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Postgame Quotes: Wisconsin vs. Purdue



Nov. 5, 2011

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Postgame Quotes
Wisconsin vs. Purdue
Nov. 5, 2011
Camp Randall Stadium – Madison, Wis.

Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema

Opening Statement:
“Two weeks that seemed like an eternity have just come to an end. We’ve won so many games around here I was trying to remember the last time we lost two games back-to-back. It’s been a while, and you’re just not used to that feeling, they’re not used to it and I don’t want our kids to ever get used to it.

I thought this week they handled their business. We kind of talked about it on Sunday, to make the corrections and move forward. Jump into Monday’s overtime, we don’t meet on Mondays but some guys come in on their own. Tuesday was going to be our first workday. I thought they had a really good Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. To come out and compete the way they did today was very special. I thought a lot of guys stepped up. I can’t say enough about the senior leadership. I can’t say enough about my staff.
The longer in this business the more I realize that when things start to go against you how hard it is to bring it back. I thought our coaches took leadership and demonstrated how to do it. Our kids really took the bit and followed. It’s good to be back on track.

This week is all about the (Paul Bunyan) Axe. It’s all about an opportunity to go on the road and do something we weren’t going able to do in our last two opportunities to win a Big Ten game on the road. As we all know, this is the longest rivalry in college football. It’s against a team that is playing very well. I didn’t see their game today but they obviously played their tails off at Michigan State in a very difficult environment. We have a tremendous challenge in front of us and one I know we are excited to go into.”

On Montee Ball:
“Just from a complete standpoint, obviously the rushing numbers were there, Montee’s complete nature is his ability to be a pass (protector) when he needs to, his ability to catch the ball -- that you have seen in the course of the season -- and just his mentality. He is wired in a way right now where he expects success on every play and he is extremely physical.”

On Philip Welch and his 52-yard field goal:
“I saw Phil hit one from 64 to 65 (yards) in pregame warmups going that direction; there was a strong wind. When our offense was taking the field I said, ‘Hey, we get to the 40-45 yard line I’m going to let him take a swing.’ Phil is feeling very confident. I wanted to give Kyle (French) that swing at the end there because I was a little worried about our protection. We made a decision to take Phil out of the game because I think he had five or six kickoff coverages, including the field goals. We just didn’t want to zap him for the future weeks. I am very happy with Phil. I think he feels very confident.”

Junior RB Montee Ball

On getting a win at home after losing the past two games:
“It's very nice to get back on track. It's nice to get back on our own turf in front of our fans. It's always good to win. We did a good job of finishing the game, playing four quarters.”

On the importance of keeping Paul Bunyan's Axe preparing for next week's game at Minnesota:
“It's very important. We have to use our 1-0 mentality to make sure we bring the Axe back to Madison.”

On the past week of practice:
“We have our own little fantasy that every game from now on is like the championship game. And that really helped -- we just practiced really hard and did a great job.”

Senior QB Russell Wilson

On how important it was to bounce back in today’s game:
“I think the most important thing was having a great week in practice. We really had a great week in practice of just executing in all of practice. It showed on the field. We did a great job of getting first downs on offense and making big plays, and getting some turnovers on defense.”

On running the naked bootleg in today’s game:
“We look for it every once in a while and we were running the ball extremely well. They had to bring everybody into the box and I was able to get to the outside edge, and the offensive line did a great job.

“I wasn’t that surprised [on how open I was]. That’s why we chose to run that play. It was a good call from Coach Chryst.”

On if he thinks the team regained their swagger offensively:
“That was something we talked about all week, regaining that swagger, regaining that edge, and playing confident. Those two games we played good. It’s not like we played awful or anything like that. We just needed to make sure we got that winning streak back, in terms of our mindset, and have a great week of practice, and we did that.”

On how important it is for the team to maintain its swagger and get a road win next week:
“It’s going to be huge for us. It’s a big game for us and a big game for them. It’s definitely important with all that tradition behind it, I believe it’s the longest rivalry in college football. We need to make sure we hold up our end and play a great game."

Senior FB Bradie Ewing

On the importance of getting a win:
“It was important. It all started with our week of preparation. Just showing that pays off in the long run and that we are doing the right things. To get a win today was pretty great.”

On the tight score in the first quarter:
“We knew they were going to come out and fight, we saw that on film, and they did that. They gave us some good challenges, they’re a good team. But I think we were just rolling on offense and we just got it going.”

On the play of the offensive line and Montee Ball:
“Montee Ball was phenomenal. But as you know, that all starts with the offensive line and they did a great job. Coach (Paul) Chryst did a great job scheming up some runs this week and it felt good to get some runs on them.”

On playing for Paul Bunyan’s Axe at Minnesota:
“It’s special. I don’t think you need to get anyone pumped up for this game. I think people know of the tradition in this game and with the Axe. Minnesota is a good team, they had a big win either last week or two weeks ago. So we are going to have our hands full preparing for them.”

