Inside the Locker Room: Purdue

Following No.24 Wisconsin 41-10 victory over Purdue in Saturday's Big Ten opener, head coach Gary Andersen and selected players address the media.

Wisconsin Football

Vince Biegel -

Chris Borland -

Melvin Gordon -

Ryan Groy -

Darius Hillary -

James White -

Gary Andersen transcript

ANDERSEN: Well, it was an interesting week, to say the least, and I think we can put all that to bed and put it to rest. But I'm just really proud of the kids, the way they came back and prepared, didn't miss a beat. Thought we played well on offense, defense, special teams.

Overall, the defense, 14-0, they get a nice drive together and have a broken play for the touchdown and then they get a pick and we're right back out on the field. They bowed up in that situation, and I was proud of them.

But it was good, ran the ball very, very well. Those are some really good tailbacks and let's not forget who is in front of them, the offensive line, the tight ends, the wide receivers and those fullbacks, talk about unselfishness. They just keep on working at it, and some talented players back there making big time plays for us.

I also think Joel Stave checked the run game very well and got us out of some things. And again, that goes unnoticed many times but that was a positive.

Special teams, we kicked the ball pretty good overall, seemed to, and made a few plays. So the kickoff coverage got better as the game went on and as we kicked the ball better the kickoff coverage got better.

I'm proud of this group of kids. Great, great crowd today. Exciting for myself, selfishly, to be involved in a Big Ten game for the first time. It's something special out there, as you all know. But I've never had that opportunity until today. So it's a memory I'll cherish for a long time.

QUESTION: At this point in the season, I think you're pretty comfortable that you can run the ball effectively. But there were some pass plays today, especially a couple deep throws that you guys missed. Are you going to need to start converting more of those consistently from here on?

ANDERSEN: I would say yes. I don't have the numbers in front of me as far as third down and the throwing and the running and all the stuff that comes with it. But if I just say one thing that we come out of that game that we need to do, again, we need to pitch it and catch it better. I don't care if it's a long throw, short throw. There were some drops out there again today that we need to get rid of.

So we protected well. Seems like we protected very, very good. I've seen Purdue, watched a lot of tape on them and seen them give some people real problems with rushing the passer. For the most part we protected extremely well. So we need to throw the ball and catch the ball better without a doubt.

QUESTION: You've been a part of a number of teams over your career, but can you recall being around a better running back tandem than what James (White) and Melvin (Gordon) have to offer right now?

ANDERSEN: No, they're very, very talented, especially with the way they fit into this type of offense. We had, a few years ago, couple years ago we had two NFL backs that were playing for us. Obviously, I believe we have two NFL backs playing for us now. But they're just so dynamic, their ability to make people miss. They really kind of complement each other with the running styles in my opinion. So they're special kids. The third guy out there on the field is not too bad either.

QUESTION: You alluded to the defensive stand that led to that field goal instead of a touchdown. What did you see from (Dezmen) Southward where he came up and forced Hunt to lose two yards and go out of bounds I think it was second goal from the five and gained five yards to first down. It looked like Hunt was going to get outside and he didn't?

ANDERSEN: I don't know. I probably couldn't even tell you what the defensive call was in that situation. Was it on their sideline, I suppose? Yeah, it was on our sideline? Yeah, I don't know. I must have been getting a drink of water or something. I can't remember that. I'm not going to tell I know something I don't.

QUESTION: It seems like a chicken and egg thing, good coverage in the back end versus a pass rush. What was the equation today? What got the secondary, was it the secondary that got the pass rush under, moving in the right direction, or the other way around?

ANDERSEN: Well, I think we got more push today overall. We had a few more pressures that came clean early, forced him to escape. The kids rushed the passer better today and had some opportunities to make some plays and they made them. We mixed a good amount of zone coverages, and we didn't blitz a lot. There was a lot of four-man pressures that may look like blitzes, but they weren't. So it was a good defensive effort, and I think we just rushed the passer better today than we have in some other games.

