Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. South Dakota




Sept. 24, 2011

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Postgame Quotes
Wisconsin vs. South Dakota
Sept. 24, 2011
Camp Randall Stadium – Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema

Opening Statement:
“I thought that last week the guys really handled the week well. We probably practiced as well as we could on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was a little bump in the road but I was excited for today to get the opportunity to get a lot of guys in there. I thought South Dakota, obviously, came in without any fear in their eyes and played well. Nothing has popped up that I think we can’t correct and move forward.

I’m very excited for this week to finally get here. You guys might’ve heard, but we’re playing Nebraska, so there are some fun things to prepare this week. It’s a really exciting time for us because you put in all this hard work and effort into getting through the nonconference schedule, playing as clean as you can and get into a Big Ten race. There’s also the opportunity to play at home and at night. It’ll be a great scene, a great environment for college football and hopefully it’ll be a nice infomercial all week for University of Wisconsin.”

On the physicality:
“I think it’s a mentality and a frame of mind. I challenge these guys. The word respect to me means a lot. I want people to respect what we do. We spend a lot of time here trying to build up a reputation for playing physical football, a mentality of being able to put people away, putting your foot on them and going. I thought these guys did that, especially the way they opened up the third quarter.”
    
On the offense scoring quickly:
“Obviously it’s a two-way thing. One was a big running play, Abby (Jared Abbrederis) continues to get deep behind people, and Russell (Wilson) can obviously make the throw. What I like about our offense, more so than any other time since I’ve been here, is that you have to respect the run and play-action game. They look so much alike and there are so many similarities between the two that it is very difficult for defenders, especially secondary support guys, corners, safeties and linebackers that are trying to fill run and read pass. ”

On Nick Toon:
“Nick’s healthy. We’ve seen him make plays like that in practice. He plays big. He catches the ball, in my opinion, as well as he can with his hands. Very few things are getting near his body. He’s a guy that, when he’s healthy and playing well, is as good as any wide receiver in the country. I think right now the part that’s exciting is that although we are football team that’s getting a lot of recognition, the quarterback, running back, wide receiver and a couple of offense linemen might be as good as there is, not only in our conference but in the country and that’s going to get out there a little bit.”

On where they are in the season:
“I know we have four wins and I think they are wins we earned, no one gave us anything. I really like the process our guys go through. I really thought last week was the perfect opportunity to gauge the mentality of our team. They really prepared and I didn’t hear one guy talk about Nebraska as much as it was brought up by outside sources. I think they respect the preparation and I know it’s an excited locker room now to go out and have another work week and see what we can do.”


Senior QB Russell Wilson

On Nick Toon’s play:
“He’s doing a great job. That’s a testament to his hard work, his talent and every single day in practice going 100 percent. That’s what we need, and (Jared) Abbrederis is going 100 percent too.”

On starting the Big Ten season:
“Definitely excited. That’s one of the reasons I came here. Great games, great atmosphere, Big Ten football. We’re definitely excited, we’ve got a great team coming in. We just have to make sure we prepare in the right way.”

On preparedness for Big Ten season:
“In practice we go against one of the best defenses in the country every day.”

On putting teams away:
“It’s kind of the attitude of never settling, never being satisfied, and I think that when you go against a great defense every day in practice, in terms of offense, you get better every single day. We have to keep working and keep getting better.”

On blocking downfield:
“Guys work hard on that every single day, really pushing themselves, making sure they’re straining every single day; making sure they’re doing the right thing at the right time. When that happens, big plays can happen.”


Senior WR Nick Toon

On how he’s feeling, physically, this season:
“I feel good. I’m healthy, so I’m able to go out and do what I do. Injuries are a part of the game and you have to learn how to deal with them. Hopefully I can stay healthy for the rest of the year.”

On playing with Russell Wilson:
“Obviously, Russell  is a great player. I’m not able to do what I can do if I don’t have someone who can get it to me and Russell’s done a great job of getting the ball to me this year.”

On the best part of Saturday’s game:
“It’s hard to pick one. Just running off the field knowing we got the ‘W’ is the best feeling.”

On his one-handed catch:
“It was a good catch. Russell put the ball up there and I just made a play on the ball.”

On the team’s feeling on the upcoming Nebraska game:
“We’re really excited. We’re excited to get the Big Ten season started, and obviously, this is a pretty historic game. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to play in it.”

On the importance of the downfield blocking:
“It’s a big part of allowing the running backs to have success in the running game. Downfield blocking creates big plays. Obviously, we run the ball a lot here and it’s something we have to be good at in order to have success.


Sophomore WR Jared Abbrederis

On his play today:
“It was fun getting out there and having a couple of balls being thrown my way. It was great to be able to contribute on the long runs, being able to block downfield and open those runs up for the running backs. I had a lot of fun out there just flying around.”

On his role during punt returns:
“Anytime I can get the ball I want to try to do that, whether it’s on offense or special teams. I just have to keep going. I wish that one would have counted, but it’s alright, that’s why we keep practicing.”

On the diversity the team’s passing game has:
“I think if we stay consistent like we have it’ll be hard for defenses figuring out who to focus on. Obviously, you have to keep making plays, but if they focus on (Nick) Toon or (Jacob) Pedersen, I should be open or the other way around. I think it will keep defenses on their toes.”

On his feelings on the Big Ten opener:
“It’s going to be a great game. I’m excited to play them. They’re a great opponent. We’re looking forward to that. We’ll approach this week just like we have the past couple of weeks and get good preparation in. We’re just ready for them.”


