Oct. 26, 2009
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin men's soccer head coach Todd Yeagley offered a preview of the Badgers' upcoming games with Northern Illinois and Penn State as part of Monday's weekly Wisconsin Athletics press conference.
Archived video of the complete press conference is available here, and a complete transcript of Yeagley's remarks can be found below.
Yeagley's squad faces Northern Illinois in its home finale at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the McClimon Complex before hitting the road to face Penn State in a crucial Big Ten Conference game at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Todd Yeagley: Thank you. First off, just want to say that we're very proud of the group right now and how we've bounced back from some adversity the early part of the season with some tough losses against some quality opposition. But we really challenged this group these last eight games to raise every standard that we asked of them, and they have really responded, and it's shown obviously in the results and the performance.
We have to evaluate the performance, and certainly we need results this time of year. And when you're getting good performances and results with it, it makes for a very good and happy group. That said, we have three very difficult matches left. We're at the top of the Big Ten, which again we're very proud of, and we need to continue to push forward. But again, I'm just very pleased with the growth and the leadership that this group with quite a few seniors has provided our team. And some players are stepping up each week to make big plays, and we're putting ourselves in a good position here down the stretch.
QUESTION #1: Are you surprised the Big Ten is as tight as it is from top to bottom?
YEAGLEY: I am a little bit. I think, amongst the coaching peers, I think we all felt it was going to be a tight year. Indiana, player for player, has the most talent in the league. However, they've stumbled as of late. And the other results week to week, it's really up for grabs. I think because there was some key players that graduated from some programs last year, being some goal scorers, some key defenders on some squads, is making this what it is.
And you know, from the beginning, some of the folks that follow our sport well, and on the Big Ten Network, said that the winner of the conference very well could be 4-2. And we're sitting in a situation where we're one result away from a 4-2 record. And whatever that gives us in the Big Ten we'll certainly be proud of. But with some help, we never know what, where things can end up here a week from now. But we obviously have a game at hand right now, and the other Big Ten teams play the week after, which is our bye week.
QUESTION #2: Was there a point in time where the players realized, hey, you know what, we're pretty good, we're Big Ten championship caliber good?
YEAGLEY: I think they're just, there are turning points and moments in any season. And this group, we had some great meetings, and this group always believed. However, I think they just needed to be some moments of inspiration, of a play, of a result, to use that to reflect upon. And that's what we had against Michigan State in overtime to kind of start this run. And the trainings, the attitude has been great all along, but this group has just taken the field with a confidence that, as a coaching staff, you can just kind of feel. And with some results, that confidence grows.
I’ve seen this quite a bit with different teams. And this group is fighting and clawing, and they know what we have to do well. And when you know what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are, and they know that we have to do it as a unit. We’ve found depth that we hoped to find, where our versatility in our systems is there, which allows us to place several different looks against different teams. We're in a good place. But the credit goes to these players who really are taking the field believing, and that's who we're proud of.