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Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen
It was a great game. It was a
big-ten football game as best of what I know of it and what I
envisioned of it. It was a great crowd, a great place to play.
Our kids were unbelievable. They faced a lot of adversity prior
to the game, they faced a lot of adversity during the game, and
they kept on battling, and fighting and found a way to get the
victory at the end, so I'm very proud of them. Iowa played very
good. It was a very good football team we played, and we were
fortunate enough in the end to make the plays to win it, so it
James White, I believe, had a very impressive game.
Everybody wants to look at yards per carry and everything that
was there, but it was tough sledding against a very good
defense, and he kept pounding away the whole football game and
was very, very consistent and broke the runs at the end of the
game to seal the deal for us. In my mind, he's for sure the
offensive player of the game for his toughness and his want to,
and being able to make the plays when they came late in that
Defensively, we played very well. Throughout it was great
to see them Beau up. Without Chris being in there, Marcus came
in and did a good job, Tyler wasn't with us, so that upped the
reps of Pat Muldoon and Ethan Hemer and those other
defensive end type kids and they played very well.
Got a lot of work to do. It's a great victory to get it on
the road and look forward to starting up this week. Get the
kids in here today. It's going to be great to come back home.
Very excited about the opportunity to come back and be in camp
Randall again. It seems like forever since we've been here.
Hope everybody comes out and supports these kids. We've got
three more opportunities left this month and forever for this
team to come and play in camp Randall. So they're excited about
that opportunity. I promise you, I hope you're as excited as we
are as a football team to come back and fill that place up like
always and make it a very intimidating place to play.
We're playing a very good team in BYU. They're on a role.
They've gotten progressively better. They've beaten very good
teams this year, and it's an opponent that a lot of people on
this staff know fairly well. The kids not necessarily on the
team haven't played them. But this is a good team we’re
playing. Quarterback driven on the offensive side of the ball
without question. He has continually gotten better and better
as the year goes on and from a year ago. He had an injury, but
he's come back and played well. They have good weapons
defensively. The Van Hoy kid is a good linebacker. He's one of
the top linebackers in the country. So we all know where the
top linebacker in the country plays football, that is right here in our own backyard. But he's very talented, and you have to
account for him every snap.
Q. It seems every week is a non-conference game. A new
challenge. Is it refreshing to play a team you have some
history with, that you know a little bit about? How different
are they compared to what you've been used to the last couple of
COACH ANDERSEN: Having BYU on the schedule was probably
one of the most shocking things that I looked at when I took
this job. It's amazing. They follow me all the way here. It's
a great challenge to play them. How different are they from the
way they've been in the past the last couple of years. It's typical BYU. They'll take their besters
and put them in position to make plays. That's absolutely no
surprise. The way they play, the physicality they bring to the
game, the love of football, you'll see it, they love playing the
game and a lot of things I stand for in coaching and a lot of
the kids play that way. Their best players will be in spots to
make plays for them on Saturday.
Q. I think you've been asked about Nate Hammon before
but not for quite some time. I know you guys moved him to
safety to get speed in there. But it looked like he was
willing to stick his nose in there and get dirty on that 4th and
1 play. How has he progressed since you guys made that move?
COACH ANDERSEN: He's continually moving upward in probably
faster than anticipated by myself. I said this before, I think
coach bush does a tremendous job CHK of taking kids that are
athletic, and have a care factor and love and want to for the
game of football and putting them in safety and allowing them to
grow and develop. The bottom line is Nate's bought into that.
He's really developed and continues to do that.
But you're right. His ability to go get physical when he
hasn't spent his whole football career tackling people, that’s
impressive. It shows his toughness and care factor and his want
to, and he's made plays and had a big sack against Northwestern
and he's involved in some big plays that he makes on his own.
His involvement in special teams has continually gotten better
and better. It's impressive. So he's, like I always said, I'm
glad he's on our team.
Q. Some of us remember the BYU and Lavell Edwards cutting
edge passing game, and tied those guys as they led the nation in
passing every year. When did that change and how did that
COACH ANDERSEN: I think that BYU has known all the way
through coach Edward when's there were great teams of throwing
the ball. I don't know when it really flip-flopped and changed.
