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September 20, 2014

Gary Andersen


COACH ANDERSEN:  Obviously it's great to win.  It's always great to win.  And proud of this team.  It was some good team effort.  We still have a lot we can work on.
But we'll work on those starting tomorrow.  We're going to enjoy this victory right now.  And there were some great individual efforts.  Those are great to see, the unselfishness of Melvin Gordon for the last couple three weeks as we've gone through the first part of the season has been incredible.  I'm so proud of the way that he's handled it.  Today was his day.  Great to see him have the success.
Derek Landisch on defense had a fantastic day.  And overall we started to do some things that are really good signs of a good football program.  We face adversity.  Get a turnover.  Defense holds three and out, we turn around go down and score and special teams gets the big return to help that score.
That's team football.  That's what you need to do to have a chance to do special things.  So it was great to see that.  I'm excited to break down the plan to win to see exactly how we did.  And I think we did pretty well overall.
It was a great victory.  A lot of numbers out there in this football game.  And all the credit goes to those kids.  Proud of the way they handled it, the defense handled the pace very well.
We had to disrupt the quarterback's timing and receiver's time.  Did that for the most part.  It's a team victory.  And it's great to see Kenzel Doe is another, another kid unselfish.  He got a chance today to do special things and he truly did.  I don't know how many games since he's been with us, it's the best game he's had.  So proud of him.
So he always reminds me of the one against Utah State every time he gets a good return.  Quick to point that out.

Q.  We've seen in the past running backs when they put the ball on the ground they get benched.  Was there ever a thought of making Melvin sit at all, or is he too good at this point?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Absolutely not.  Zero thoughts into that.  I echoed it very quickly through the headsets.  It came right back into my ear that there was absolutely zero plan to do anything like that.  It was a normal rotation.
The kid did a nice job of stripping the ball.  I thought the offensive coaches handled it very well.  Melvin handled it very well.  And he was right back up when his time came.
Melvin deserves that.  Nobody's perfect.  It's going to happen at certain times.  And we reacted and overcame it very quickly.  And he did what he did.

Q.  You guys ended up running them into the ground basically.  But do you think Andy's play calling early in the game, the diversity he showed, kind of opened some things up that way?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Absolutely.  You get the ability to hit the read zone early on some big plays.  Our zone blocking was very good today with the offensive line.  Those kids had an attitude.
And sometimes they don't get talked about.  But I was really proud of the offensive line, their physicalness, the way they finished.  Tight ends got better.
I thought the play calling was diverse.  It was broken up very, very well.  The run pass, the play action, there was a lot of offense to defend out there.  It was great to see.  I thought Andy and his staff did a tremendous job.

Q.  After three games, Tanner appears to have a slow start element to his game.  Is it something you just accept, or at what point, is there something to correct there?  Is there an issue that you see?
COACH ANDERSEN:  I would say more than anything, I don't really have that feel.  So I don't quite know how to answer that.  I would say he's not perfect on some of the throws where he's at.
He's done some things with his legs early.  So I think overall as an offense we'll look at that.  We're not going to point the fingers at any individual.  If we're starting slow in one section of the game, then we all need to look at each other and say we need to get better as a unit in that area.

Q.  You mentioned Landisch.  What specifically jumped out that you saw him today, whether it was blitzing, tackling?  Also it looked like he got his hands on the pick that Figaro had which kind of turned things.
COACH ANDERSEN:  He was pass rushing.  One thing that jumps up at me, his ability to get inside on those guards in the center a lot of times on the turn protection and get past across and have a lot of pressure.  I know he had one sack but I know he had numerous pressures.
He was highly involved, very complicated game plan for those inside linebackers.  A lot of misdirections, a lot of blitzes coming from different sides and a lot of calls that came with those.  And then he took to command the defense and we all look over and try to get the call, but you got those freshmen defensive linemen sitting out there.  They know the calls when they're sitting in the meeting this morning.  But when it gets hot out there and we're rolling Derek does a nice job commanding the defense and making sure we're moving ourselves in the right direction.  And that was very obvious today.