Sophomore LG Travis Frederick

On Montee Ball’s play:
“Montee Ball ran awesome. He always does and that’s something we love about him because he is always running up and down the field. James (White) did really well and Jeff (Duckworth) at the end really also ran well.”

On the naked bootleg that Russell Wilson scored on:
“It looked like it was a good fake and it was something that we had practiced during the week and executed it well.”

On if a blowout was needed after the past two weeks:
“I think we needed a win, not necessarily a blowout win. It’s something that we just go out and do. We’re just going to continue to go out on each series and hopefully score on each series and move the ball down the field. For us, it was another game that we needed a win.”

On playing for Paul Bunyan’s Axe at Minnesota:
“It’s something that we always put a big focus on during the week when we have meetings and just learn about the history of it. For a lot of freshmen coming in, they don’t know about it. It’s really a big deal for us and it’s something we can focus on and lean on during the week.”

Junior C Peter Konz

On his change of attitude after this game versus last:
“I tend to get serious after losses. I put a lot of blame on myself or the O-line because you can only take it as far as what you can control. Today, it felt great getting a lot of rushing yards, especially in the first quarter when they responded. It just sends a good message to the team that we responded back.”

On the mood of the offensive line this past week:
“It always feels good to be back at home, but we were very focused, every day in practice. Our preparation was just jacked up. We knew it was going to be tough with two road losses and we knew we had to put this game in our own hands. We worked day in and day out to try to get to that, and it showed today.”

On Montee Ball’s performance today:
“Montee did a great job. As much as it’s us blocking up front, the rest is up to him. He did phenomenal breaking tackles and running hard and just pushing for the goal line. He just did a great job.”

On the importance of today’s win:
“It’s very important in terms of confidence. You’re saying to yourself, ‘Ok, you’ve lost two really close games. How are we going to be in this next game? Are we going to be dominant, are we going to be slow?’ You don’t really know and you start to question your abilities. Seeing the way we handled that, it’ll carry through in the rest of the season. We know that we can bounce back after a little adversity. Now we’re completely focused on Minnesota.”

Sophomore LB Chris Borland

On his interception in the second half:
“I tried (to score). Maybe I should have stayed to the near sideline. I don't know if (Purdue QB Caleb) TerBush saw me or not, but it was a good play for us.”

On the senior leadership this week and in the past two weeks:
“It's been huge. It's a testament to the kind of guys we have here. I know Aaron (Henry) called it up before the game and gave a great speech -- but (it wasn't) just the speeches, I think (it was) the way that we actually worked. The senior leadership and the other guys who aren't seniors that lead -- it's been great this year.”

On the importance of the defense turning the two interceptions into points during the game:
“The turnovers were huge. Mike (Taylor) made a great play on that one, and we got another one later. Anytime we can get our offense back out there with the way they were playing today is huge.”

Purdue Head Coach Danny Hope

On what his team takes away from the loss:
“We still have three games left and we have enough good players on our football team to manufacture a successful season. Obviously, we hit the bottom today and the bottom is when you stop digging. We have to do better and I think we will. I think we have enough good players, good people on our team to put together and manufacture a good season. We came into the game today with what I thought was a good plan.

We were really concerned about weathering the storm in the first quarter. They outscored their opponents prior to today, I think 90 something to 15 in the first quarter, and we thought the first quarter would be really important to us today. I thought we weathered the storm some in the first quarter. The second quarter got out of hand a little bit. We had a couple of tough calls and turned the field over a couple of times. We ended up coming in at halftime three possessions behind and that’s unfortunate. Once they get ahead, it becomes tough, because now we have to try to play catch up.”

On the tipped interception by Mike Taylor:
“It’s tough. We think the call should have gone one way and some think it should have gone the other, but we can’t get our team in a situation where we can give up big plays like that regardless of how they are manufactured. Whether they are great plays on the opponent’s part, or botched plays or tough calls.”

On trailing entering the second half:
“They really impacted the game in the first half and that made it tough. We still thought we could come out in the second half and manufacture a drive. We thought we could get a big kick return from Raheem (Mostert) at the beginning of the second half and manufacture a drive and be two possessions down, but we didn’t have a chance to compete and it didn’t work that way.”

On Purdue’s defensive struggles:
“I think we were a little out of bodies across the front some. Ryan Russell didn’t practice any this week and we don’t have Robert Maci, he’s out, and we lost Ryan Isaac on Tuesday to an ACL injury in practice, so he is done for the season. We ran out of bodies and this is not a good football team to run out of bodies against. They have big, strong bodies across the line of scrimmage. They are a really good football team. We didn’t tackle well. They did a great job with their play fakes and their play-action stuff.”

On Russell Wilson's performance for Wisconsin:
“Their quarterback is an exceptional player. I thought at the beginning of the game we were doing a really good job getting off the snap defensively and I thought we were going to manufacture some pass rush against them, and maybe sack them a couple of time or force them to punt. (Russell Wilson) did a great job of being elusive and avoiding the rush. He kept the plays alive. He’s a great player and I really think he was the difference maker in the first half.”

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