36 Hours Later: Andersen Reacts to ASU Finish

Following his team's controversial loss and statement from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott acknowledging officiating mistakes, Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen addresses the media Monday.

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Andersen's Opening Statement

As far as a couple of the situations that we can maybe put them to bed right out of the gate. The situation at the end of the game, I guess our situation in communicating with Coach Alvarez, communicating with the Big Ten and everything that's out there is the bottom line is all we're really looking for is to accountability in the situation and an opportunity to let the kids finish the game, which has been said many times, let them be the deciding factor. So that's the important part of that.

So we'll see. The Big Ten will handle it. Coach Alvarez, I'll work with him, and have all the other comments on that as we continue to move forward.

The other question that continually seems to be getting asked as we go through is as far as would you do it again in the exact same situation. My answer to that question is absolutely yes. It's thought out. It's a process. It's practiced many times. The process changed this year by three seconds when there was a three-second runoff to obviously get a spike off. So it used to be 15 seconds.

Coach Ludwig does a great job of executing it. I think we teach it exactly the right way. We have a tape of the exact same scenario last year, against San Diego State. San Diego State takes a knee, they get up and spike it. The defensive lineman jumps on the pile just like they did at Arizona State. So it's an exact replica. Obviously, the outcome was a little bit different.

I think we handled it well. There was 18 seconds left, and you all know the rest. That's kind of where it sits. But I'm proud of this football team. Excited about next week. Excited to get home. It's going to be great to get home. I think everybody's a little edgy. Everybody's a little excited.

Q. Gary, one thing Joel did say about that final play afterward was he thought the fact that he went down, the he got up too quickly, he probably would have done it a little bit differently. Then when he put the ball on the ground. Is he supposed to put it on the ground or give it to an official?

Andersen: That's how it's taught. The bottom line is this. Technically by rule, the way I understand the rule, first of all, let's make it real clear, he did take a knee. There's no question on if he did take a knee. Watch the film. It's there. It's very clear.

Secondly, by rule, he doesn't have to take a knee. You render yourself defenseless in those situations, that is the rule, you do not have to take a knee.

Thirdly, the idea of putting the ball on the ground is to give the officials the opportunity to get the ball spotted quicker and cleaner. The officials were wherever they were, but they weren't there to turn around and get the ball. That whole process of Joel looking around behind them, looking back there, where am I going to put the ball? How am I going to put the ball? That takes time. That takes valuable seconds and moments.

Was he instructed to do it the way he did it?

Andersen: Absolutely, yes. And the teaching tape I referred to earlier showed him to do the exact same process, which took place from the way we taught him all through camp and all through spring football.

Who has the tougher challenge, you say, this week in turning the page and putting that behind him and looking ahead? The coaches, yourself, staff, or the players?

Andersen: Absolutely. When I get in these situations [ me ] I've already told you what -- I guess what I'm looking for, and it's not what I'm looking for personally, it's just I want to be able to use the moment to be able to move forward as a coach, put the players in the position to let them understand the situation. But it's just very different the way it ended because there's no -- you can't say, hey, we had a chance to execute and we didn't.

It's different for me. I've never been through this situation, but any time I go through adversity as a coach, the best thing for me is to get out there on the field with the kids, and that will be no different today. To get into the team meeting. These kids will bounce back. They're tough minded. They deal with adversity very well.

I believe as a staff we deal with adversity very well. There's so much on the line with 12 guaranteed opportunities, it's tough to deal with. But moving on is a big part of it, and it will not be a factor on how we play against Purdue.

But I would put myself at the top of the totem pole as far as struggling to get over really any loss or any adversity we face as a program. It's always a personal challenge of my own to handle that the right way, and this is no different.

Gary, at this point, what would you need to hear from the Pac-12 officials to make you feel any better?

Andersen: Just what I said, just simply -- just accountability. What the situation was. That's really all I'm looking for. Because there's nothing else I can look for. Ideally, you'd like to say, let's get on the airplane and go kick it and see what happens with their PAT field goal block and our PAT kick team, but that's unrealistic. Just review the situation. I know that Mr. Delaney and his people will do a great job of evaluating the scenario. The Big Ten will do it. Coach Alvarez will obviously be highly involved. I'll be involved where needed. Just some closure, I guess.

You and your team have obviously spent a lot of time with each other since spring camp, but if you learned anything more after this adverse situation about the group?

Andersen: These kids have been through -- like any football team. I got asked the question, this team has been through some tough losses. Any team that's competitive in a big-time conference is going to have some good days and have some bad days. When you look back, how many people go undefeated?

