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October 11, 2014

Gary Andersen


COACH ANDERSEN:  It's great to win, bottom line, excited about it.  Great victory in front of a tremendous crowd, as always.  Unbelievable environment for our kids.  It was good two get to 4‑2 at this point moving into the bye week, and excited about continuing working with these kids and getting better and better.  I could go on and on about the game.  I'll let you ask your questions and we can go from there.
But I am proud of this group of kids.  There's a lot of fight in them but I would also say, I think it's important, there's a lot of young men today that stepped on the field for the first time, even the first time some seniors, T.J. his first start, Ben Ruechel, never played a snap of defense, kids that have been here for a long time.  And to get that opportunity, Leon Jacobs comes in in his first start, 12 tackles, did a nice job for us.
So the youth continues to grow, whether they have been here for a long time or whether they have been here for three or four months.  It's great to see and it's great to see the mixing of this senior leadership and really not just the seniors but the older players on this team continually motivate and wrap their arms around this young football team and have high expectations for themselves and everybody on this team.

Q.  The two turning points, the 72‑yard punt that pinned you guys and flipped the field, and then Illinois got the lead, and two, Biegel's play on the fourth down play which then you guys went down and scored.
COACH ANDERSEN:  Yeah, there was‑‑ and I would add on the punting situation, on the 72‑‑yard punt by them and our bin atilt to be able to effectively flip the field and it showed its head again today.  That was a big play.  The ball landed, I don't know, a half a yard inside and took a bounce down to wherever it ended up, the one‑yard line and it's a crazy shape ball that bounces funny ways sometimes.
Very proud of the fourth down stop that shifted the momentum back into our favor.  Vince Biegel, I would guess, before watching the tape, that that is his best game as a Badger.  He has high expectations to play at a high level and he did and he made that play at fourth down and we were able to get ten points quickly.
But their scores came in droves.  They came 14 points early and 14 points late and that can't happen.  But there was some definite momentum changes in this game.  We hung in there, and did some positive things, but you know, somebody's got to ask the question, so I'll say it right now, our special teams's got to get better.

Q.  Is the plan going in to use Tanner on that particular drive, and did you plan to use him more than that?
COACH ANDERSEN:  You know, going into it, I just left it into Andy's hands and I think he was‑‑ I don't think.  I know, he was very comfortable with the scenario and with the situation.  Just as the game went, he believed it was best to continue with Joel and move ourselves downfield.
When Tanner came in, he made some nice plays, got out of the pocket a couple times.  I believe that was the drive, if I remember right, with the missed field goal.  That was the missed field goal.  But Tanner got us moving down the field which was good to see.
So as we move forward, you know, all I can really say about the quarterback scenario is it's important that our offense continues to grow and develop, and both quarterbacks have an opportunity, in my opinion and with the coaches and I believe with the quarterbacks opinion, that we are best served if they have an opportunity to be involved at this point.  And that's the direction we're headed.

Q.  You talked about the functionality, having a function; did you achieve that a little better today?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Yes, I would say yes.  There was a spark there where we started fast and had a very, very nice drive.  Functionally, it was cleaner.  There was more success, there's a lot of room for improvement, third down, yeah, needs to improve.
Our ability to continually throw the ball and we've talked so much about opportunities for lay‑ups, we left some lay‑ups out there today on the field but we also made some plays when we had to with some contested balls which was great to see with our ability to be able to protect much better and make it cleaner.
So improving and moving towards‑‑ the words I used a week or so ago, a function loss, that's without question today, and it's a good thing that they were there.

Q.  Six or seven sacks today, were you confident you could apply that much pressure and did having Jacobs in the game give you more of an ability to do that?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Leon is a tremendous athlete.  It was great to see the sacks.  It was great to see the defense put themselves in position that way and rush the passers physically.  It was good.  I guess, what was it, six, six sacks, that's the most we've gotten yet this year and we left two or three of them out there on the field.
Their object or their mind‑set coming in was to throw the ball as quickly as they could and get out and move the pocket, and they were able to do that successfully, especially on the one touchdown throw down there on third down.  But we did apply good pressure.  Leon helps us with our athleticism on the defensive side of the ball.  It's good to see him make some plays.

