controlling the running backs and getting their reps and building a place for them and letting them    those are two great coaches.  They'll get them in the game when they need to be in the game.

But there are some different touches, there is some different feel that you do for what they do the best.  Again, Thomas and Andy have a good feel of that, and those two kids are very, very unselfish.  They're fired up for each other when things go well and when things aren't going so good, they look to each other to get it fixed.  It's a friendly competition.  Trust me, it is a competition.

QUESTION: Do you like where the Ohio State game falls in the schedule?  You have kind of a veteran team and they're dealing with a quarterback injury situation.  Is it better to get them early than late, do you think?

ANDERSEN: I have no idea.  It just comes when it comes.  I don't know what the quarterback scenario is.  Six touchdowns in the first half or something, so they seem to be firing on all cylinders pretty good.  But, yeah, it's fine where it is.  Either way, it wouldn't matter to me when we played them.

QUESTION: You touched on it a little bit in your opening statement.  How did you feel before the game?  How important was it to get off to this 1 0 start in the Big Ten?

ANDERSEN: It was big.  Little antsy before the game for myself again because of with what we've done in the past which is now in the past.  It was just an exciting time to be able to go out and play again.  They were money.  Now that they came down, they were nails as far as being focused.  They got themselves in and out of the hotel this morning and were prepared.

So as a piece of myself, I think I'm always as a coach you look at them and try to make sure they're okay.  Sometimes you're right; sometimes you're wrong.  But they were ready to go and they make me feel good about this team when you walk on the field.

QUESTION: You mentioned earlier about the pitching and catching you need to improve in the pass game.  More specifically with Joel (Stave), it seemed like he had some tough moments.  What was your analysis at this point?

ANDERSEN: I thought he threw the ball sideways real good as far as the bubble screens and the underneath passes.  The out-breaking routes, I thought he handled them very, very well.  It seems to be the in-breaking routes right now is an issue, just in a nutshell.  We missed the one slant.  Had a couple of those.  We missed the long one.  I couldn't tell what happened on the long ball.  It was like it was up there forever.  Jared (Abbrederis) just couldn't quite get his sights on it.

Again, we have young men that care.  No one cares more about throwing the ball good than Joel.  I promise you.  He'll work on it.  He'll continue to work on it.  He's making some nice throws at times.  We're missing on a few that they're not necessarily lay ups.  It's not that easy to just go out there and throw the ball 60 yards down the field and have it get caught.

But we'll work on it, we'll be better, and he's got good coaches helping him getting the scheme in a good position for them.

QUESTION: What have you seen out of (Chris) Borland leadership-wise in the last few games? 

ANDERSEN: Since I've walked in here I've seen great leadership.  I felt like I watched last summer, I felt like I saw him go through it two summers ago, and now I guess I saw him lead a team that I was getting ready to come in and try to play, and he's done nothing but grow on me.

He loves the game of football.  Right now he leads our team in community service hours.  He's a senior.  He doesn't have to do that stuff.  He does it, because he loves Wisconsin, he loves football, he's a leader, and our young kids learn so much from that kid, it's amazing.  Tremendous, tremendous leader.

QUESTION: Could you tell what happened on the interception?  Was he expecting (Brian) Wozniak to cut it in? 

ANDERSEN:  I don't know.  I just heard a little over the phones.  I think it was a zone coverage to a man coverage read.  I'll have to look at that one and get the information on there.  But I think there was a little bit of a miscue.

QUESTION: When we talked to you on Thursday you were hopeful (Derek) Landisch would play.  But when did you know he wasn't going to be available?  And first inclination, how do you think (Conor) O'Neill did filling in for him today? 

ANDERSEN: He could have played if we felt like we needed him.  But we just did not get into that position, and I felt very good about O'Neill going in there.  He's done nothing but play well.  It's just nice to have a third guy that can kind of roll through there.  Landisch was ready if needed, but O'Neill was consistent.

For him, Ethan (Armstrong) came in and moved in and played inside last week.  Don't think that he goes home and O'Neill's all jumping up-and-down and excited because Ethan came in and played inside linebacker, because now he's got a shot again this week, and I thought he played well.

QUESTION: How much did Purdue's apparent lack of running game factor into your desire to want to upgrade the pass rush today? 

ANDERSEN: Well, the down and distance were basically when we felt the pass rush.  I think it was just dictated strictly by where they are, where they're sitting and how things are going for us as far as building a defense around the down and distances.  Nothing really about the run game.  We were stout against the run and got us into positions to be able to rush the passer by what down and distance is out there.