Even back then they had some very, very good running backs, and
they were pass first, but they've developed. They've been very
balanced over the last few years. Back a few years ago they ran
speed option, and load option, and it's a credit to their
program how they've evolved. Now they have an athletic
quarterback who can do a lot of things for them, and he's tough
to deal with and tough to tackle. They're going to focus on him
and highlight on him on the offensive side of the ball. It's
always been a program that's based on the good fundamentals of
football and use your best kids. I don't know when the
departure was from the throw, the complete throw to be in
balance. But they seem to always be good. They get
players and they're tough-minded young men.
Q. What's impressed you most about Vince Biegel,
and what he's doing this season? And what you think there will
be some added motivation to perform given his family history
COACH ANDERSEN: Yeah, pops playing there, I'm sure that's
added motivation. Rocky was a good player there. Vince is
excited about the opportunity. I'm sure I saw him this morning.
He was excited. But Vince is excited. I think he's more
excited like the rest of our kids to be able to come back home
to Cam Randle and play regardless of the opponent. But there
may be a little extra family added incentive there for him.
He's playing well, and I think you're going to see him playing
more in these last four games getting involved in the defense.
He's doing a great job on special teams.
Q. What are some of the challenges with their pace and
tempo that they play with on offense? Does it compare to any of
the other tempo teams you've faced?
COACH ANDERSEN: They are fast they pace you like crazy is it
different than Arizona State? It's
not always pedal to the medal every snap. It's on and off back
and forth a little bit you watch the themes they play, they get
physically tired and BYU does a lot of great plays and there are
a lot of missed tackles in the games especially late in drives.
When you look at pace offense, in my opinion, you need
evaluate those, get to snaps six, seven, eight, nine, ten and so
on. And that's when you see more big plays come out of the
offense because you see a tired defense or defense that doesn't
get aligned. Those are the challenges that come with pace. Our
crowd can do a lot. I know they will and they will do a lot to
hamper BYUs opportunities to play as fast as they want because
it gets loud, and it's hard for them to be able to get the
communication that they normally get from the snap count, to get
in personnel on the field, to the communication that verbally
has to take place a loud crowd causes problems with pace. And
I'm sure we'll be all jacked up to try to take him out of the
game or at least give us a little bit of an advantage there at
Q. Are you a fan of playing a non-conference opponent in
the middle of the season?
COACH ANDERSEN: You've got to take games where you can get
games. I don't think there are a bunch of people in the country
when they get the phone call about playing Wisconsin that they
jump out of their skin and say we can't wait to do that and come
to camp Randle. We'll take the game, and play it CHK, and it
gives us an opportunity to get seven wins on the season which
would be a huge step.
Q. A little removed from the Iowa game, do you have a
better idea on how some of the guys that were injured what their
status is? Also, do you anticipate that Dippel will be back
here this week, and whether he will play or where he stands
COACH ANDERSEN: Yeah, Tyler's situation is still
completely up in the air. I would say, you know, unlikely at
this point our concern is not getting Tyler back here to play in
the football game. It's just being with Tyler and helping him
get through the situation he's involved in. Football is a
distant second in my opinion right now. I'm sure it is,
and it should be in Tyler's mindset. It's just getting him.
I'm worried about Tyler's kid and Tyler's family and Tyler
secondly and making sure he finishes up school to get his degree
and then we'll worry about football. So we'll see. As that
moves forward, the other kids will probably need another day,
day and a half to see for sure. We've made a lot of progress,
some real positive progress in a number of those kids. But I
can't say anybody's going to play for sure yet. I can't say
anybody's not going to play for sure yet because I haven't seen
him physically. It's been reported through the trainers.
Q. You came up on the losing end, is that sort of a score
you'd like to see for this type of pace there?
COACH ANDERSEN: If we win by one point, I'm all good. But
dictating pace and dictating tempo, the offense is going to
control how fast they want to be able to play. The only way you
can dictate that on defense is to be sound in your alignments
and get the calls to the kids so you don't look unorganized
presnap or when the ball snap. You'll make sure you're doing
your best to get the kids in position. The officials in the Big
Ten do an unbelievable job controlling pace or controlling
tempo. If you sub and try to go fast, they're not going to let
you. I have not seen one mistake this year with that in the Big
Ten in games that we've been involved in. That's been a huge
But the offense will dictate what they dictate. The one
way we can dictate tempo and dictate pace is to do what we do on
offense, and do it well. Run the ball, be physical up front,
and put points on the board when given the opportunity and then
play great special teams.
So we can't get into a momentum game of ups and downs. We
have to be steady-Eddie just like we were last week. Whatever
comes our way, just keep on fighting and deal with adversity.
