Nov. 11, 2013
• Andersen News Conference
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin football head coach Gary Andersen met with members of the media Monday at Camp Randall Stadium to look back on the Badgers' win over BYU and preview Saturday's Big Ten matchup with Indiana.
Video of Andersen's media session can be found above, and a complete transcript of his remarks is below.
ANDERSEN: First of all, solid performance for the kids. I thought it was a very good team effort. Like I said after the game, still feeling the exact same way after evaluating the film. It was offense, defense, special teams. All played a vital role in that game. It's never perfect, but it was a good team effort, which was great to see.
So individually, Michael Caputo had a fantastic game on defense. He played very, very well. And I was proud of the adjustments that we asked Dez (Dezmen Southward) to make and Nate (Hammon) also to make and come in and play a lot of man coverage on a ton of wide receivers.
That was a part of the game plan. You always worry a little bit about that, making those switches in those directions. But it turned out to be a positive for us overall defensively, able to control pace and was a big part of it. So offensively, it was a steady performance.
A couple highlights as you watch the film and you go back to it. The play that I mentioned that James (White) made, again, on the block, the corner chop, was a big part of the game. It shows his head even bigger when you sit back and watch the film. That was a big part of the game. A tremendous play.
The opening drive was big for our offense to go down and get points. And then to move themselves down the field and functioning the way they functioned at the end of the second quarter there to get a touchdown. That was a very nice play by Joel. There's a lot of reason that he could have just thrown that ball away and took the field goal at that point or the attempt to make a field goal, but found a way to get roll off to James and get the touchdown.
So special teams, it was good to make a couple field goals. For the most part, there's things we can do better in that area, but it seemed to be solid. We had two pins on kickoff and three pins on punts, so it was good to see.
Moving on to this week, Indiana has a very potent offense that's proven itself week in and week out. Score a bunch of points, rack up a bunch of yardage, and they have a lot of skill on the football team, running back position, wide receiver position, both quarterbacks do a nice job of running the offense, and they both have gotten reps. On the film that I've seen so far, they both come in, and the offense doesn't seem to take a big step backwards.
So it's going to be a big challenge defensively for them. We've got to do what we do. We've got to come in and run the ball, hopefully get a little bit more of the play action game going back in our direction this week and continue to protect the quarterback in a way to give Joel an opportunity to throw.
Another big challenge. Happy. Very, very happy to be back home again this week. It's good for us to be able to get an 11 o’clock kickoff at home. We're excited about the opportunity to start preparing today.
QUESTION: Gary, you mentioned asking Dez to play those guys in single coverage. Was it designed so you can have more guys to control at quarterback? What was the rationale there? Was it the big receivers?
ANDERSEN: The biggest was the big receivers. That was the biggest part of it, the fact that we wanted to try to get hands-on on the line of scrimmage. And playing against the (Chase) Hoffman kid for years and years, he's very good at contested balls, and if you play him off, he's good at running slant routes, and he's a long receiver.
So the whole idea was really just to disrupt it early and hopefully cause some confusion in the timing between the quarterback and the wide receiver.
QUESTION: Would that be an effective tool this week against Indiana?
ANDERSEN: It could be. I can't say I've watched enough tape at this point to really truly say that. They've got some good receivers. (Cody) Latimer. Is that correct? No. 3 is I watched him from the beginning of the season, and he makes a ton of plays. No. 1 (Shane Wynn)keeps popping up and makes plays for them.
With limited film watching from my standpoint at this point, I would say that's a possibility.
QUESTION: You have a veteran team. You take opponents seriously week to week, but this is a team in Indiana that Wisconsin has handled well pretty easily the last few years. Is there anything you do in particular this week to remind them they can't just walk on the field and expect that to continue?
ANDERSEN: I think the tape will speak for itself. These kids are so good at watching tape. Every week we talk to them hard and heavy of understanding who their opponent is, watch the tape, evaluate it.
Football is year by year, and Indiana's done some really nice things this year. They've had some tough losses and are in games all the way through. They score at least 28 points each week. That doesn't make you stand up and grab your attention as a defender, then nothing will. And then just throwing the tape in on the flip side of that.
You look at them on the defensive side of the ball, but one thing I'll say, those kids, they're playing hard. They've got a good scheme. And week in and week out, they continue to battle.
I think our kids will be ready and they'll have great respect and understand that it's every week that you got to prepare. There's three weeks left. So we should have very clean and crisp practices in the regular season to finish it off the right way, and it's all about preparation. Then we'll see what happens on Saturday.
QUESTION: Kevin Wilson said today he thinks running back Tevin Coleman won't be able to play. Kind of an injury. Obviously, he's the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. How significant do you think that is, and will it change things as you prepare if he can't go?
ANDERSEN: He's a great player. He's proven it week in and week out. The other young man again I apologize for not knowing names. I haven't been able to see enough of it yet. I think it's No. 12 (Stephen Houston) comes back in the backfield, and he's done very well and done some good things for them.
Tevin (Coleman), he catches your eye right away. He runs the ball. He's physical. He's tough minded, he's very fast. He's outran a lot of defenses. It's four or five runs of 40 plus yards this year for touchdowns. They'll miss him, but they've got other talented kids to go around.
