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September 15, 2012

Bret Bielema


THE MODERATOR:  Opening statement.
COACH BIELEMA:  Absolutely.  Obviously to get a win feels really, really good.  Didn't do very well in certain phases of the game.  I was excited to see some guys make some plays.  Kenzel Doe, one of them, we felt he's been on the verge of doing some nice things. 
I remember last year, when we gave him first kickoff return, he was so excited he stumbled over his feet.  But that probably would have been a big hit.  He's really come a long way in the last year.  I think our defense should be patted on the back.  Obviously didn't give up anything after that‑‑ the wheel route that hit on the boundary over there, gave them their first score.  I asked Chris and the coaches, just keep the ball in front of us, don't give them anything.
When we turned the ball over right before the half, obviously they converted the touchdown there.  We had to keep this guy inside and in front.  He continued to make plays once he got out of the pocket. 
So some guys did nice things there.  I thought our offense, number one reason‑‑ just to stay ahead of the question.  Number one reason I made transition at the quarterback was just to protect the ball. 
For us to win at Wisconsin, we can't turn the ball over.  And obviously the interception got nullified because of the late hit on Danny.  So that was one that we kind of got back as a bonus.
Then that last, right before the half, the ball just‑‑ keep your hands‑‑ a lot of traffic in there.  He's holding on with one hand and the ball went on the ground.  That's when I talked it over with Coach Canada and the offensive coaches, we all felt good about making the transition. 
Obviously went through some growing pains.  But made transition in the offensive line.  We already went over that.  But I knew it wasn't going to be changed overnight.  I was excited about the progress we made during the week.  Hopefully with another week to work it we'll be positive. 
The false starts in the first half, only ourselves to blame.  They were shifting from a certain shade alignment to a head‑up nose and getting the guys covered on the guards.  When they were doing that they were making sudden movements and made some barks and got a couple of our guys early, got us with two guards as well as a tight end that jumped on that. 
I don't think they had a second one.  I don't think they had one in the second half.  So we were able to get that corrected.  But obviously the two holding penalties were critical, especially when we could just take the field that last couple of times and get a first down and hopefully win the game. 
Injury‑wise, Abby was right on the verge of playing.  He isn't cleared medically to get out there yet.  But feel he'll probably be able to go by next Tuesday, get in a full week of practice and get ready to play a UTEP team.  Other than, we had some guys leave the game but they all came back in.  And we should have everybody back that played in the game today. 
With that, open it up for questions.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  I was trying to play the play ahead.  So I don't know what happened.  Again, he broke contain.  And Brendan and the D ends were all over them.  They were in a controlled rush.  But that guy, if he breaks the pocket, he'll have a chance.  It was kind of a broken play and they streaked down the sideline and obviously they did a great job executing.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Well, you know, it really wasn't his kind of‑‑ it wasn't a quarterback game.  I mean, he didn't get as many reps.  Danny was our starter throughout the week so he got the majority of the reps.  So the two quarterback just doesn't get the same type of experience that the other quarterbacks do during, the starting quarterback does.  I thought he handled it well.
Didn't have any issues with a bobbled snap.  I know he threw‑‑ his first couple of passes looked clean.  I know third down, we wish we could have picked up a couple of those.  There were drops that obviously he can't control. 

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  It's been a difficult week.  You try to make it as positive as we can.  I just told the group, I knew it wasn't going to be changed overnight.  And it's some things that we've got to get straight and get correct. 
Again, we can't beat ourselves with presnap penalties or holding calls.  Those really made us play behind the chains.  But there were some series where we got the things rolling a little bit.  Montee on his touchdown obviously looked more of the same that we've been accustomed to seeing.  So we've got to get some of those things back on track.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  We'll address it tomorrow.  I just felt it was something that we needed to do at halftime to bring our guys around.  Obviously we got a W.  And we're beginning to move.