Q.  Gary, you talked about the O‑line being determined.  Think Melvin was determined today?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Yeah, Melvin‑‑ and I truly believe this, Melvin's been determined every game.  I've never seen him practice different.  You throw in a practice tape, watch the guy finish, the way he works through pass protection drills to stretch, whatever he does, he's done that.  I've not seen anything different from week‑to‑week with him.
But absolutely, was Melvin determined to be a great back and do what he expects out of himself?  I thought he was a great back way before today.  I know we all believe that or we should believe that.  But this was his opportunity to break out and he made a lot of people miss today against a defense that I thought tackled very well throughout their first games.  And it was just, it was fun to watch for a lot of times.
Melvin is determined for his football team.  I promise you that's the driving force between Melvin wanting to have the success.  He didn't ask how many yards he has rushing.
He found out that the rushing totals were a record in total offense's record.  Brought a great big smile to his face to know he was a part of it, not just what he did.

Q.  When this game was close early, you have the two turnovers and two big plays you gave up, but at that time what was more troubling to you, giving the ball away to them or letting a couple plays get behind you?
COACH ANDERSEN:  All of it was.  And that's something that we have got‑‑ we've got to grow and learn from that.  We discussed it at halftime.  And in pretty good detail.  And that is not‑‑ there's fumbles.  There's balls over our heads.
It just wasn't clean.  Regardless of the score, that was not a clean first half and it's not the expectations that we should have.
So if we jog out and start the third quarter and we're feeling real good about ourselves in that scenario, then I'm completely wrong as a head football coach to let those kids feel that way.
And I don't think they did.  But I wanted to reassure them make sure they better not, because that is not at the end of the day acceptable if they want to reach the goals that they've told me that they want to reach and they all know what those are.

Q.  See any confusion on defense too at times, first half especially, just knowing where guys needed to be lined up?
COACH ANDERSEN:  No, I thought it was really pretty clean for a pace team, I thought it was good.  I believe we took one timeout when we needed it to try to settle them down.  But overall there was, I thought the officials handled it pretty well.
It's never going to be perfect with the team that plays that fast.  It's very difficult.  Especially when you're playing man and to zone.
And not to get too technical with you again, but this is a good football team.  They're well coached.  You saw the transition go to all of a sudden the stack routes and different combinations to beat man coverage.  We were trying to get matched up.  Got Michael Trotter, they bring in No. 3 receiver on the inside where they don't put him a lot of times, and all of a sudden Michael's covered him man to man.  Caused some issues very quickly, because they're good coaches.
If that looked confusing at times, I'm sure‑‑ we're not sitting here saying we're perfect by any stretch of the imagination‑‑ but I thought they handled the adjustments when the game shifted to man beater routes pretty well as a defense.  That was positive.  May not seem like a big thing to a lot of people that don't get technical about football, but that's a sign of maturity.

Q.  You mentioned the single game record, 644 yards rushing.  Is that perhaps the most impressive rushing performance you've ever been a part of?  And also what about Dare's performance, including he was a D‑back a couple of weeks ago?
COACH ANDERSEN:  It was an awesome performance.  I've never been around a rushing total like that, that's for sure.  There's been some great teams that are part of the tradition here at Wisconsin to be part of something in the record books for those kids, and for every offensive linemen, everybody that played on offense, it's something they should remember for the rest of their life.
As far as Dare, again, an unselfish young man that's playing safety, playing on special teams, involved in some of the nickel packages, playing some corner, some safety.  And all of a sudden we ask him to move to a running back spot, which is really a place that he's never played much.  He looked at me like I had 12 heads when I mentioned it to him.
But he didn't bat an eye.  And it's a great thing, too.  Without rambling to you for too long.  We take those times during camp to evaluate each and every kid in certain positions.
And Dare was‑‑ basically, the offensive coaches saw him in a drill during camp that we call speed in space.  Where it's used for special teams drill.  It's used to evaluate our talent.  And Dare was very hard to tackle in those situations.  And the offensive coaches came to me and said:  What do you think?  I was all for it.  And the young man was all for it.  And it's fun to see him.  How many yards, 90 something?  That's amazing.  That's so cool for that kid.  Really is.

Q.  Can you take us through as much as you can how you started the game and certain series where you'd have basically a unit and a half defensively on the sidelines, what you're looking for and how you determine who goes on, who comes off and how you get lined up?
COACH ANDERSEN:  That's how we need to operate when we have those heavy packages against a pace.  You want to get as many kids involved close to the numbers as you possibly can.  It just takes off another 15 yards that they have to run on and off the field.  So much like a huddle of offense, where they huddle everybody on the sides when they can, we can't see them when they come on the field.
They have 50 kids in the huddle and 11 of them come out of there and we've got to identify it up top very quickly with numbers.  We've got to be able to understand what personnel it is.  There's a quick number thrown out at us whether it's 10, 12, 22, and not us at the defensive staff, and they have to quickly get a group of kids out there on the field.
And that was good to see.  Again, that's maturity in understanding the packages and being in the game for a defensive crew.