QUESTION: You've had so many explosive plays and it was such a big part of your offense last year. How important is that to what you're doing right now?

ANDERSEN: It's huge. Chunk yardage on offense. It's hard in today's day and age of college football to go 12 plays in 80 yards and a pile of dust consistently. You've got to have yards in chunks. We've been able to do that when we've been successful on offense. When we've kind of stubbed our toe and haven't been as effective, we don't see those chunk yards just coming our way.

It's great to have. It's talented young men that can do that because there are a lot of good football players out there, and we need to keep having that happen in our favor as we move forward.

I think the defense is doing a good job of not allowing a lot of big chunk yardage plays.

QUESTION: What have you seen out of (Chris) Borland leadership-wise in the last few games?

ANDERSEN: Since I've walked in here I've seen great leadership. I felt like I watched last summer, I felt like I saw him go through it two summers ago, and now I guess I saw him lead a team that I was getting ready to come in and try to play, and he's done nothing but grow on me.

He loves the game of football. Right now he leads our team in community service hours. He's a senior. He doesn't have to do that stuff. He does it, because he loves Wisconsin, he loves football, he's a leader, and our young kids learn so much from that kid, it's amazing. Tremendous, tremendous leader.

QUESTION: Could you tell what happened on the interception? Was he expecting (Brian) Wozniak to cut it in?

ANDERSEN: I don't know. I just heard a little over the phones. I think it was a zone coverage to a man coverage read. I'll have to look at that one and get the information on there. But I think there was a little bit of a miscue.

QUESTION: When we talked to you on Thursday you were hopeful (Derek) Landisch would play. But when did you know he wasn't going to be available? And first inclination, how do you think (Conor) O'Neill did filling in for him today?

ANDERSEN: He could have played if we felt like we needed him. But we just did not get into that position, and I felt very good about O'Neill going in there. He's done nothing but play well. It's just nice to have a third guy that can kind of roll through there. Landisch was ready if needed, but O'Neill was consistent.

For him, Ethan (Armstrong) came in and moved in and played inside last week. Don't think that he goes home and O'Neill's all jumping up-and-down and excited because Ethan came in and played inside linebacker, because now he's got a shot again this week, and I thought he played well.

QUESTION: How much did Purdue's apparent lack of running game factor into your desire to want to upgrade the pass rush today?

ANDERSEN: Well, the down and distance were basically when we felt the pass rush. I think it was just dictated strictly by where they are, where they're sitting and how things are going for us as far as building a defense around the down and distances. Nothing really about the run game. We were stout against the run and got us into positions to be able to rush the passer by what down and distance is out there.

QUESTION: Coach, it seems the first four games team's offenses made a really big point of attacking you on the outside edge. What have you thought about your containment by some of the cornerbacks that get off the block?

ANDERSEN: Yeah, we've been pretty solid now. Last week people trying to get the ball on the edges. I thought we'd seen more bubble screens today. We took a lot of that stuff away from them. The young secondary has tackled pretty well.

Now, as soon as I say that, my mind goes right back to the one Soujourn (Shelton) missed there in the fourth quarter. That was a bad missed tackle.

But I think they've been physical. They've wanted to tackle which is a good sign. I think we're snapping off blocks. Our defensive pursuit appears to be very good again this week, and that's a lot of kids that care out there that run the ball well, and missed tackles don't really kill you all the time if you can have people running the football. I think that's what's happened on the edges a lot.

QUESTION: Do you feel any better going into a road game at Ohio State coming off a tough road environment last week?

ANDERSEN: Yeah, I do. But I think it will be exciting. It will be a good situation to walk into. I haven't been there since I went on my recruiting trip back in 1986. That was a long time ago. I know it's all changed since I was there.

Excited about going in there. I know it's a great stadium. But the fact that we've gone on the road once and traveled is big for us. I know that's a tough place to play, what have you, but our kids will still be prepared.

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