Junior RB Montee Ball

On the duo of he and James White:
“We always joke on the sideline, I always get on him to chill out and calm down because his averages are way better than mine. It’s just a little competition we have. It’s good though, I go in and run outside a little bit and James goes in for 30-yard gains. It’s a good offense.”

On hitting 31 touchdowns for his career:
“It’s a pretty big number, but that’s 31 touchdowns for the offense. The offensive line does a great job and Coach (Paul) Chryst does a great job calling plays.”

On offensive confidence going into the Nebraska game:
“It’s perfect right now, coming off of these non-conference games and putting up stats like that and going into the Big Ten now with a chip on our shoulder against a great team like Nebraska.”

On the excitement level of the upcoming Nebraska game:
“I hope it’s like the atmosphere of the Ohio State game plus one. Just the tradition and everything and the environment. The fans are going to be into it, we’re going to be into it, College GameDay, night game. You just can’t ask for anything more.”


Sophomore RB James White

On another game over 600 yards for the offense:
“We just try to go out there and execute our offense and, whoever touches the ball, they’re going to try to make a big play. If it’s over 600 yards, then that’s what happens with our offense.”

On the offense as a whole:
“This team is great. The offensive linemen, they get us started, and then great receivers, great quarterback, and we’ve got running backs that can make things happen. Coach (Paul) Chryst calls the plays and we just go out there and do our jobs.”

On his relationship with Russell Wilson:
“He’s very good with everyone on the offense. He’s cheering us on to make big runs, and we’re cheering him on to make big plays in the passing game. He really opens up things for the running game too, keeping those safeties back and linemen turned, it makes those holes a little bigger.”


Sophomore LB Chris Borland

On his interception:
“In our coverage, I was the free man there, so I was reading the quarterback and got a good jump on it. As far as the return, I probably should have stayed outside, but I’ll have to get another one and stay outside next time.”

On the defense’s turnovers:
“We had to force more turnovers than in the first couple of games. That’s part of being a good defense and we weren’t doing that. We got that this week and hopefully we can continue to the rest of the season.”

On the team’s excitement for next week’s game:
“I mean, the game ended less than an hour ago, but the team is very excited. It’s a huge game for us. Every week is, but this especially is. They’re a great team and will present a lot of challenges.”

On what will be different, defensively, during Big Ten play:
“We’ll be tested with great lines. We’ve played some good teams but it’ll be a whole different animal with Big Ten lines. They’ll pound the ball at you. So we’ll be faced with stopping the run and facing the lines.”


Junior LB Mike Taylor

On the team’s defensive performance:
“Defense-wise, we got two turnovers today. It’s something we’ve kind of been focusing on this past week. Hopefully the two turnovers we got today can propel us forward into some more turnovers.”

On creating turnovers:
“As long as you’re winning and playing good defense, those turnovers will come to you. And if they don’t come, you just keep playing and sooner or later they will come.”

On what the defense has learned:
“We’re tough. I think it’s just a good group of guys who like playing together. When everyone can have fun and be responsible -- you can trust everyone -- you can play fast or you can play smarter. You just are relaxed out there.”


Senior FS Aaron Henry

On progress made by the defense:
“The last couple of weeks we’ve been stressing turnovers. Yes, we didn’t allow too many points, but our coach was still unsatisfied. He wanted turnovers. I definitely think we went out there and put a really good display on tape today. But I definitely think we’ve improved week in a week out. I think the most important thing is, each and every week getting better.”

On Shelton Johnson’s interception:
“I think we were in a blitz and he was in the post so he just read the quarterback. We’ve been working on that in practice. He just read the quarterback and got a little break and kind of just spark-plugged everything.”

“They always come in bunches. Lucky enough for us today, we were able to get two back-to-back in the form of interceptions by Shelton Johnson and Chris Borland. Hopefully this can catapult us into Big Ten play and hopefully we can develop some more turnovers.”


South Dakota Head Coach Ed Meierkort

Opening Statement:
“It is what it is. We took a beatdown by a superior squad, and we could kind of see it coming on film. I was hoping it didn't explode the way it did, but I thought our guys competed pretty well. We made some bad misalignment mistakes in the third quarter that cost us big points. You can't make mistakes against a team that's fit to be better than you. Like I just told our guys, we're in a different world than this group is, and we understood that coming in. We have to move on. They've got their agenda and we have ours.”

On the field goal and the long drive in the second quarter:
“When (the score) was 10-3, we were living on the edge. We knew that. Our kids felt like they could compete for a while -- I could see that. I don't know if we really believed we could compete. We've watched the tape. We just wanted to make sure we gave it all we had as long as we could. I thought they did. We just got overwhelmed by a superior team. Their scheme is great, their quarterback is fantastic, they have the best offensive line coach in the country in Bob Bostad, and defensively they're better than a lot of people give them credit for. I really believe that. They don't have the star power that they had a year ago, but they have some rising stars that you're just starting to learn about now because they replaced a lot of kids.”

On if the Coyotes came out of the game a better team or not:
“On the defensive end, it's kind of hard to think you came out better, but there's two ways to look at it. As long as they check theirs, it's a win. That's the one way you look at it. We're football coaches, and we have a lot of pride. We're 18th-ranked in our level, we're not used to this. It's going to take a little time for us to get over this, but again, to put it in perspective, we kind of knew this was going to happen. We're one of a million teams that these guys put a lick on.”

On what the long trip did for the team from a bonding standpoint:
“I think any time we have overnights and hotels, there's a lot of bonding that goes on. And when you take a whipping, there's a lot of bonding that goes on in the locker room. You're going to find out who your friends are in a hurry. So hopefully we've developed a five-star mentality and take us on the road. We will not be in another venue like this again, maybe for the rest of our lives.”

ON WISCONSIN
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