QUESTION: As good as Chris Borland is, do you ever watch him? Does he surprise you with anything that he does anymore? Or at this point, is it just like he's really great, so he can do pretty much anything?
ANDERSEN: Pretty much every day he surprises me, on and off the field. He really does. Consistent. But it's consistent greatness out of him. That might be the thing that surprises me the most, is just his ability to sustain and maintain and just keep plowing through it and stay focused.
He was as ready to play last week as anybody on that football field. He probably knew in his heart that he wasn't not this last game, the game prior to that that he probably was not going to be able to play. But the way he goes about his business when even he knows that it doesn't look real great that he'll be on the field is impressive. He surprises me in a good way most days.
QUESTION: With today being Veterans Day, I imagine there's a certain person on your mind today.
ANDERSEN: I was going to mention that before I left. First of all, just a big thank you to all of us because we're not just a football program, but University of Wisconsin, the athletic department, everybody that has served and is serving, we have what we have because of those people. That's the bottom line.
Obviously, I have a soft spot for my pops, who was obviously a veteran himself. And that's something he took great pride in, and I was taught at a very young age to take great pride in that, and I always have.
Big thing for me is I'll thank Dad myself, but I'll thank everybody that's involved because we can never forget we have what we have because people are willing to serve.
QUESTION: Gary, last week you guys talked about going from defending Iowa's offense to BYU and such a difficult transition. How much carryover will it be this week from BYU to Indiana? But I'm also curious, they run the pistol now, it looks like. What problems does that pistol present for defense?
ANDERSEN: I'm not they do run pistol. They don't major in pistol. There's a lot of offset backs, and they'll get into the two back set. There's definite carryover from the scheme from BYU to Indiana, without question. The quarterback is not as much of a runner. If the one young man's in there, but if the other young man is, then all of a sudden it becomes much like the case when it's a runner and a throw threat and a quarterback run game threat.
Now, we handle the quarterback run game extremely well. I don't know what they'll think about that coming in. Maybe they'll still go with it and try it. But there is carryover.
The pistol what the pistol does for you is it just gives you so much of a downhill run at the inside zone plays. When you're in shotgun, it's more sideways and then find your spot. The pistol is more of a true dive play, if you will, and it's on top of you right now on the line of scrimmage instead of the running back have to make a cut to get back to the line of scrimmage as he does if he takes the ball from the shotgun snap where he's offset.
QUESTION: One more thing about Chris Borland. He's up for some impressive awards obviously. Missing two full games almost, do you think voters will be smart enough to take that into account, or do you think that's going to impact it?
ANDERSEN: I sure hope not. I think what he's done over the years should offset the fact that he had a little bit of an injury this year that kept him out of, what, I guess seven quarters if you look at it at the end of the day is what it would be.
I think with what Chris has done, his reputation, what he does off the field should surely offset that and put him in a great spot to be recognized.
Does he win? I sure hope he'd make the short list on all those lists because I think he's very, very deserving.
QUESTION: Two parter. A lot of dire predictions about the offensive line this year, maybe the well had run dry around here. Could you talk about the progress made by that group and where it is right now.
ANDERSEN: First of all, we all know it was low in numbers. I think those kids and Coach (T.J.) Woods and Coach (Andy) Ludwig took a lot of pride in preparing him, being smart, working our theory in there as far as getting them to the game.
These kids have done a nice job of practicing the right way and staying up, which you never know, it doesn't happen, so it's a great thing. But if you don't practice right and the guy falls when he shouldn't fall or what have you, then you've got issues on your hands.
But these kids have taken care of their bodies. They do it week in and week out. I guess the next man up, which this team has done so many times this year, in a very positive way, would fit this team, unselfishness, would fit that group. Unselfishness would fit that group also.
Dan (Voltz) is a perfect example. We all know at the beginning Dan was doing very well and had the starting center position kind of locked down, and then guys came back off of injury. He ended up getting the hamstring tweak in the scrimmage and didn't play and then came back and started a game, and he started this last week. He'll probably start again this week.
Seven or eight guys deep is what they are. They've worked like crazy, and I'm proud of them. The challenge is to keep moving in that direction and recruit a good hard nosed class this year with fairly large numbers on the offensive line to keep the tradition going.
QUESTION: Obviously, the line play is important in any program. How important is the offensive line to the success of this program? It may be magnified a bit by the way this program operates?
ANDERSEN: Yeah, I would agree with that. There's when you play the way we play, and in the simplest of terms, there may be you know, the quarterback read-zone play, if you've just got an athletic quarterback and he pulls the ball, he is going to be one on one at the line of scrimmage a lot of times. Sometimes that guy doesn't even have to be blocked; you can just beat him without a block.
A lot of the plays that we run, there's six or seven blocks that have to take place. We can never forget about the fullback and forget about the tight ends when we're talking about that; that those guys have done a tremendous job all year long.
