Big Ten teleconference: Scott Starks

The conference's defensive player of the week addressed the media Tuesday

Opening statement

"Purdue was an extremely, extremely good team. Their ranking I think was lower than what they really are. Kyle Orton, all the hype I ever heard about him, I don't think is enough because I he was an extremely good quarterback, not to mention the receivers that they had. Their defense also played an extremely good game too."

What did you guys do so well against Purdue that slowed down Orton and their powerful offense?

"I think in the first half we did a good job of disguising our coverages and checking when he checked and just trying to confuse him a little bit. In the second half, he kind of stepped up a little bit and his receivers stepped up a little bit and their running back did also. So they got a couple more yards in the second half."

Could you talk a little bit about your offensive line and just the job that they've done for you guys this year?

"The offensive line has had a tough job this year. Especially with the different running backs that we've had to deal with during the year. They've just been stepping it up every game and getting better every game and improving every game."

Have you had a chance to watch the play? Have you had a chance to see it, how it came about?

"I just remember him rolling out to my left and I tried to just hit him low and just stop him for a short gain and Rob Brooks came in second and kind of hit it out almost with his knee and I just saw the ball sitting there after that."

What was the reaction you remember right after, getting over to the sideline?

"I'm a man of faith I ask God before every game to put me in the right position at the right time. That was another chance for Him right there. He just had me in the right place at the right time so I could make that play. I was just thanking God after that happened."

A lot of teams in the past that have gone on to win a National Championship or go undefeated, there is a play like that where there is just one play where it looks like you are going to get beat and there's a play that turns it around. Do you feel like that is maybe a destiny sort of a play for you guys?

"I really don't know about a destiny-type play. I think we just went into it with the whole 1-0 mentality. That was just another game underneath our belt. We are just looking forward to Northwestern right now."

Do you think that you guys defensively are maybe surprising some people around the country? I assume you guys felt that you likely could be pretty good defensively. Are you better than you thought or do you think people are surprised by how you are playing?

"Maybe other people are surprised but we've just had the same type of intensity, the same type of swagger and confidence since the spring ball when Coach Bielema came in. I've always talked about him. The whole defense is a mature defense with a lot of game-time experience. We should be a pretty successful defense with all the experience that we've had."

Scott, who is the leader of this defense?

"I don't think there is exactly just one leader. We have a lot of seniors and a lot of guys that have played a lot of ball. We each teak turns just picking each other up and leading the defense as a whole. We don't have just one particular leader."

Ras is getting a lot of ink. Is he a vocal guy? He's getting most of the ink on that defense.

"Ras is a vocal guy but he doesn't even have to because the plays he makes speak for themselves."

How much is it hurting him that he'll be out this week?

"He's been positive all week. He hasn't said too much about it. He just can't wait to get out there."

Do you guys have a name for yourselves?

"The Wisconsin Defense."

Why have you guys bought into the 1-0 philosophy? It seems like a lot of times coaches throw out different mottos and I'd imagine sometimes the players roll their eyes but you guys are taking that pretty seriously.

"A lot of coaches, they do bring a lot of different philosophies in that players hardly ever buy into. The 1-0 philosophy it just makes so much sense. If you are 1-0 in every practice, if you are 1-0 in the game, 1-0 in every game, you'll be 1-0 on the season. It helps you not to look too far ahead and just concentrate on the task at hand."

Who do you think will step up for Ras?

"With a guy like Ras out, everybody has to step up. Jamal Cooper, he is going to have to step up and play his best game and also the back end's going to have to step up and play their best game, along with the linebackers."

Scott I wondered how much if at all you've broken down the first BCS rankings and whether you wonder why the computers don't like you as much as the polls?

"Believe it or not I haven't even seen the BCS rankings yet. As a team we choose, I know I choose not to look at them and so does a lot of other guys because we've bought so much into the 1-0 philosophy. We can be ranked whatever we are now, by the end of the season we can be out of the rankings if we don't concentrate on the task at hand."

What was going on in the huddle or I guess the defensive mindset before your big play?

"My mindset, along with the back end was, ‘we've got to make a play.' Everybody on defense: ‘we've got to make a play.' We have to find some way, some how and that's something we haven't been able to do the past few years is make that one play down the stretch. We found that one play and the fumble."

You remember what your thoughts were when you picked it up?

"Touchdown. It's time to go to the house."

You guys have had all the parts the past couple years. How exciting is it for everything to be coming together and how good you are right now?

"It is extremely exciting but we just taking it one game at a time. We are not worried too much about the hype or whatever people outside the program are thinking. We just concentrating on one game at a time."

You don't play Michigan this year. Is it hard not looking at the scoreboard on Saturdays just watching what they are doing. Do you find yourself rooting for whoever is playing Michigan that weekend?

"No sir, that is not hard at all. They can win all the rest of their games or they can lose one game and we can lose the rest of our games. So it wouldn't even matter. We just have to worry about our team and us being 1-0 every week."

Was there a moment or a meeting when Coach Bielema, kind of introduced himself to you guys and laid down the law or told you this was the way it was going to be. How did he gain credibility with the guys that were already there?

"Believe it or not I really don't know. He has a certain air about him, a certain confidence, a certain swagger. It just kind of permeated throughout the whole defense. We sat down and he had one-on-one meetings with us. He told us what he saw in us and what he expected out of us. We all just get along extremely well with Coach Bielema and he relates to us very well."

Most D coordinators if they are on field are pretty demonstrative and fired up. Is he that way during games?

"He's always fired up but he knows he can't take it too far as we would get out of our game. He stays mellow headed when he has to and fires us up when he has to."

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