QUESTION: Coach, it seems the first four games team's offenses made a really big point of attacking you on the outside edge.  What have you thought about your containment by some of the cornerbacks that get off the block? 

ANDERSEN: Yeah, we've been pretty solid now.  Last week people trying to get the ball on the edges.  I thought we'd seen more bubble screens today.  We took a lot of that stuff away from them.  The young secondary has tackled pretty well.

Now, as soon as I say that, my mind goes right back to the one Soujourn (Shelton) missed there in the fourth quarter.  That was a bad missed tackle. 

But I think they've been physical.  They've wanted to tackle which is a good sign.  I think we're snapping off blocks.  Our defensive pursuit appears to be very good again this week, and that's a lot of kids that care out there that run the ball well, and missed tackles don't really kill you all the time if you can have people running the football.  I think that's what's happened on the edges a lot.

QUESTION: Do you feel any better going into a road game at Ohio State coming off a tough road environment last week? 

ANDERSEN: Yeah, I do.  But I think it will be exciting.  It will be a good situation to walk into.  I haven't been there since I went on my recruiting trip back in 1986.  That was a long time ago.  I know it's all changed since I was there. 

Excited about going in there.  I know it's a great stadium.  But the fact that we've gone on the road once and traveled is big for us.  I know that's a tough place to play, what have you, but our kids will still be prepared. 

Senior RB James White
On having three running backs that contribute:
"We all work hard during practice. We try to be complete backs whether that's making guys miss, putting our shoulders down, picking up blitzes. We go out there and work hard during practice and it shows up on Saturday's."

On how important it was to win after last Saturday's loss against ASU:
"It was very important. We had to put last week in the past and get ready for Big Ten play which is what really matters. I think last week will just give us an edge for the rest of the season."

On playing Ohio State next Saturday, September 28:
"It will be an exciting game. A great competitor and a great atmosphere, so we have to come out here and have a great week of practice if we want success there."

On if playing with a chip on their shoulder after the ASU loss is something the Badgers wants to carry with them for the rest of the season:
"Yeah, that's something that we're going to carry with us for the rest of the season, just keep that in the back of our mind. We want to go out there and play aggressively each and every game, so that will add just a little bit more."

On if having played one more Big Ten conference game than Ohio State will help the Badgers during next weekend's game:
"It helps a little bit. At the same time, those guys are going to come out ready to play no matter who they played last week, so we have to come out there and be ready to play."

Senior WR Jared Abbrederis
On what it meant to get a win after last week's loss:
"It felt good. We had practice all week so it just felt good to get back playing football, but to come out in a game, where it matters, it felt good to get out here, play well today and get a victory."

On the passing game and if down field passes are improving:
"Yeah, we'll work on it this week. Just missed a couple, but overall I think it was a pretty good job by (Joel Stave) and we'll just work on the things that we need to improve." 

On how the Badgers' offense looks heading into next week's game against Ohio State:
"We've been doing a good job for the most part. We just have to make sure we take advantage of every possession that we get. Especially sometimes when we get backed up and that's when most of the times we get stopped, so we have to be prepared on third downs, third and longs. For the most part we're doing a good job, we just have to look at the things we need to improve on and improve on that this week."

On if there is pressure for the passing game to compliment the running game:
"Obviously you want to be able to perform when you need to, so I don't put too much pressure on that. Obviously you want to come out and do well, but when you're running the ball like we did today, it's a good thing that we really didn't need to pass too much. But when we need to pass, we've got to be able to throw the ball, catch it and make plays, so when that happens, we'll be able to do that."

Redshirt sophomore RB Melvin Gordon
On if the team has talked about the terrific numbers the running game has produced:
"We haven't really talked about it much. We just want to come out every game and compete, get after it and just try to help our team win."

On if he can tell early on if the team will be able to run the football well:
"Yeah, it was pretty open, but don't get it wrong, Purdue, their line, was a lot faster and more athletic than I thought they were on film, so they kind of shocked me. They had me redirecting my feet, so I give a shout out to their d-line. Arizona State, their d-line was fast, but I thought the Purdue line was right up there." 

On how it felt to play again after the Arizona State game:
"It felt good. That was a tough loss for us, but to come out the way we did today and respond, it shows what kind of character we have on this team."

On how instinctive some of his runs are and his ability to quickly change direction:
"It is kind of just reaction, you are just kind of playing. My coach always tells me, because I think too much at times at practice and with everything. My coach tells me `just run', that's all he tells me, `just run'."

