Nick Hayden quotes/audio

Defensive tackle discussed playing Michigan this week and the defensive line moving forward in spite of injuries

The following is a transcription and audio file of an excerpt from University of Wisconsin sophomore defensive tackle Nick Hayden's session with the media Monday afternoon.

Audio file (4:38) -

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"We just got to keep improving every day, basically. Hopefully Coop gets better and just got to have younger players step up and just keep coming together as a D line."

Does it seem like adversity to you or don't you guys deal with it in terms like that?

"No, we don't deal with it. We just got to keep coming and different players have got to step up every game."

Would you welcome Joe Thomas playing some on the D line?

"I'd welcome it. We get help however we can. We were short a player. Kurt had chicken pox so we needed another player to step in to fill in his role. I'm fine with that."

You haven't been around that long but Wisconsin hasn't faired all that well in the last 10 years against Michigan. How do you look at that rivalry?

"You know Michigan was one of my choices for going to school, so it's going to be a big rival for me and for the whole team. It's going to be a good game. I'm excited for it."

What do you think of, when you think of Michigan?

"Good team. That's the way I look at them. They are going to come and be prepared, come ready to play. We just got to out work them and out tough them."

Do you look forward to playing a team like Michigan?

"Oh I definitely look forward. First conference game, you got to look forward to that. It's going to be an exciting game. Night game. You just can't wait for that."

How much confidence do you have under Coach Palermo that whoever you've got that he'll get them ready to play?

"Tons of confidence. He's a great coach. I love the guy. He'll get us to ready to play no matter who's on the field. If we have Matt, a true freshman playing, he'll get him ready to play. Everybody's just got to step up and know their role."

Expectations don't change, even you are going down the depth chart a bit?

"No, they don't change. You've just got to play to your potential and if you do that, play hard every snap, we'll be fine."

You are 3-0 going into conference play. Is that where you expected to be all along or is there a little relief because there was a couple of potential pitfalls there along the way?

"Oh no. We expected it. You know, 1-0 every game. So we just got to keep trekking away through this season, just look forward to this game coming up and hopefully come 1-0 out of that game."

You've seen a lot so far in three games, different types of offenses… are you ready for the Big Ten? Did those games prepare you?

"Oh yes. They prepared us physically and mentally. Now, we just got to get prepared for Michigan coming up."

You mentioned expectations not changing no matter who's on the D line, have you played up to your expectations?

"In a way yes, but I can always keep getting better. There's always improvements you can make on your footwork or your technique your using. Right now yes, but I can always keep improving."

In what areas do you look at the tape and say, I'm doing well, or in other areas you say I've got to improve?

"Playing the run, I think I do that pretty good. My feet work can get better and defending the pass and getting back to the QB, I can do that a lot better."

Relate Michigan's elite team status to your experience in high school, being a team that everyone wanted to beat:

"You know, it's just, I don't really know how to answer that. But just got to come, and they are a great team. Ranked mostly every year, making a bowl every year. It's going to be a great team. Yeah, everyone wants to beat them. Hopefully we can pull it out and work hard this week and get prepared enough to beat them."

Close games over the years with Michigan. Do you feel like an underdog in this game or do you feel like you are a competitive equal… ?

"We should be equal. We'll give them a good game and we should definitely come out in the end."

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