"Oh absolutely. He knows that his legacy… he'll be remembered for that because all the previous great MAC quarterbacks have led their teams to championships. And certainly (Toledo quarterback Bruce) Gradkowski up the road, he's still playing, he got it done last year. So Omar's definitely bought into that."
How has he handled all the increased attention and publicity?
"I think he's doing a nice job with it. It can get overwhelming, which its becoming. We have to manage that and make sure it doesn't get out of control. We're able to keep him grounded and focused on the task at hand."
"These non-conference games, no matter if you are playing Oklahoma or a I-AA team, as far as the MAC goes, we need to take care of business in our league and be in position to play in one of our two bowl games. That's what we talk about here. It would be nice to go up and beat Wisconsin and play well — the most important thing is that we go up and play well. We'll just let the outcome take care of itself.
"We have a big game sandwiched in between Wisconsin and Boise and that's at Ball State. That's the one we need to be focusing on."
What do you expect for the experience to provide your team of coming into Camp Randall. This is a Big Ten crowd and all the intangibles that go with that. What kind of a positive might that be for your club?
"I hope we'll be able to handle that because we've been in venues like that in the past and have responded. I think kids enjoy playing in that kind of environment. That's college football. That's why you come to Division I programs. That's basically what I tell the players. I said, this is what it's all about. You know, you are getting a chance to play in a great college venue. Go out and have some fun and let it fly."
There has been such a roster turnover in Madison. You can look at the club and kind of know what to expect but there are a lot of unknowns on the Badger side as well. Is that different for you in preparing your kids for this team?
"They graduated some really talented players on both sides of the ball, particularly on defense. I've known that program through the years, from my days in the Big Ten. They are still going to have just as good of players that have to step and get it done. That's a quality program and they've won for a long time. We've got to go in prepared to play an outstanding game to have a chance to win."
On wide receiver Steve Sanders:
"Steve has really blossomed. He had really a good last year. He kind of came into his own, developed as a playmaker at the receiver position. He's a Cleveland kid. Him and Omar are captains. Steve was elected a captain in the offseason. He's done a great job leading in that regard, particularly with the receivers. His work ethic and his ability to get open.
"Omar, they have developed a nice rapport, as well as with Charles Sharon, another returning receiver as well. Those guys bring a lot to the table for us."
What does [Sanders] physically maybe bring that other teams got to prepare for?
"He's a big target and he can run. He's a 6-3 kid, a 210-pound kid. When he gets going in the open field, he brings a lot to the table that way… He's really learned how to get open, he's learned how to run routes. He's become more disciplined that way and is able to shake himself free."
Gregg, it seemed like the only teams that really came close to slowing down your offense last year were the ones that could run the ball and keep your offense off the field. I'm sure that's what Wisconsin would love to do. Can you stop them from doing that do you think?
"Boy I hope so. That's really a concern because I watched their Ohio State game last year. Man, they just kept running that power play after play after play. Even when Ohio State knew it was coming. That defense is pretty salty now. That is a concern. I hope we can get some stops. The key is when we have the ball we have to score and take advantage of our opportunities because if they get into us and start pounding us that will be a concern."
When you broke down those last three games last year what do you think happened defensively. I know you played some pretty good defense up to that point. Do you think you addressed some of those issues?
"I think we had a problem with the pass rush and as a result we gave up some big plays. At times we had some breakdowns back there, just lack of communication. All those things can be fixed. We've worked on that through spring. And then coach (John) Lovett has come in, our new defensive coordinator, and he's really stressing those things. This will be an opportunity to see if we can get that done."