Q.  Can you tell us what happened to Derrick and when will you get him back?  And if you get Derrick and Marcus Trotter back, do you still have to find a way to get Leon on the field somehow based on what you saw today?
COACH ANDERSEN:  I've got to go back and sit down and really watch the tape.  It's just great to see.  I expect to have Derrick back and be full speed.  It was, I don't know, a couple series I suppose and then we found out that he was going to be able to come back, which was fantastic news.
Getting Marcus back will help us which we fully expect after the bye week, to get him back into the mix.  Leon proved today that he's ready to get in the moment in a Big Ten game and make some plays, which was great to see.
That's why he came here and he showed to me today that he has the tough tons play in a Big Ten game and play throughout the whole game.  Those are those questions that are never answered until you get yourself into the moment because it's not spring ball and it's not fall camp.  This is big‑time ball and your toughness is going to be challenged, every snap in this conference and he answered that today.

Q.  Melvin obviously had another great game today.  Where do you think this team would be without him given all that he's accomplished in six games?
COACH ANDERSEN:  We need a tremendous player to do special things for us.  I don't think that's any different than any successful team or any team that has an opportunity to be a good team.  There has to be a couple special players.  He is the best player I've ever been around and his ability to change the game at any moment is, you know, it's amazing.
His supporting cast has great pride in him, helping Melvin get there and I'm proud of those offensive linemen.  Tight end blocking was better today than it's been, and not that it's been bad.  But you watch some of those outside runs and the big guys are taking care of that box and those six guys are out of it.
But now we get out to the edge and there's a couple times with Sam and Austin and Fumagalli are locking up with those guys and really getting better at blocking at the tight end spot.  We are going to need that.
But Melvin is a special young man, and I'm just glad he has on that motion W, I promise you that much.

Q.  Corey has made it no secret that's been frustrated with the inability to contribute as much as he wanted and at the level he wants.  Do you hope today he can build on this?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Absolutely I do.  You know, Corey is in a difficult position because he is such a competitor.  He wants to be a great, great running back, and I believe he is very special and he's going to be a great back.
He showed today the special things that Corey can do, and I wouldn't expect him as a young man to be anything more than a little bit frustrated.  If you're a competitor, you want the ball.
If you're a defensive end and you're not getting to the quarterback, you want to get sacks and that comes with being a competitive person.  And Corey will be excited about his contributions today and he very well should be.

Q.  The way that game ended, letting them back in the game, did that change the mood in the locker room at all?
COACH ANDERSEN:  I told them that I sure don't want it to.  But the way it took place at the end, is unacceptable, and we can't sit back and hide from it.
But we will enjoy the win.  I don't want that to hold them back from enjoying this win today.  We did discuss it and we all need to be held accountable at a high level and from the players to the coaches and you know, you get into that spot, it's not the way that it should go.
And I will put it on special teams just as much as I will put it on the defense there.  There's a lot more plays that the defense played but we had an opportunity to make a critical play on special teams and we did not and they did.
So it will not take way from a victory, though, in the Big Ten.  I've been here a short time but I understand what it takes, and every win in the Big Ten is very special.

Q.  Do you think it was a matter of just the team relaxing with a big lead?
COACH ANDERSEN:  No, I do not.  They came in and changed up scheme.  They did a nice job and went to triple‑option football.  The play we put in, call it the one play, whatever, it doesn't mean anything to you guys, but it's a play that does take repetition and it turned into a triple‑option game.
We had felt that that was a possibility with the other quarterback.  We had prepared in practice for that, but obviously we did not prepare well enough for that and they executed and we did not.