On how difficult next week's game will be against Ohio State in Columbus:
"It will be quite difficult. But we are going to attack it, we are going to attack everything the same way. It will be a high energy game. I know Ohio State has a thing for us, and we have a thing for them. We have been back and forth and those guys are playing at a high level right now, so it will be a tough game, but we will compete with them. Playing on the road is hard, it's not easy to win on the road. With the freshmen being able to play their first road game (at Arizona State), we have some experience. We are ready."

Senior ILB Chris Borland
On if the team came into this game with a chip on its shoulder:
"I think so. The guys were angry and frustrated but I think they did a good job channeling that into our preparation and I think we played pretty well today."

On if the defense today accomplished what it set out to do:
"I think we fell short on a few goals. Ideally we would like to play better in certain aspects, didn't create enough takeaways. We did have a few things bounce their way and we responded well. They had a short field and we held them to a field goal, there should have been an interception, but I missed that play. The drive they did score there was a 3rd-and-17 conversion and then the broken play. So those things will happen from time to time, but we played pretty well today. " 

On how much he is looking forward to going to Columbus next week:
"We are very excited. It's a huge game. It means a lot. I grew up about an hour away so I have a lot of friends and family that go there. I'm sure I will have a lot of people in the stands, so it's a big game and they are a great team. We aren't going to back away from that. We embrace these types of games and we are excited for it."

On if having a road game under their belt helps prepare them for the game at Ohio State next week:
"I think so. We have a good experience traveling with the young guys, gaining experience in Arizona, so they should be ready for Big Ten play on the road."

Freshman DB Sojourn Shelton
On whether today's win helped him bounce back from last week's loss to Arizona State:
"The key for me going in was just to get my swagger back, to play with confidence, and to see where it took me. I think overall it turned out well." 

On whether returning home after last week's loss helped boost the team:
"I think so. It was pretty loud out there. I remember one time I was trying to get a call and I really couldn't hear it. So I think it was (a boost), just to have the fans behind us."

On whether there was any added significance to today's win since it came against a Big Ten opponent:
"Big Ten play is really huge, so these are the games that you have to win, just to (lay the foundation for success) in games going forward. Next week is another big game." 

On his fourth-quarter interception:
"It was very important. Our coaches stressed that they didn't want (Purdue) to score anymore, so I was just trying to make a play. The defense overall, (especially) they guys up front, they caused (the interception). I give them all the credit.

Sophomore QB Joel Stave
On whether the passing game needs to improve as a complement to UW's powerful rushing attack:
"Yes. I thought there were a couple throws I'd like to have back. We were running the ball well, and when we're doing that we've got to be able to throw the ball."

On whether the interception was one throw he'd like to have back:
"Not even as much that one as the deep (incompletion) to Jared (Abbrederis). I've just got to do a better job of staying loose on the sidelines. I sat there for about ten minutes, and I can't expect myself to come out and throw a 65-yard bomb. It was cooler than I realized, and I've got to just make sure that I'm staying loose and staying ready for whatever is called."

On his interception:
"Miscommunication. They rolled the corner, and the receiver and I just saw things differently. We've just got to make sure that everyone's on the same page."

Senior NG Beau Allen
On next week's matchup with Ohio State:
"Obviously everyone's really fired up about this game. You've got to stay steady, I guess, but we're all fired up for it. It really doesn't make a difference to me (when we play them). I think we get them at a good time, coming off a Big Ten home win, and I think we play them (tough) whenever, wherever, whatever conditions. I think everyone will be up for the game."

On the defense's performance today:
I thought we played really well. We played really hard, and it was a good outcome, (especially) that they didn't have too many yards rushing, because that's something that we strive for."

Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell
Opening statement:
"Obviously that's not the way Purdue football wants to play.  We need to get a lot better. Obviously it was a very close ball game early. We missed some tackles and didn't convert third downs.  When you play a good football team like Wisconsin those things seem to spiral on you and it got out of hand in the third quarter pretty quickly. Obviously we need to take a long look at ourselves, coaches and players and make sure we're taking the right steps to make sure Purdue football gets better."

On Wisconsin's running game:
"They've got a good line, they've got good backs, they break tackles and they're patient with it."

On moving forward:
"When you hit this point four games into the season and you take a little bit of a step back, which I think we did, we've got to look at ourselves and find out who's going to fight and which guys are going to fight.  I don't think anyone won't fight, I don't question that -- we just need to get better." 

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