I've never been more proud of a team as I was last week in
dealing with adversity as a team the way they did for 48 hours
before kickoff and all the way through that football game. So
we've got to keep doing that.
Q. This program over the last number of years has
produced a number of NFL worthy tight ends and elite tight ends
in college football, and Jacob Patterson's numbers are there
with the best of them. What has impressed you about him and
what he brings to the table especially with your offense?
COACH ANDERSEN: Off the field as far as preparation and
how he prepares, Jacob does a great job of being unselfish, he
doesn't count his opportunities as far as, oh, I'm not getting
enough reps. But when he gets out there, he produces. He's a
good producer, he is a good practice player. When he gets an
opportunity to make plays in the throw game, he's shown he can
make those plays. Is he the next level tight end? I don't make
those decisions. But in my book I believe he is. He's a
tremendous tight end, he blocks, he's physical, he's smart,
great hands, he'll catch the ball over the middle, and he's got
good speed, so I think he causes match-up problems at any level.
Q. You've mentioned the home card a couple times. How
good do you think the home-field advantage is here and has it
lived up to your expectations?
COACH ANDERSEN: It's unbelievable, and yes, it has
lived up to my expectations CHK. It's powerful. It can dictate
tempo. Our kids build off of it, it helps them understand where
they're at in the game, it just gives them an extra boost, if
you will to be at home. We've played against some terrific
crowds on the road. To come home and have that advantage where
you're not worrying about it all week in practice, just to know
the other team has to be able to deal with that and deal with
that adversity. Our crowd is very educated. They know when to
cheer and when to get loud, and when to do everything they can
to help us move in the right direction within that game. It's
an unbelievable crowd like I said.
Q. You've drawn a lot of positives, but for the Big Ten
to have you guys sitting where you are, Michigan State and like
that. How important is it for the conference as a whole to have
a lot of teams now playing well and entering into the
COACH ANDERSEN: Well, I think it's big for the Big Ten.
I'll say this, I haven't gone all through a full cycle, I've
done this for a few years and I don't look at myself guru
of conferences or teams or anything else, but this is one of the
best, if not the best conference in the country. People are
going to say that, and a lot of people might stick their nose up
in the air when I say that or whatever, but to me it is. You
can't say until you've been in it. You don't know what it's
like to walk out there and play against that Iowa defense with a
good offensive line. You don't know what it's like to walk into
Ohio State stadium and play. People don't know what it's like
to come to camp Randall and play.
This is a big-time conference. It's got great teams. They
bang around on each other. They beat each other up, and that is
what really good conferences do. Those conference battles.
Week-in and week-out, and you've got to be prepared to go play
these teams. I think you can see it from the teams that haven't
been successful by wins and loss records, but then you go look
at what they're doing out there on the field against each other,
and it might be the best team in the conference versus a team
that by record is not a great team, but what's happening. A lot
of those teams are going down to the last play of the game, the
last quarter, and it happens week-in and week-out. It's not
because it's not a good conference, but because it's a great
conference that people are playing that way. The Big Ten is not
recognized enough. We'll keep playing like crazy. No one in
this conference is going to back down from playing anybody, and
we never will.
Q. If Abbrederis when he's ready to go, do you think
about giving him a shot on punt returns given Kenzel’s uneven
play Saturday? Or will you do as you just said and just try to
coach them up a little bit better and get them to make better
COACH ANDERSEN: Yeah, we'll keep Kenzel back there.
He's done a great job all year long. We've had a couple get
caught in the wind. I don't know how to practice that. I don't
know how to help Kenzel in that situation. We had a
discussion with that this morning in the meeting. We can help
him with his decision making process. But we have to help him
when he has to make those decisions. Like I said after the
game, I'll look back at myself and try to create some of those
situations today in practice to help the young man. He's very
good at catching it, it matters to him. He cares a lot, and
he'll be back there doing it for us this week.
Q. As far as the BCS standings go, you guys are kind of
stagnant. What do you feel your team needs to do now to get
recognized to move up and be in contention?
COACH ANDERSEN: I couldn't even -- I have no idea where we
are in the BCS standings, I have no clue. But the best way to,
this is the -- this is what we talked about at the beginning of
the year. We talked about starting and we talked about good
teams find a way to sustain and maintain in the middle and
battle like crazy. Great teams find a way to finish, and we'll
see. We'll see if we have the ability and we'll look at
ourselves at the end of the year and say were we a good team or
a great team? We'll be a good team, but will we be great? If
we're a great team, then I believe we'll be recognized for that
at the end of the year.
