Joe Stellmacher quotes/audio

Safety discusses first road game, secondary bouncing back from Bowling Green performance and more

The following is a transcription and audio file of an excerpt from University of Wisconsin junior strong safety Joe Stellmacher's session with the media Monday afternoon.

Audio file (5:41) -

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On playing first road game:

"The whole away game, it's a whole different, it's a whole new ballgame. We leave Friday. You don't have the comfort of being at your home place. So the routine's going to be a whole lot different.

"Hopefully it won't affect some of the young guys who haven't been on the road before.

"It's going to be a test, first road game for all of us. A good test."

Some people like 11 o'clock kickoffs, some like midday, some like night games. What's the best for you?

"Probably midday is probably the best for me. If I could prefer, I'd sleep in a little bit, but then you're not waiting around all day as opposed to a night game. Midday would probably be ideal for me. But the coaches have a good plan for night games. We get up, we have a little walk through, so we're not just laying around all day. They have a good plan. So it shouldn't be a problem."

So the most difficult thing about a night game is just making sure you're not sitting (around all day)?

"And coaches have a plan, we'll go to the stadium midday, probably, for a walk through. So we're not sitting around. We'll get a good stretch. Dett (strength and conditioning coach John Dettmann) will stretch us out midday and make sure we're not just laying around all day. Coaches have a good plan for that."

In addition to making the change (in the starting lineup), did coach (Bret) Bielema stress pride or desire or anything like that; did he appeal to that aspect of it to improve?

"On Monday, Coach B said if we had any character as a defense we'd want to take the field that Monday for our next game just for the opportunity to redeem ourselves for the performance that we had against Bowling Green.

"The whole defense (was) really itching to get out there on Saturday and really improve on what we did against Bowling Green."

The competition wasn't as good obviously (against Temple). It's going to get much better. But do you feel like this could be the start of something?

"We certainly hope so. We hope it's a step in the right direction. The opponent wasn't as talented offensively, but with the whole defense I thought we played better, communicated better. Hopefully that's the first step to a good year for us."

On the defensive line, replacing four 2004 starters and injured defensive tackle Justin Ostrowski:

"In camp, once Justin went down. We were just, ‘Who are we going to have to play there?' But they are doing a tremendous job right now. Kurt Ware, Mike Newkirk, Gino Cruse, guys that you haven't really heard of for the last couple of years, stepping up. They are really filling the shoes of some of the guys (from) last year. They are going to get better every week. They are young guys. They are going to get better every week. We have the utmost confidence in all those guys…"

Eight guys in that rotation, a group that everyone thought was kind of thin, given the losses, who's really surprised you?

"I don't know if you could say — Kurt Ware, he's having a heck of a year, just watching him on film. I knew he could do it… he's been playing behind some guys. But I'm not really surprised at what he's doing, but maybe some of you guys (are). But he's been playing really well.

"Matt Shaughnessy, a true freshman, and at about 220 or 230 or whatever he is, he's doing a heck of a job too for us.

"And Newkirk, he's a little scrapper inside. He's doing a tremendous job.

"And Jamal Cooper. He's having a heck of a season and a heck of a first two games… He's probably our most consistent down lineman. Those guys.

…How worried were you guys in the back end about the D line when you see on NFL Draft day that four guys go in the draft?

"We really can't think about that. We have our own responsibilities, we know what we have to do. We know Coach Palermo is going to have those guys ready to go. He does every year. Through the first two games they've done a great job of applying pressure and making it that much easier for us in the back end."

Last week you guys kind of hand the target on your back because of the week's performance before. Can you kind of walk me through what practice might have been like. How hard did Coach Bielema really push you?

"The spotlight was on us in the back end all last week obviously as it should have been after our performance against Bowling Green. But we were very focused last week. We had a great week of practice I thought, as a secondary and as a whole defense. We communicated much better. And then Saturday came around and we carried that over to the field. We had 100 percent communication. We had no plays over our heads. I thought there was a much more consistent effort from everyone on the defense."

How much does that do for your confidence this week?

"It was a game we needed, especially after getting kicked in the face by Bowling Green pretty well. We got some confidence back in some guys who were a little down after the Bowling. So that was big for us."

Is tough to gauge how well you guys executed playing with Temple not being as good?

"Certainly they weren't as explosive as Bowling Green. But we've still got to play. We did everything that was asked of us… We had no mental breakdowns that I can recall. No balls over our heads. We did what we could."

Is that sort of like the little things counting for guys that are inexperienced….

"Yeah, certainly. Stress the little things every week. When we watch film we look at the little things. There are probably some things that we can correct even against Temple that we didn't do quite so well. But we'll look at that and try to do better next against North Carolina."


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