Q.  (Question off microphone) ?
COACH BIELEMA:  He was sitting in the back.  I think I kind of caught him off guard.  I talked with the coaches when I went in‑‑ like I usually do at halftime, I talk to the defense first, encourage them understand we don't want to give up that play, but if we can hold them out in the second half I felt good about where we were going. 
And then I went over and told the offense, hey, we can't have the presnap penalties.  We've got to be great in ball security.  We thought we could wear them down over time.  I pointed out there were several times where our guys were in the huddle.  The defensive line was behind them on their knees and trying to grasp for air.  I thought if we kept grinding, I said in front of the whole group I'm going to make a switch.  I'm going to pop Joel in to start the second half.  Just gotta be better with ball security.  I talked about that directly with Joel.  And move forward.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Yeah, it was a low kick.  No question about it.  I thought at first he might have hit the laces, but at least the guys upstairs said the laces were to the side, so it was just a low hit.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  I heard it at halftime when I took the headset off.  They love to win games, too.  I heard them cheering at the end, which is all good.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Very excited to get a win.  I knew that they maybe didn't play as well as they could in certain phases.  But I also know it's very hard to get a win.  A lot of credit goes to Utah State.  I think that's a very good football team that obviously beat and has hung tight with all these other people, all the things we kept hearing about.  So we were able to get a win.  I think it should feel good.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Talked about it at halftime.  That's when I went over and said we're going to start off on defense.  We need to start with something positive.  I believe they did get a first down, did they not?  They were on the field.  It was punt safe for the kickoff, couple critical blocks on the sideline there with the wall return near our bench. 
And as the play went on, we just couldn't sustain a drive to run up that clock two or three different times.  They just kept going out there. 
And when we shanked the punt, I thought they rose to the occasion there, made a couple of critical plays and did a great job.  Army actually got x‑rayed at halftime.  I think he thought he broke his hand.  A warrior.  I believe he's had two hips and one shoulder surgery, just really competitive, really good football player who is holding it together well.  I can't say enough positive things about him.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  No, I think it's easy to say.  I think the crowd became alive.  Our bench went nuts.  I think the one thing that this team‑‑ I have nine seniors.  And the seniors are the ones that kind of move into those leadership roles. 
And we just don't have huge numbers.  I believe on my travel roster, I think I've got 28 juniors.  But those guys were sophomores last year and freshmen the year before that.  So to get them to play in big environments and understand what it takes to win a four‑quarter game, this was worth a lot today.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Well, we're a 2‑1 football team that's got UTEP coming in here.  We have an opportunity to go on the road, play Nebraska after that.  We'll take it one day at a time.  I mean, I love winning.  But I was also kind of blown away by the reaction from just people last week. 
I mean, our guys in‑house, we just kind of take care of everything and move ourselves forward.  But we bounce back.  We played a good football team and won.  And we'll take it day‑by‑day to get ready for Utah.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Yeah.  Yeah, I think, again, a lot of the really good things, the first one was all on the linebacker.  I think it was a wheel route with Mike again, and obviously something that we actually went through this morning in coverage. 
So it's something we have to protect him on.  We've obviously exposed ourselves enough there.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. 
And what was the other one?  Yeah, I thought it was actually offensive pass interference.  I asked the ref:  How do you want them to play better?  He said that both guys were pushing.  He wasn't going to call either one but he thought Marcus grabbed the arm at the last minute.  I said why don't you call it defensive holding.  But that's semantics.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  I thought he was very active.  He was very active.  You know what, he can't cover that.  I don't have to stress that enough.  If we put him in that position again, we have problems. 
So we've got to protect him in that scenario and make sure that we don't put him in that‑‑ because he's a really good football player. 
But we're asking him to do too much in that situation and take care of the problem.  He did cover it later in the game.  They tried to come back to it.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Yeah.  No, I think because we got really good kids that stay positive and play themselves through difficult situations.  What we went through at a lot of places might have really been utter chaos or panic, as some of you want to say.  Our kids just kind of handled the day as it came.  14‑3 at the half.  We weren't happy about it but go out and play a four‑quarter game and that's what happens.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Yeah.  Second one wasn't easy either.  I can go along with you, man.  First and 10 was real good.  The second and ones, third and ones, just mindboggling.  I think the line of scrimmage was on our side at times a little bit. 
The power, the plays that have been a little bit of our bread and butter in the past were‑‑ Montee was really hitting on some of the inside zones.  But there were some of those that would hit‑‑ one play‑‑ I know we hit one for eight and we came back and ran it, played two plays later and got knocked in the head for a two‑yard loss. 
We have to start playing on our tempo, stay ahead of the game, and obviously the penalties were really, really critical making us play behind the chains.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  Yeah.  I think we just gotta stay true to what we are.  We have to finish blocks a lot better.  Seemed to be a lot of guys falling off and some of the plays we feel could be maybe major gains, guys are falling off and guys tackling him in the back.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  No doubt.  I mean, I've been in this thing a long time.  I know to win a game like that, to grind it out at the end, it tests a lot of your character. 
Obviously coaches and players have to get‑‑ I gotta get everybody squared in tomorrow about what we need to do.  We'll take it out on the field tomorrow afternoon and really try to clean up any issues we have and move into the UTEP prep.

Q.  (Question off microphone)?
COACH BIELEMA:  I was actually on the other line getting ready for desperation kickoff return, something we rep in case they hit the field goal. 
As a head coach, you kind a gotta be ahead.  It's like I called the timeout on the second down because we wanted‑‑ we wanted to run a field goal block which is desperation, which means you're sending everybody, because you know they have to kick the field goal to win. 
But I wanted to have them go over that, which they did.  I thought the coaches were ahead of the game.  We went over it during the second down.  We knew they were going to run the football and get a stop, and thankfully it worked out.  And obviously the kicker missed it.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you, Coach. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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