But those next four games will tell us if we're going to be
a good team or a great team. That's what we talk about all the
time with the kids. Now it's finish. You've got to grind it
out and dig in right now.
Q. What impresses you most about Van Noy, and from what
you know about Borland, do you think he'll be a little extra
motivated to be on the field?
COACH ANDERSEN: I wouldn't be surprised if both those kids
will be a little extra motivated. I know this, I know Van Noy
good enough to know that he has great respect for Chris Borland,
and I know Chris Borland has great respect forVvan Noy,
obviously. He's a tremendous player. Very athletic, a great
pass-rusher, he's a great pass dropper. He plays hard. And
he's done it for years and years and years. It's a credit to
him that he came back to play his senior year at BYU. He would
have been a highly drafted kid last year, and he wanted to come
back and be a great player for BYU and finish it up with his
team there. So what I know of him, I've talked to him very
little. But he just seems to be a tremendous young man. You
know, he plays the game the right way. He's going to play fair
long, long time. He's well-rounded.
Q. You've discussed in the past your health issues at a
time during your coaching career, and that Coach Meyer’s.
Given that background when you've seen in the past week two NFL
coaches go down during a game or had their own health issues,
what does it make you think of that and the profession that
COACH ANDERSEN: I don't think it really has anything to do
with the profession. I think it has to do with us doing the
best we can in our own personal lives to take care of ourselves.
You've got, to everybody, you guys all have jobs you've got to
handle your business, yourself, and your own personal health I
was reminded in a tough way and not eat the bacon cheeseburger
and go with the chicken sandwich sometimes. It helps me. I
hope it helps me anyway, so far, so good. But it's a stressful
job. It's a grind sometimes. But you've got to step back and
don't forget how lucky you are. I've got my mom as a great
sounding board for that. She tells me all the time how lucky
you are to be where you are. Do I that every day. Early in my
career, I didn't sit back and do that enough.
Q. Getting back to the conference thing, is there a
frustration that the Big Ten doesn't get acknowledged as much as
it should. Because there is a perception that the conference is
weak, whereas in other conferences when a team gets upset, it
speaks to the depth of the conference. Is there a level of
frustration that that is the perception of the Big Ten?
COACH ANDERSEN: I haven't been in this conference long
enough to be a spokesperson in any way, shape or form for the
Big Ten. So when I say these words, I just speak them for
myself. I have tremendous respect for the Big Ten when Ied
in here, it's done nothing but grown. If I hear those things
that are out there and people say this conference is, you know,
it is whatever, third, fourth best conference or whatever you
want to talk about. But I disagree. What else can I say other
than that? Would that lead to frustration? Our teams have done
well. They've done good in a non-conference schedule. We win
some, we lose some. I think the key is you look and say you've
got to play each other week-in ask week out. And that's where
respect is gained. And somebody who hasn't played in this
conference doesn't know. If you haven't played in this
conference, you have no idea how tough these kids are. How hard
it is to go on the road and compete and play. You have no idea.
So people shouldn't make stuff up that they don't know what
they're talking about.
Q. Just experienced the Iowa rivalry for the first time
here. But I'm curious what your memories are going up against
BYU both at Utah State and as an assistant at Utah and how long
you've known Bronco?
COACH ANDERSEN: I've known Bronco very well. Bronco
actually gave me a coaching job when I was in high school. I
was coaching the Park City high school CHK. When I was out of
college when I made the decision to -- well, we don't need to
get into that. I was at Park City high school coaching and
Bronco called me out of the blue. We had competed against each
other in junior college as players when he was at snow college
and I was at Ricks. He had called me I was at Northern Arizona
and asked me if I wanted to coach the defensive line or had the
opportunity where I had nowhere to go. I didn't have a job in
college football at that point. I was hoping I could get back
in at some point.
I've grown in my time at Utah State, we've become close
coaching friends. We text back and forth quite a bit. Respect
for him. He gave me an opportunity. Those games, I've
had many great victories and many, many tough defeats. That is
the rivalry game that you play. Our goal when we went to Utah
State was to try to find a way to create a rivalry game again
against BYU and Utah State which had not been there forever and
ever. It's been lopsided games, and we were able to be
fortunate enough to win a game against them and compete at a
high level for every year we were there except probably the
first year, and create aid rivalry again in that situation.
