Running the Show

Getting the co-defensive coordinator tag removed and getting sole possession of the Badger defense, coordinator Dave Doeren is making that unit is ready to go when the season kicks off, which means there is a still lot to do before the spring season ends.

MADISON - Over the last two seasons, Dave Doeren has had many different hats he's needed to wear.

As the co-defensive coordinator, Doeren coached a defense in 2006 that led the nation in pass efficiency (84.19 - third lowest in conference history) and finished second in passing yards allowed per game and scoring defense.

As the linebacker coach, Doeren coached Mark Zalewski, a two-time captain and honorable mention All-Big Ten, in 06 and helped developed Jonathan Casillas and DeAndre Levy.

As the recruiting coordinator, Doeren was responsible for all the talent that has come into the Wisconsin program the last two years, including Doeren himself being responsible for recruiting the state of Florida.

Now Doeren has exchanged those three hats in and is wearing the most important one of all, as he is the man solely responsible for the Wisconsin defense.

While still having a hand in with the linebackers, Doeren has been working hard this spring to make sure the Badger defense is prepared for everything that is going to be thrown at them in 2008 and Doeren, as he told Badger Nation, has liked what some little used defensive players have brought to the workouts thus far.

BN: With so many injuries and mishaps that have happened to the defense during the spring, is there a silver lining for that meaning that you can see guys get more reps that you normally wouldn't be seeing or do you not look at players being out as a plus at all?

Dave Doeren: Well the only way that you are looking at it in a positive light is that you are getting your depth better and that you are giving some young guys an opportunity to show what they are made of early before they are probably ready. That's definitely plus. You can't say Louis Nzegwu, O'Brien Schofield, Patrick Butrym and Jeff Stehle getting all those reps on the defensive line doesn't help our depth up front. At the same time, you would like to see Jason Chapman and Mike Newkirk getting those reps you know? You have to look at it from that standpoint.

BN: What have you liked from Butrym this spring?

Dave Doeren: Pat's a blue-collared worker. That's the thing you appreciate with him is that everyday, you are going to get a tough guy on the field. He's not big enough yet. He'll get stronger and all that kind of stuff but he gives you everything he has.

BN: Are you enjoying your new position? It's a step up from where you were last year and in that sense; have you found a balance taking on all the new responsibilities?

Dave Doeren: Yeah, I am enjoying it quite a bit. Obviously you'd enjoy it more if you had all your guys out there. But it's been fun. I enjoy being around all the players and able to interact not just with the linebackers, but with the d-line and the secondary. It's not much of a balancing act really. It's just a different way to shift your hours that you are working.

BN: What's it like working with Randall McCray with the linebackers? You two seem to work real hand-in-hand with each other.

Dave Doeren: It's great. Randall played linebacker in college so he has that kind of knowledge. It gives us more eyes on those guys than we've had before. Before I was trying to see three at once and now he can take the guy that's over the tight end and I can take the other two or he can take or he can take the guy in the middle of the field and I can take the other two. It's been great for the players and for me.

BN: Besides Butrym, who else has really stepped up that you have very impressed with so far?

Dave Doeren: Jay Valai, probably out of our group that weren't starters last year, emerged to me as one of the guys that is really going to contribute this year. I am really happy with the play he's bringing. O'Brien Schofield is kind of in that light, as well. Jeff Stehle is guy that wasn't a starter last year, maybe played three snaps a game. He's move himself into a position to be a real contributor.

BN: How key was the Outback Bowl playing for Schofield that he was able to go from scout team to a contributing role?

Dave Doeren: It was huge, no question. First of all, he got 15 bowl practices as a starter and then to play with confidence in front of a crowd like that. The exposure was huge for him.

BN: What have you seen from Niles Brinkley and Mario Goins? With your two starting cornerbacks out, they are getting reps with the first team and both have come up with some good plays so far.

Dave Doeren: Yeah, some good, some bad. They've got to get better. Both of them are workers. Neither of them are guys you are on all the time about playing hard. It's just little techniques and details. The biggest thing at corner is learning what the offense is telling you with splits, alignments and formations. They've got a long way to go but we're glad we've got them.

BN: You can also see Langford and Henry being second coaches out there, especially Aaron. How important, even though they are injured, for them to be out there and taking guys aside and coaching them?

Dave Doeren: It's the only way that they can be involved. That's what we're telling them. This spring would be a waste of time for them if they weren't trying to coach guys and learn through their mechanics of what they should have done. It's the only way we can get these guys better right now is to have them act like the guy getting the reps and coaching them on what they didn't like.

BN: Before the injury, Dan Moore seemed to be doing a lot of good things and now the injury has set him back. What did you see out of him before hand and I guess how do you think the injury is impact his development over the next several weeks.

Dave Doeren: Yeah, Dan's a guy that has good size at the end position. He's 270 pound defense end. So he gives us a lot bigger body than we have right now as far as setting edge and taking on blocks. He's very long and plays with good leverage and gets off at a good pad level. Obviously not being out there hurts his progress but the scheme of the defense, just knowing what the call means and playing within the call. He's got a lot of natural ability.

BN: With all the injuries you have had to refigure your two-deep on the defensive line. With Josh Neal coming in, what has he brought to the table?

Dave Doeren: Josh is a guy that would do anything you ask as hard as he can. That's what he is - a team player. He's been great for the unit and everyone around him because people really respect him.

BN: For the spring game, how excited are you to get out there in some kind of game atmosphere. Can you talk about that?

Dave Doeren: Hopefully we're outside but the spring game is no different than a practice to me. It's just our players against our players and the have to go out there and execute and play. We won't call a whole lot of stuff. So within the system, just being consistent and the atmosphere is no different to me.


Badger Nation Top Stories