You're going to face adversity. These kids have faced it. They're senior oriented. They've been through some good football games and some great football games and some great moments.

What I continue to look for is their preparation, the way they handle the locker room, the way they carried themselves after the game was good, especially through our upper classmen. There's a lot of young kids on that airplane ride on the way back. There's a couple young kids that need to learn some scenarios, some situations on how to react. Not really in a negative way, in any way, shape, or form, just how you move on and how you prepare yourself for the next adventure, which is obviously the next game. They'll carry themselves well. They have so far.

Have not seen them -- Sunday is our day off. We had meetings this morning, but those are just position meetings. I'll see them this afternoon. The way they reacted on the plane ride home, waiting in line to get on the plane, getting on the bus after it, 6:30, 7:00 in the morning, they'll come back focused.

They're on a mission, and the first quarter of that mission is over with. So we've got to move on.

Gary, you seem to be remarkably composed through that whole post-game circumstance. I'm wondering how difficult it was to strike that presentation.

Andersen: Very difficult. I was hopeful -- I'm always hopeful with that one. Communicating with the officials is to be able to keep some sort of a cool head and hopefully be able to get some communication the right way out of that because, if you're yelling and screaming, at that point, I don't know if that's the best thing to do because it makes people kind of go the other way.

I don't believe -- the way I handled it is the way I handled it. I don't believe doing it that way. I wish the communication could have gone on a little longer, but it wasn't happening. Again, I can only control what's in my control. You're not in a position to do anything more than that at that spot.

So try to handle it as professionally as I can.

Gary, the Pac-12 says, quote, we determined the officials fell short of the high standard in which Pac-12 games should be managed. Is that sufficient to satisfy you?

Andersen: Can you read it again?

We've determined the officials fell short of the high standard in which Pac-12 games should be managed. That's from Larry Scott, commissioner of the league.

Andersen: Initially, looking at it, I don't know. I'll react to it the way I'm supposed to react to it through the Big Ten and through Coach Alvarez. To me personally, no.

Gary, is it any easier to turn the page or look forward to Purdue just knowing that the goals that this team set forth for itself at the start of the season are still there with the Big Ten Championship and all that, because that game is a nonconference game. Does that play into it at all?

Andersen: I really don't think so with these kids. Obviously, the goals have been set. We never sat down and put a bunch of goals. The goals, as I always stated, is for those seniors to walk out of here proud. Would that be a big part of it if they had another championship? You bet it would. There's no question about that.

But I think, if we say, because that's a nonconference game, in any way, shape, or form we reflect that it doesn't matter, I would never say that. But the championship is still there for really every team in the Big Ten right now. They all have opportunities and will for weeks to come.

That's always something to fight for, and we're excited about that opportunity. But I don't think it cushions the loss to Arizona State in any way.

Moderator: Just for the benefit of the group, the Pac-12 statement has come out fully. I shall read it here. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott has reprimanded and taken additional sanctions against officials at Saturday night's Wisconsin versus Arizona state game for failing to properly administer the end of game situation and impact with appropriate urgency on the final game's play.

With 18 seconds remaining in the game, Wisconsin's quarterback ran the ball toward the center of the field, touched his knee to the ground, and then placed the ball on the ground. There was initial uncertainty over whether the quarterback had taken a knee, given himself up, or fumbled the ball. As a result, several Arizona State players considered the ball live and a fumble and attempted to recover the ball.

Neither the referee nor anyone on his crew moved with appropriate urgency to clearly communicate that the ball was to be spotted so play could resume promptly. This was an unusual situation to end the game, said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. After a thorough review, we have determined the officials fell short of the high standard in which Pac-12 games should be managed. We will continue to work with all officials to ensure this type of situation never occurs again.

Does that fuller explanation warrant any sort of reaction, Gary?

Andersen: It doesn't change the outcome, obviously. And like I said, I don't expect that. But accountability, which at the end of the day is what we ask for.

Gary, hopefully the last question on what happened Saturday --

Andersen: I'll bet it's not. Probably not.

Will this prompt you to make any changes with regards to future road games as to what the officiating crew is -- where they come from?

Andersen: To my knowledge, I have really no control over that, nor have I -- you know, in my career, as far as coaching goes, I don't know. I don't know what the process is to really do that. Whether I guess people could say it should be the other crew, it should be an outside crew. I would be completely uneducated if I was to speak on that at all.

I've never really thought about it. Until about 48 hours ago, to be honest with you also.

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