Our friendship has grown through that rivalry. It's a
tremendous place to play. It's a great school, and they've got
good kids too. They'll represent themselves well.
Q. Was Lavell Edwards a guy you looked up to in your
coaching career too?
COACH ANDERSEN: Absolutely. Lavell, my second year at Utah
State I had lovel come in for fall camp and talk to the kids and
spend some time with them. I will never forget the first thing
lovel told me when he walked in my office, he said you have to
find a way to win at home if you're ever going to turn a program
around. That is the first thing that stuck in my brain and it's
still in there forever. He spent a day or so with me, and also
got in front of the team. He's a Utah State guy too. He's got
a lot of ties back in the day to Utah State. So he was happy to
come back. I don't think he was happy when we beat him, but he
was happy that we got Utah State moving in the right direction.
I've got a ton of respect for lovel Edwards and the relationship
that coach McBride and coach Edwards had when they were the head
coaches of Utah and BYU as a special relationship. So I grew
and watched that as an assistant and young coach. Can you still
respect your opponents, but do it classy.
Q. Can you talk more about the challenges their
quarterback Hill provides you guys and maybe how he compares
to some other athletic quarterbacks you've seen this year?
COACH ANDERSEN: Well, he'll be right up there with those
athletic quarterbacks. Just flip on the tape for the last six
games. He's done it. He was a great high school player. I
recruited him for a second, and it was Stanford and it was going
to be BYU. So I watched him for many years, since he was a
junior in high school. He's competitive. He's tough-minded.
But his feet are definitely a weapon, and he's big, and he's
strong. He runs the ball at times like a running back.
The run game is built for him within the QB run game and
the offensive line and the running backs and Robert and I with
the offensive scheme do a good job with short yardage
allowing him to get a crease and get the short yardage that they
need. But in turn he hurts you bad with his legs in scramble
situations. Can you see when he gets to the edge, they sprint
out and they dash, whatever you want to call it. They get the
quarterback to the edge of the defense with the run-throw
option. He causes people a lot of issues. He's set up some big
plays. He's a smart, smart young man. You're not going to walk
out there and say, hey, you're going to trick them. You're
going to have to earn your right against them.
Q. It looked on YouTube like you had a lot of fun at
practice last week. I'm sure a lot is done to keep it loose and
entertaining. Do you like where your team is mentally at this
stage of the season? Do those things help keep it fresh?
COACH ANDERSEN: Well, I believe it does. I think we have
to have fun playing the game of football. If you have a chance
to break it up and have some fun, I think it's important. If
that means you do something that other people might think is a
little crazy or what have you, that's a good thing to do. But
our kids enjoy that stuff. The key thing is our coaches are
involved in it, our players are involved in it. They want to
stay light hearted. It allows them to stay even keel, but,
again, you said it best, having fun this time of the year is
everything. I see some football teams play that football can
become very hard and torture ussous. It's easier when you're
winning, but still, these are rare moments in these kids lives,
and they're lucky to be representing whatever university they're
representing. In this case, these kids get to represent the
University of Wisconsin every day. They owe a lot back to the
University of Wisconsin. They better remember that. Doesn't
mean they can't have fun and be light hearted and enjoy the
experience. Because these are going to be some of the best days
of their lives. I try to let them enjoy it a little bit. It's
important. Football matters. Winning matters a lot. But
having fun and being a kid is important too.
I say that to the coaches all the time. Put a smile on
your face, man. You have the best job in America. Are you
kidding me? Let's go.
talked a lot about home-field advantage. What do you think is
the biggest factor in home-field advantage whether it's noise or
does your team play differently or fans maybe getting on the
officials or what have you?
COACH ANDERSEN: I just think it's the tradition and the
support and knowing that you're coming out of that tunnel
80,000-plus people screaming and cheering for you. It gives you
a definite advantage. There is something calming about being at
home. From the hotel, to having their parents come around and
be around them to being able to spend quality time knowing their
surroundings. There are a lot of things to playing at home that
I think are important. As soon as you say that, you're going to
go on the flip side and say that can't be a factor when you go
travel, which is true. We have the best venue in the country.
You look at it, and it's awesome. A lot of people will look and
say their place is the best, but it's the best I've been. Our
kids love it, they're excited about it. It's a great
opportunity to be able to play in camp Randall. I think our
fans are educated though. They make it difficult on the
opponent because they know how to be the fans at the right time
to help our defense or to help our offense depending who has the