Andersen Expects Borland to Play

Chris Borland (USA Today Sports)

Senior linebacker Chris Borland likely would have missed last weekend if No.24 Wisconsin had a game. Now coming off its second bye week of the season, Wisconsin and head coach Gary Andersen, who addressed the media Monday, will proceed cautiously with UW's defensive leader.

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Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen's Monday transcript

Q. Injury update do you expect Borland to be able to practice and play this week or what's his status?

COACH: We'll see when we get out there I expect him to play, yes. Practice will be careful. We'll continually watch him and monitor him as it goes. Trainers have done a great job as far as getting to this point Chris has done a great job. Obviously it's not an injury that's foreign to him. He's been through this before. A couple of times with where he sits and I think he'll get back as soon as he can, but I'm very optimistic that he'll play in the game.

Q. Did you get a chance to watch college football this week and if so who impressed you?

COACH: Probably more than my wife wanted me the list of honey dos was big on Saturday but I got through most of them before the game started. I found myself really watching the Big Ten games and I watched the Northwestern Iowa combAm basically from start to end and it was a very good game which you all know and watched the Ohio State game, watched most of that game, they were impressive, obviously for what the way they played. No one else really jumps at me to say they were impressive. I just want to sit back and be a fan for a day and enjoyed it. So it was good. Tailgated a little bit in my kitchen by myself had a good tailgate party. Me and the dogs. hung out. It was a good day.

Q. Do you find yourself getting into coach mode while watching the game?

COACH: No. Absolutely not. I'm not there to make decisions or anything like that, just kind of be a fan and I do say that you can, you get those moments where it's crunch time and you kind of look back and watch other coaches make decisions, there's always room to learn and there's decisions that are made that can possibly help you down the road. But I don't study it as I'm looking at this to hopefully make me a better coach necessarily. But sometimes those opportunities present themselves as you go through games.

Q. With Iowa, what's it like to maybe create or reignite this regional rivalry in going forward?

COACH: I think our kids are excited about the opportunity. I know we are. The past, just listening to them going into the stadium listening to coach Alvarez talk about past games when he was obviously the head coach and the battles that they had in the past with Iowa. So it goes way back and a lot of our kids have played against Iowa. It's been a couple of years since they have, but it's been, it's gone back and forth and been very physical and I expect nothing different. So our kids have great respect for Iowa. I'm sure Iowa's in the same boat and they know that they're going to have to put their best foot forward to win on both sides.

Q. Iowa has had a long tradition of side linebackering what impressed you about Morris and Kitchens?

COACH: Any good defense, linebacker starts up front. I'm impressed with the way the front line plays if we single out the linebackers and talk about them. They're in command of the defense, do a nice job directing traffic and you can see it on tape and their knowledge of the game is very good. That means they're coached good and that means they're taking the coaching and they're very talented athletes involved in plays that are there. Rarely see them get out-athleted or miss a tackle in position when they have a great opportunity to do it. Very solid and as far as their zone drops go within their defense. So they're stout, tough linebackers who carry themselves with the presence of viking football and they like physical football they're smart. They make very good decisions.

Q. They lead the nation in punt returns and you guys have done a good job coverage. I think part of it is the rugby kick for Meyer. Is that your idea or Jeff?

COACH: Jeff likes it as a mixer. Great opportunity to keep people on their toes. Give them one more thing to practice (. It is a good weapon. But Jeff takes care of that. They've been very good in their punt return game obviously the numbers would speak, that speak for that and I know coach said a few weeks ago they were going to go safe mode. I hope they continue to do that down the road but they've got some gifted kids back there.

Q. With Borland's injury and this five game stretch, this second bye come at a really opportune time for you guys, and also do you like having that second week to prepare for one opponent?

COACH: As far as the timing of the bye, you always are going to take it and make the best of it. Just exactly like schedule when the schedule comes out the first of the year it is what it is and you take the schedule and make the best of it. But this one with Chris's specifically looking in that area he would not have played last Saturday. So came at a great time for Chris because I know how much it means to him and how much it means for him to have us on the field. But to single out Chris ( missing a Big Ten game is big for Chris and he basically missed the Illinois game already. He doesn't want that to happen. Neither do we.

