No Rest for the Defense

Already seeing stout running backs Chris Wells, Evan Royster and Shonn Greene, Wisconsin linebacker DeAndre Levy knows the Badgers will be in for another tough test this weekend going against the national-rushing leader in Javon Ringer.

How does Javon Ringer compare to other runners you have faced?

He's just a strong runner. He's a low guy, makes good cuts and is powerful and fast. That's all you really need in a good runner.

They talk about his stamina and that he is just as strong in the fourth as he is the first. That makes a different too doesn't it?

Yeah it does. I mean, he's still leading the nation or up to the top in a lot of categories. Averaging close to 40 carries a game, he's a tough guy.

What do you remember about the wild shootout that happened here last year (a 37-34 Wisconsin victory)?

That was a disgrace on our part. They came out firing, he made some plays, the receivers made plays and it was downfield from the first last year.

You say downhill. That seemed to be the way you guys played as a linebacking core against Illinois. Was that a conscious effort to be more aggressive after the Iowa game?

Yeah definitely. We were real hesitant in our fits and lateral in our fits against Iowa. It's really to get split like that and for our defensive line to get off and make plays when we aren't attacking.

Is passion a big part of what you have to do in order to make good defense?

Definitely. You can't be out there flat, not having fun and not enjoying it. You got to take everything that you do to heart and enjoy it.

Does Dave Doeren being upstairs make any difference for you?

Not really. We're used to Coach McCray being kind of a lively character that he is, it was fun having him out there and it was a good little changeup. I would like to have them both down there but it was all for the better.

Did it seem like you were one step ahead of Juice Williams all day and that you had him thinking?

Yeah, yeah. The coaches did a great job scheming and making adjustments throughout the game to take advantage of some of the things they were doing.

You guys took advantage of the spread and that was a huge point of emphasis all season. All satisfying is it that you did it against Illinois?

It feels good and we're going to try to enjoy it but we have to focus on our work. It feels good to go out there against such a potent offense with great players and limit them as much as possible.

Two weeks ago, Shonn Greene did what he did. How do you stop Javon Ringer? Is he a similar back?

It's hard to say because the two teams have different systems. But you know, he's going to be another challenger for us. He's a tough back to take down, strong runner, physical guy. We just have to do the opposite of what we did against Iowa, run down hill and make plays and force the issue.

Is tackling better a huge emphasis in a run-heavy offense like Michigan State?

Yeah. You've got to be dead on in your fits because they get downhill and if you are not there, they are going to crease you real fast and get upfield.

Does it feel like this season has a new life for you guys after the win?

I don't think this team or the players did not ever look forward to the next week. As soon as you get off the field, you want to get back out there and get the bad feeling out of our mouths and this is another opportunity for us.

What does it mean to have Travis as a teammate to you?

He's a great competitor. He goes out there and makes plays. I am sure a lot of defenses when they are watching film, he is a guy they highlight. This is another opportunity for someone else to get in there make plays.

As a senior, do you ever stop and think that it is not easy and that something like that could end a career?

Right. I stay mindful of that whenever I am out there. Every play could be my last, regardless of what happens. I try to go out there and give it my best effort so I never regret something is an injury like that would happen.

Does an injury make you appreciate the game more?

Definitely. You empathize with him. You can't image yourself being in that position, but you have to realize that everything is not in your hands. You have to work and take everything that you learn.


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