Q.  Given what you and the team have been through in the past week and the way it all played out today‑‑
COACH ANDERSEN:  No, I feel a lot better about this team and I continually feel better about them.  It's just I've never been around a team that continually wants to grow and learn as much as this team does.
And it's every practice, it's every meeting, their attention to detail, a lot of times you can tell just by walking into a special teams meeting, and I said today, I've already spoke, we did not play well enough on special teams obviously.
But when you walk into those meetings at 2:25 every single day, 2:30 whenever it starts, their eyes are right, their minds are right.  Coach Busch, Coach Genyk stands up and gets ready to start the meeting, and they are locked and loaded and they are excited about the opportunity to be able to learn and prepare, and I feel the same way about the offense and the defense.
The weight room was good.  It's just a fun team to coach.  And we have had our frustrations, we have had our ups and downs.  But you know, I'm damn glad to be their coach and there's nowhere else I'd rather be.

Q.  Is Vince Biegel on the verge of being an impact player for you?
COACH ANDERSEN:  That is his goal and that is our goal for Vinny as a coaching staff.  He's moving definitely in that direction.  He is just‑‑ we talk about the competitiveness of Corey.  That's Vince Biegel, the competitiveness in that kid to be a great player; he is unbelievably driven, and we need him to be.  He needs to be a special player in the Big Ten.  That's why he came to Wisconsin.  That's why stayed at home to play, to be a special player at the University of Wisconsin, and he's making those steps.

Q.  When I asked youthe punt ‑‑ you said we didn't flip the field.  Are you talking about your punter being able to do it or your offense?
COACH ANDERSEN:  I would say the punter.  It becomes a bit of a blur, I apologize but there was a time we got backed up and punted it to, I don't know, the 38‑yard line or something and turned around and they had the ball on the 30.  We were backed up and we didn't flip the field.
When you have the ability to flip the field a couple times a game, it makes a big time difference.  And that is an area of concern and there's a lot of them, and Drew will continue to work on it and we'll continue to try to help him.

Q.  How did Joel kind of change the offensive equation?  What did he give you that maybe you hadn't had?
COACH ANDERSEN:  I think Joel's ability to be in the moment in these Big Ten games is a feel right now that is a positive situation, and I think it's good to know that he's been in those moments.
I think the throws down the field, even though not connected, it's invaluable.  If you look back and watch the film of where those safeties are stacked and how they are playing and where they were in there, they were at six yards now in the second quarter and it became tough sledding running the football.
As soon as we were able to complete a couple of the underneath throws, get a couple third downs moving the right direction, take the top off it a couple of times, it definitely softened them up and gave the ability for the run game to get opened up.  And as we all know, if we have a crease and people aren't plus one or plus one and a half on us, we are pretty hard to stop in the run game.

Q.  The jet sweep has been a staple of the offense for a long time, was it successful today and getting Jamerson and Doe involved, did that open the middle?
COACH ANDERSEN:  That's a great point, much like we talk about the pass game has to open things up, the jet sweep, the fly sweep, definitely causes reactions in defenses that are hard to be able to deal with, however you're going to adjust and get a guy running to that guy that's coming across the formation.
There's some communication and they a lot of times force somebody to be in a down or uncomfortable position.  It was blocked well and I'm pretty sure it was Sam that was out there, Sam Arneson, blocking, tremendous, tremendous block and it took a look a long time.
I don't think we all know how hard it is to lock up on a Division I football player and block him for four or five seconds.  He got it done on that snap.  So the jet sweep is big for us.

Q.  It looked like Kyle came out on various plays, mostly on passing downs.  Can you talk about the decision behind that?  Was that part of the game plan coming in this week?
COACH ANDERSEN:  Trent is in a position to be able to play and Kyle is continually battling.  You can see he's a little bit locked up on his one side with his arm, and it's a preventive situation, but it doesn't allow him to be in the best position to be able to pass block just because of the nature of he's kind of locked up and it's not real easy.
It gives Trent an opportunity to be able to play in certain situations.  You won't see that week‑in and week‑out, I don't suppose, but today it was definitely the plan.  It gives a rest to a very, very talented player and it also gets Trent an opportunity to come in and play in these moments in the Big Ten games.

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