So I think it is a little bit they're on a little higher stage on having to get their blocks because the number of blocks that have to take place every snap for our scheme to be able to work. Even the simple power play, it's a down scheme and a kickout scheme, but it's not that easy. It's not just saying we're down and we'll kick out and we'll get six yards a carry. There's a lot that goes into that.
So I would agree it is highlighted even more so in an offense like ours.
QUESTION: Gary, it's possible Wisconsin could win out and still not wind up in a BCS game. I know those rankings are out of your control. I was just wondering how significant do you think the difference is between Wisconsin playing in a BCS and not? Whether it's for recruiting or player morale or judging success of the season, anything like that?
ANDERSEN: What's important for these kids and it has been from the very beginning is to play well week in and week out. The Big Ten games are very important to these kids. I'm not offsetting the nonconference games or acting like they're not important. But it was very important for these kids to have a quality Big Ten this year from the Big Ten record this year, from the get go. Everybody wants to play in as big a bowl and as big a stage as you can at the end of the year. No one's ever going to say we don't want that in any way, shape, or form.
But it's not going to like I said, as this team continues, they've labeled themselves as a good team, and they deserve it. Right now, if it was over, they'd be known as a good team regardless of what happened. They want to be a great team. If they're a great team, then they're going to play in a very, very prestigious bowl game at the end of the year wherever it may be. And we'll have a great time. We'll be excited to go to that bowl game and compete and hopefully win.
QUESTION: Gary, what in your opinion has been the reason or reasons behind Pedersen's catching more passes of late? I know he missed some time with the injury. Is it looking for him more, him making more plays?
ANDERSEN: I think we're looking for him more. I really do. I think after he came back off the injury and got himself healthy. He's such a mismatch problem, and you see him continually catch contested balls. He runs great routes. He causes some real issues. I think we definitely made an effort to get the ball to him more. It's making him more productive, and it's making our offense better too.
QUESTION: Melvin hasn't had the jaw dropping numbers that he did at the beginning of the season the last two weeks. Is he dealing with something that's slowing him down, or is it just a matter of teams really keying on him?
ANDERSEN: No, nothing's slowing him down. He's practicing great. I think Melvin's playing good. First of all, to me, the creases may not be there. He doesn't have the numbers. But Melvin is progressively getting better every single week at the other things that is important in football, other than running the ball. And blocking is getting better. He's catching the ball consistently in practice. Doesn't show up a lot on game day right now.
I'm proud of the strides that he's making. And I'm also proud that, when it doesn't go his way for those 50 , 60 , 70 yard runs or the big plays, that he keeps on grinding and keeps on going. We were not going to get the fly sweep on the way against BYU. That just was not going to happen. They were running three guys at it, and they brought the guy off the edge. There are two guys you'd have to beat at the spot. Now, Melvin, maybe he might beat those two guys. But just looking at the odds, we were better off running the plays that came off it, which were very valuable to us.
He'll be fine. I expect a couple big games out of him this week, these last three.
QUESTION: You mentioned after the game all the things Caputo has done for you this year. Is it hard to find guys that can fill all those roles? And how important has he been overall to the defense?
ANDERSEN: He's a very unique kid. His ability to be able to prepare and understand in the film room and take the coaching and then get out onto the practice field but then be able to see it at game speed, got a lot on his plate.
And different positions that he's played and he's in so many different positions, different spots, his pre-snap awareness is very impressive. His ability to prepare is very impressive. And then he gets out there on game day and plays at a high level.
The other thing I'll say about Michael is Michael is as fast, or faster, with pads on than he is without pads on because he loves to play the game so much. He's very physical.
I had the opportunity to talk to a couple of BYU kids after the game, and one of the first things that one of their safeties said to me was, you know, ‘What year is Caputo?’ I said, ‘Well, he's a sophomore.’ He's like, ‘Man, Coach, that guy's a really good player.’ That's the ultimate compliment as a player. When you walk off the field and within two hours a kid is passing on that kind of information to a player, that's pretty special.
I'm proud of him. He's done a great job, especially with we all know what he went through, to get back this last off season and to not have spring ball and be where he is, the future is very bright for him.
QUESTION: Did Jack Russell break down any barriers of doubt with the coaches on Saturday?
ANDERSEN: Well, he made them. So it was good to see him make them. I felt good about Jack walking out there and putting the ball up in the air and taking a swing at it. It's good for him to see. It's good for all those specialists to see. It really is, because there's not an agenda with those kids. They want to have some success, and they want to help this team, and they want to be known as a group of specialists that help the team.
I hope I'm sure Jack grew confidence with that. Did I? Sure, absolutely. How can you not? But all those kids, I mean, Frenchy (Kyle French) goes out there, and Frenchy's more excited for Jack than probably Jack when he made that kick. So another example of those kids just kind of grinding it out together and not really having an agenda.
But he did a good job. He made them.
QUESTION: Gary, I'll follow up on Dan Voltz. You said he'd probably start this week. Is that then (Dallas) Lewallen is still iffy with the injury?
ANDERSEN: Yeah, he is. It's early, obviously, but the progress that we made through the weekend is good, but not to the point where we're going to say, hey, he's going to out there and be ready for a Tuesday practice.