Champs Sports Bowl Post - Wisconsin

After suffering the worst bowl defeat in 38 years, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema and junior quarterback Dustin Sherer address the following a 42-13 loss to Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl.

Wisconsin Post Game -

Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema

Opening Statement:

"To take today and put it into perspective for the entire year, there are certain things that we need to overcome and we weren't able to do so. To be sitting in a 14-6 ballgame midway through the third quarter and then to have the two scores in the first half they got happen the way they did and the field position battle we were in in the first half constantly with their punter being able to kill it inside the five on several occasions. I thought we were right in the thick of it and had a few things go against us and in a hurry the floodgates opened and then were in a situation where we're just trying to get out of the ballgame. It was difficult and the only true crime is if we don't take the guys that are returning and learn from this. Learn from not only today's experiences but learn from the entire course of this season. The highs, the lows and the preparation we had to have to get all of those. I did admire the way they kept competing and I thought certain guys battled the entire game and unfortunately for us we weren't able to send out a group of seniors on a positive note."

On the quad set play early on:

"It was just something that we worked into our bowl prep. It was a quad set, basically an overbalanced formation and there was the option of the bubble pass that Dustin tried to throw and Garrett Graham was streaking down the middle of the field open. Bottom line-we'd love to have that play back, but it was something we were excited to get into the bowl game and run."

On if trying a play such as the quad set takes away from who Wisconsin is and what it wanted to do in the game:

"Last year, we had a certain series that we wanted to run but a certain player got injured beforehand and that was really the only wrinkle, formation-wise, for the day. Everything else was status quo. If it was a different result, everyone would be saying what a great formation it was, but obviously it didn't."

On the two instances where the defense had chance to make stops:

"Anytime you're in third down, you want to get off the field. One of those was actually an incomplete pass, but we were offsides upfront and bottom line on the third down where it was 14 or 15 on the deep dig was a big play. Hats off to their defense. They were successful several times on third down and that's a huge factor in the game."

Thoughts on FSU's speed and its ability to rise up when they needed to:

"My hat goes off to Florida State. I thought they did a tremendous job today. In the third and fourth quarter their defense capitalized on a few turnovers. In the first one of the game to be able to turn that into a touchdown and then the play later in the game that was huge momentum swing. We just weren't able to get those guys down when they made certain plays. Their speed is what it is but bottom line you've got to be able to make plays."

On if the results of this team don't match it's performance level:

"I thought our guys prepared very, very hard and to be where they were in the third quarter. At halftime to be down 14-3 wasn't a reflection of how the game was going. It was a huge 14-point swing. The behind the back pass that was a turned into a lateral score was a huge huge play. To put our defense back out there and have them score a touchdown was disheartening to our guys, but they knew at halftime they were right in the middle of it. I think our guys played at a level that unfortunately this record wont indicate, but we're a 7-6 football team anyway you cut it."

On having three timeouts left with 1:30 left in the first half:

"We felt really good about our punt return. A key factor for them was their punter is phenomenal football player. He drove David deep and obviously we don't want to catch the ball. He caught David going back far and we thought we had a return on the right that got us bad field position and that made us run the ball on first down then we had an incomplete pass that put our defense in a tough spot. We wanted to be aggressive, we'd been moving the football on them and we wanted to capitalize and try to score points before the half.

On what Wisconsin can learn from this game:

"All the things that went wrong you have to understand why they happened and how they happened and be able to correct them. As coaches we have to be more disciplined of the basic fundamentals such as the execution of a certain block, route or pass protection. We have to be sound with what were doing and can't give away plays with poor execution. Every play matters, that was really stressed during our preparation. I thought the play in the third quarter was going to be a huge momentum swing for us and unfortunately we weren't able to come up with it. We're looking at a 14-6 ballgame and we got the ball on the 20 yard line, we just weren't able to recover from it and get off the field on third down."

On recruiting and stocking the roster with players from Wisconsin:

"The most productive players and the highest percentage of players that we recruit and bring in and have high productivity are from Wisconsin. We'd love every player on our roster to be from the state of Wisconsin to be honest, but we can't fill up our scholarship numbers, there just are enough division one football players to put us at the point. I don't think it makes it anymore difficult for us. We've done a great job of identifying our class for this year and feel very good about where we are right now and we'll finish it up with additional guys down the stretch. The part that stands out as I've been here at Wisconsin and going back to Coach Alvarez's time is that the players we bring in from the state of Wisconsin are very productive."

On the guys returning next year and the pieces in place for next season:

"At a 7-6 football team we need to move forward. This team did put themselves in a very good position at very good bowl game. To be in Florida for the fifth year in a row, there's a lot of teams in our conference that would like to be able to say that they've gone to seven straight bowl games, but the bottom line is that we expect things to be higher at Wisconsin. We lose a lot of good football players. We lose 17 seniors that have played a lot of football for us, up front defensive line is going to be a key position for us, the development of certain guys at the wide receiver and tight end because we were banged up at the offensive line we were able to get some guys in there on some reps and when we made the change and Dustin was able to get experience at the quarterback position. The part that I have to do as a coach now is do as much as I can to help my seniors move on to their dreams of the future but get ready to go into spring ball with the guys I have returning to be as good as they can be. It's a difficult task because of the way the season ended but because of the kids we have they probably have a better focus then we've had before here at Wisconsin."

Wisconsin quarterback Dustin Sherer

On the factor of field position in tonight's game:

"It's frustrating, but we did it to ourselves. We could never get the ball moving and we gave them a short field and they could punt us and pin us deep. Obviously it's not easy. We got in there a couple times and just kept shooting ourselves in the foot. You can't win ball games that way."

Thoughts on tonight's game and heading into next season:

"I was disappointed with everything. I knew going into it that they were going to put nine guys in the box and stop our run and that's what people have tried to do to us all year. I just have to move on from it and try to learn from it and carry it with me throughout the summer and move forward with everything."

On the quad-set play:

"I did the wrong thing in that play. We went out there and lined up in it. They weren't adjusted to it on that side and I was trying to throw it out there. They were over a bit on the right and tipped it, which was the lateral. If I could do it again I would throw a touchdown to Garrett and it would've been a whole different ballgame. That's on me and something that I'll learn from."

On the speed of Florida State and their ability to rise up when they needed to…

"We knew they were fast. Their defensive line did a great job of getting pressure on me and there defensive backs did a great job of covering down the field. There are parts where I probably should have got the ball out and didn't. They played well and hats off to them."


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