AUDIO: Bret Bielema - Michigan Post Game

After watching his team squander a 19-point second-half lead to lose its conference opener, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema reluctantly addresses the media.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema -

Opening Comments

"From our locker room and the head coach's point of view I was obviously very disappointed in the results of the second half. I really believe that the guys came in here with an attitude to go out there and execute. With the half-time score, one of the things we addressed in there was a lot of missed opportunities out there on the field in the first half from an offensive standpoint. We started out the third quarter with an inability to convert on a third-and-one which was really a poor sign of how we were going to progress. The first series they got any movement on us on the defensive end was a huge momentum swing that got away from us here in the end.

I give all the credit in the world to Michigan to be where they were at and to be able to come back from where they were. My hat goes off to them.

It's a situation that you don't like to deal with as a coach. You have to understand that our kids put a lot of time and effort into coming out here and have the opportunity to beat Michigan at Michigan. Any time that is denied and then to have it go down the way it did is very disheartening. But we have to take the opportunities that we had, examine why we didn't convert on them, and move forward."

On the 2-point conversion, was Travis Beckham lined up properly at first?

"No, no he wasn't. He lined up on the line of scrimmage when he should have been lined up off the football and then obviously it would have made the play legal. We all knew where he was supposed to be, but he didn't practice it. The deal with Travis, last week during our bye week he practiced Tuesday and Wednesday and then halfway through the practice on Thursday he aggravated his hamstring. We gave the guys Friday and Saturday off. He did not practice Sunday and then we did not practice at all Monday. Tuesday he didn't practice, Wednesday he ran with the trainers but didn't practice and then Thursday was going about 85 percent. It was just one of the situations with our players that if they don't practice throughout the course of the week, then you can't count on them during the game and that's what the plan was going into the game. I'm sure he felt the emotions of watching a couple passes get dropped. He came up and said he was 100-percent fine and he went in there and made a nice play. But in the end what you don't practice you can't play. No one can discount how much it means to Travis. I know it's very frustrating for everybody involved."

On lost opportunities…

"Well, there were a lot of them out there. We really hit on it at half-time and obviously the very first touchdown opportunity at the beginning of the game. Nick had one go through his hands, Lance had two bounce off him, David had two bounce off him that ended up being an interception, Kyle had one bounce off his hip that ended up being an interception. You just can't expect to be able to come into a hostile environment at Michigan and play against a good football team and have those things come against you."

On the defense being worn down in the second half…

‘Well they were out there quite a bit, we went 3-and-out, 3-and-out, 3-and-out and any time you do that you're going to have a lot of fatigue physically. Our inability to get the first down and get the change had an adverse effect on our defense big time."

On running the option…

"The first option we ran during the course of the day , the wide-out missed a block on him that was probably going to be a score, we tried to come back to it twice and weren't able to do it. The mishandled pitch that resulted in the lost yardage was a big play. They were jamming up everything inside so we went down the perimeter with the option play."

On Michigan's second-half offense…

"Well they moved the ball and were really able to connect on some passes and on a couple of runs. There still weren't a lot of yards up there but obviously the quarterback kept his own replay there in the fourth quarter. They went for the long one and then what ended up being a touchdown was a big play, we had some pressure, and we hit it up inside."

On solid tackling in first half compared to second half...

"I think it shows how fragile emotions can be and how they run a little bit harder once a guy breaks a tackle and that energy gets popped up a little bit more. I think defensively after that first touchdown we had good eyes on the sidelines, but after that second one hit, I think (the players) confidence value really went way down."

On if the loss was deflating…

"All losses are deflating and when you have high expectations and lofty goals those things are always going to have a hard-hitting effect on your program. It's the first game in the Big Ten season and we've played some good football. The one thing I want those guys in the locker room to understand is that they're a good football team that didn't play well enough today to overcome several blown opportunities."

On learning from today…

"Those are scars that we had to go through last year and those are some of the same things that got us in a good position where we are today. Those are lessons that have to be learned. Obviously it's a little bit different coming back and playing in Camp Randall, hopefully that will be a positive for us. Any time you lose the bruises hurt a little bit more, the knees hurt a little bit more, the ankles hurt a little bit more. So we need to quickly forget what just happened, take our learning experiences and move forward.

On Red Zone production…

"We need to be able to convert touchdowns down there. I can't say enough about Philip (Welch) after missing that first one and for him to battle back and connect the way he did. We have to figure out ways in the Red Zone whether it's better throws or better reads or better execution in the running game to get those balls across the goal line."

On RB John Clay's big plays…

"John made a heck of a football play to bounce that thing out. What I ask coaches to do all the time is put the players in the game who you feel give us the best chance to win the game in every situation. They put John in there because they knew he ran that inside "iso" very well and bounced the ball out. It was the same thing in the second half. I asked the coaches to try to analyze who is in the ball game and who gives us the best chance to win. The players that were in there are the ones they thought did."


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