Badger Nation Q&A: Offensive Line Coach Jim Hueber

Offensive Line Coach Jim Hueber had some very interesting things to say about the offense's struggles in an interview conducted after Tuesday's practice.

Badger Nation: Coach Alvarez said in his press conference this week the offensive line hasn't played up to its potential in run blocking or pass protection. When you look at the tape from last week, is there a common theme or anything that sticks out to you that's been a problem?

Hueber: You know Ron, I hate to kill your article, but I'm not going to talk about last week. It's done. We're going to have the kids move on. We need to move on with it. I don't want it to linger on. Obviously the game went…the only statement I'll make is, obviously the game went, we couldn't be too happy with any phase of what we did.

Badger Nation: You've dealt with situations like this many times in your career, right?

Hueber: Sure, everybody does. Everybody in the state of Wisconsin did. Think back. All you have to do is think back. There's probably a game every year where everybody looks at it that way.

Badger Nation: Do you think because of the standards set by your offensive line over the years, it's harder to live up to those expectations?

Hueber: You know, standards, expectations or whatever, we're not going to change. Not because of a bump in the road, or somebody being sick or not having the same guys together. It's not woe is me. It's not. We have great kids and we'll get them out of it. They'll work hard. As long as I keep pushing them and they keep responding, we'll be okay. We'll find a way to right it.

Badger Nation: You mentioned sick, and obviously Dan Buenning was sick all through the late part of the summer and into fall camp. How hard has it been for him to come back after dealing with that sickness?

Hueber: Well anybody that's ever been around anybody that's had mono…but I don't want to make it out…Dan being sick is something that happened. We did not stop one second, sit with our heads hung down. We put guys in there to play, we moved people around and we moved forward. I don't know any other way to talk about it. I don't remember anybody ever thinking that I said for one second that we couldn't line up and play. That's not our nature.

Badger Nation: It looked like you and Anthony Davis kind of got into it on the sidelines…

Hueber: I didn't get into it. There's a point in time when you need to get somebody's attention. People that have been around me know, if I'm going to get somebody's attention, I'm going to be right there to get it. I'm not going to send them a letter or a telegram. I'm going to say it face-to-face. All it was, was a correction and a giddy-up. That's all it was…people are making way too much…people ought to watch the game and not watch the sideline. People are making way too much of what's going on on the sideline. I wonder what the hell they said to their kid when he grabbed the guy in the end zone at the end of the game?

Badger Nation: While things haven't been perfect for this team over the last few weeks, you're still 4-0, and instead of losing those close non-conference games as you did last year at Oregon, for example, you've been able to pull them out. How much of a difference does that make?

Hueber: We don't want to trade. We don't care what people think. We're not worried about anybody's standards but ours. We're 4-0. We don't like the way we got there necessarily. But it's fine with me. We're 4-0. We'll work to make sure everything's right the next game.

Badger Nation: How valuable has it been to see the types of defenses that have been thrown at you the last four weeks?

Hueber: I don't know, valuable. I don't know, you know what I mean? It's a lot of time standing there making adjustments, doing things and trying to find ways to get an extra hat into the box. Trying to find a way to get an extra man in the protection. We're working at it. You know, the week before everybody thought we were the smartest guys in the world. Guys just standing back there for 20 minutes. This week we had some faux pas, and we have to live with it. We have to correct them.

Badger Nation: With the blitzes you are seeing, does it just get to the point where the offensive line can only do so much? I mean, you can only block so many guys…

Hueber: You know, I don't know where you're leading to on the deal. Let me say this to you. Our quarterback does a hell of a job. Our quarterback…they can say anything they want, it's a combination of everything. No. 1, we have to get the ball snapped, and we need to block. No. 2, the guys in routes need to get into routes. No. 3, we have to throw the ball to the right guy. If any of those break down at any one time. It could be a different one every time. That still may amount to three sacks right there before you even look up. There's no (reason) to point a finger at anything else. The linemen can do what the linemen can do, the receivers can do what they can do, and we need to all do it together every time.

Badger Nation: Have you seen your older guys like Al Johnson and Ben Johnson step forward and take charge a little bit this week as well, after last week's game?

Hueber: Yeah. I don't think you can make too much out of that. Your older guys need to step up. They need to say, `This is where we want to go and this is how we're going to do it.' They need to buy into what we're doing then the younger guys will follow. But they have to worry about their assignments and what they're doing. They're young guys, they're going to school, they're going to class, they have other stuff to worry about too. It's our job to get it right. If they buy in, we'll be okay.

Badger Nation: You've spoken highly of Mike Lorenz' potential in the past. And he certainly came in at a crucial period last week and got the job done. You had to have been pretty pleased with how he reacted in a tough spot, filling in for Jason Jowers on the game-winning drive.

Hueber: I will talk about that part of the game. I think Mike did a nice job when he came in. He was forced in there when Jason hurt his ankle. We were in a crucial period of time. We were in a game where we had some problems with protections, and he stood out there like a man and did what he was supposed to do. He was ready when we called upon him, and that's what we ask guys to do.

Badger Nation Top Stories