Q.  Where did Tanner, where has he made his greatest strides from the opener from last week to this one, and how would you assess his play?
COACH ANDERSEN:  I thought Tanner was effective.  He'll have a couple of throws he'd love to be able to get back.  Command of the offense.  A lot of checks throughout there in the run game, his ability to be able to check the run and be consistent with the run, be patient.  There's a couple of those runs.  A couple of those times when he's rolling out of there, you want to tell him to run.
And I think his clock is, three weeks ago would have told him to run.  And he's trying to make some passes in those situations.  He made a few of them.  Had a drop on one of them.  Had a couple he'd love to be able to get back.
His whole game is continually growing.  And I like the way he carries himself and prepares for the week.  I like the way he carries himself when things don't go so well, and when things go very well he seems to be maturing in that area and handling things well to this point.  But like everybody, we all got a long ways to go.

Q.  You had Rafael kick a couple of field goals late, was that to give him some work for the extra missed point?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Like many freshmen, there's nothing like those game reps.  And I don't think we've kicked the ball real cleanly.  And we missed an extra point.  And we need to get him in the moment and make sure we're putting him in the right spots in practice.
That's something that I need to sit back and think about and I'm doing everything I can for Rafael to put him in the right spots, right situations, and Coach Genyk and I will continually work on that.
But it wasn't as clean as we would like to have it be.  And the field goals were good.  Missed extra point, when it appeared it was a good snap, good hold, is not what we want to have happen.  So we're going to continue to aggressively help him get better.

Q.  Could you see Dare getting more meaningful carries in the games as he progresses as a running back?
COACH ANDERSEN:  We'll see.  He's not going to take out Melvin or Corey at this point for sure, but the ability for him to get into a game, have ball security, handle the offense with a very, very young offensive line in there and have the production that he had, it cannot go unnoticed.
So I think after one game in this situation you would think he's found a little bit of a home.  He's a sophomore by age.  And so we'll see how he continues to grow.  We all know we're down to numbers there.  So being creative with kids is important.

Q.  Your defense the last couple of years making a transition installing quicker guys that can play and move across the field, was today kind of a perfect example of where having quick guys against a fast offense can pay dividends?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Yeah, there was a lot of times when we had four corners on the field and then we got to a lot of time Michael Caputo played a lot of man coverage today.  And Michael can really run.
The ability for us to get into those sub packages with the pass rushers, with the faster linebackers‑‑ Michael played some linebacker today.  You saw Moose and you saw those kids coming off the edge.  P.J. played a lot today.
And so we really wanted to get our speed out there and handle it.  But it's going to‑‑ the transition is continuing to grow.  I was really happy with the way Dave mixed the calls and we were able to handle it.
And again, when you look at us in our development with our kids being able to handle large call sheet, which was a fairly large call sheet today and their ability to be able to communicate is one thing.  But the comfort zone for a coordinator, trust me I've been there, when you have a call sheet, that call sheet doesn't look so good because you get confused, you can't get lined up.
I think Dave felt comfortable today.  And the belief was there that he could make a call to those kids and they were going to be able to execute it like they did in practice.  That was good to see.

Q.  Not too get too far ahead on Dare.  If he does build off this and you're comfortable with him as a No. 3, does that make your decision easier on to Taiwan to redshirt him because of the injury?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Absolutely.  No question.  Dare has so much game experience whether on special teams or playing in games that you just cannot put a level of importance on the ability to be in the moment and be in the Big Ten.
You look at Andrew today, the way he kicked the ball off.  He kicked the ball off a lot.  He had one he'd like to get back.  But boy he was very good and very comfortable.  And there's a mature that takes place when you've been in those moments.

Q.  In the first half you had some sets where you had Clement and Gordon in at the same time, is that something you want to utilize more going forward, and then how do you make sure that that doesn't give too much weight to the defense that hey we're going to run the ball here?
COACH ANDERSEN:  I don't think it will give anything away as far as running the ball.  I think it will be put an offense on quite a bit of high alert, as they've got double issues staring them right in the face now.  But what we're in a position to be able to throw the ball out of there as we need to, that will always be part of our package.  We will not major in that package, but it will always be carried.

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