For him, as a person, and as a kid, it's great to have the bye when it came in. For our football team we took advantage of it tried to get our legs underneath us much as possible. And the two byes it doesn't bother me. We've had it for a number of years. The guys with me for years, I don't remember the last time we had this one bye but the last we've had a couple and some have come at the beginning and some come way late in the year and the rest in the middle. So it's okay. It is what it is. And can't worry about that stuff when the schedule comes out. You just deal with them and move onward.

Q. Ethan Armstrong, has he been a good fitness outside, do you think?

COACH: Yes, for a lot of reasons. The way he handles himself day in, day out his ability in a week like this to potentially walk in and have to play some inside linebacker if Chris was unable to play, he's very versatile. He's the first kid to walk up to me I think it was last week, Tuesday, came up and said coach do you think I need to keep an eye on the inside backer stuff this week just to be careful in case Chris isn't able to play. And so he's always thinking ahead. But he's a very good fit. I think he's had a good year. It's been good for him. Talked to him today. He said he felt fresh. He's felt as good as he's felt all year long which is a credit to him taking care of his body the trainers and Evan Simon and the coach, strength coach is doing a great job getting him moving in the right direction. So Ethan's a great kid. I've said it many times, great football player. Glad he's on our team.

Q. The first three road games are obviously at night. This one in the morning. What are some of the different challenges or do you think advantages of starting in the morning as opposed to night on the road?

COACH: The advantages are simple and clean. For coaches you don't have to go through ten or 11 hours of misery as you sit there and watch everybody else play you get to wake up and go play, which is nice. Our Holt, from what I understand, is 45 minutes away from the stadium. So we're going to get up early and play. It's a 11:00 kick. Early rising team. We're up this morning and had early morning meetings with the kids. So I don't think that will be a factor. But waking up, eating breakfast, going for our team walk and then coming back and getting on a bus, that's always something you gotta think about, we'll try to have a little information for them that they can watch as they move on down the road for 45 or 50 minutes. But I'm glad the kickoff is at 11. I think it will be good for our kids.

Q. What can you do or have you done to kind of shore up the back end and get more consistency back there?

COACH: A mixture of some different styles of zones. Nothing drastic changed schematically. But the grasp of the difficult situations that we've got into, a couple of times that are just by scheme. And that's going to happen. Some zone coverages are hard and other zone coverages when you're in certain positions with number of receivers with the route structure coming at you. We tried to give them the most challenging route procedures they can and make sure they understand that.

The other thing that's important when dealing with young kids you're not going to make every play back there. The other team has good players too. They have good coaches too and they draw things up that work very well and the kids execute them. When you do give up a play, you gotta move on to the next play and be prepared.

So all those kind of encompassing and I've said it before, we have two very good coaches coaching in the back end with Coach Strick And Busch players that are eager and excited and care factor is high and we know it's a little bit of an issue for us and we need to continue to work. And it all starts with the coaches and filter down to the kids. I'm excited to see them get out and play as get a few more practices underneath our belt.

Q. Could you describe to us what a beehive boot is and what is a beehive boot game bigger, the same as the wagon wheel?

COACH: Depends on who you're talking to. If you're talking to Utah State, they're both huge. The beehive boot is it's a boot. Big boot in a glass cover, and you play for it and the winner of the state gets it. So whoever wins the best whatever best record is between the three schools has it. And it was really important for us at Utah State because that boot had not been in Logan for a long time before we were able to get it back.

And took a lot of pride in that. The old wagon wheel, it's a big old wagon wheel. I don't know all the ins and outs of it. It's big and heavy. Roll it in and out of the stadium when you bring it in there. And it was for the BYU Utah state game, exclusively. And I don't know if it's true but our equipment guy, after we beat BYU a few years ago, fortunate enough to get that done, we had to go down and get it. It had been a long time. I don't know if BYU, I don't know if you can find the AD but they found it in the back room and we gladly transported it back to Logan with a lot of pride.

Q. The championship game, with all the carrots that come at the end of the season do the rivalries mean as much to players, do you believe?

COACH: I do. I think it means a lot. And you sit there and you look at that trophy, it's either a trophy case with a trophy in it or a trophy case that's empty. And you either hope to hold onto it or hoping to get it back. So it does matter to kids and it's something these kids talked about it all last week, and they understand it and it does give a little bit extra edge. And I think it's important for the fans. It's college football. That's why college football is so special because it has the extra added rivalries and the team that doesn't play so well gets into some of these games at some point and plays very well because maybe they have a little extra edge because they're fighting for something different. Recommended Stories

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