Tindal – Wisconsin’s No.3 cornerback - flew to Fort Lauderdale so he could be with his ailing mother, Regina Singletary. He returned home on Monday. Singleton passed away late Tuesday, but the true freshman wants to travel with No.25 Wisconsin to West Lafayette as they prepare to take on Purdue.
“He has practiced and wants to play, which is a credit to him,” Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said. “The kids on the team have been absolutely fantastic with him.”
Tindal entered Wisconsin as a three-star cornerback by Scout.com and has emerged as Wisconsin’s nickel cornerback. Andersen realizes that maybe the best opportunity for Tindal to continue to help with the healing process is to be around his teammates during this difficult time.
“I’m sure he is going to have his ups and downs as we go through this process with him,” said Andersen, “It’s important to him to get on that airplane, and we are definitely going to allow him that opportunity.”
The true freshman has quietly put together a productive first season, registering nine tackles and one tackle for loss. Even though Tindal has plenty on his mind, Andersen is not concerned with how Tindal will play on Saturday.
“I have a lot of concerns, not so much on the football field, if he has an opportunity to play but just going through that at that young of age, I think we can all imagine that it is a very trying time to say the least,” Andersen said.
Tindal is one of eight true freshmen to play this season. Not surprising, Andersen is holding true to what he told Tindal and his mom when he was recruiting him out of Boyd Anderson High School.
“My number one goal is to support him,” said Andersen. “Just like I told his mom when we recruited him that we would be there for him, to take care of him, and we will be. We will give him whatever he needs to fight through this. He’s a tough-minded young kid that’s battling right now but battling very tough.”
Tindal is expected to leave the team early next week to fly home for the funeral.
Despite all the new faces to the defense entering this year for Wisconsin, the last two weeks have shown what the Wisconsin defense could look like going forward under second year defensive coordinator Dave Aranda.
Although it has been a team effort on defense, pitching a 37-0 shutout at Rutgers and with all three phases of the defense taking a step forward, it would be easy to argue that the linebackers have taken the biggest step as a unit.
It also helps that redshirt senior nose guard Warren Herring returned two weeks ago to the lineup, allowing more freedom for the linebackers to make plays. Over the last two weeks, the starting linebackers have combined for 35 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks.
“I think there a group that’s anxious to learn, apply what they learned on the practice field and in the meeting room to the field,” said Andersen. “I think they’ve done a good job with that. They’re tight knit. If I would put it into a nut shell their drive to get better on and off the field is very, very impressive, and the communication has been good from them the last couple of weeks in games, which has helped them.”
Andersen on the importance of a downfield passing game against Purdue
“I think we’re trying to make strides but the key is, it is one thing to practice and be successful, and it’s another thing to be able to get into a game and be able to function at a high level, which you have to in this conference if you’re going to have success in any area of the football game. I’m excited to see what another week has done to see if we can make plays in the throw game to loosen up those teams.
”We are going to need it this week, I’m just going to say that right out of the gate; if we can line up there and pound against Purdue, it’s going to be tough sledding because I have a lot of respect for their front seven on defense. There going to load you up in the box and we’ve got to be able to throw the ball down the field successfully to have a successful offensive outing.”
Extra Points: Redshirt junior wide receiver Alex Erickson (concussion) is expected to play against Purdue...Redshirt sophomore tight end Eric Steffes, who injured his knee against Rutgers, is expected to miss significant time, but the injury has yet to be announced…Andersen applauded Aranda on how he’s been coaching this season but he also said that every coach has done a good job so far this year helping build this young team...Andersen also applauded cornerback Darius Hillary for his work ethic and how coachable he is, which Andersen believes has led to his development this year.