Inside the Locker Room: BYU

Jacob Pedersen hauls in a 24-yd pass (Moebius/13)

Following a 27-17 win over BYU at Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen and selected players address the media.

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Wisconsin Football

Chris Borland -

Jordan Fredrick -

Ryan Groy -

Tanner McEvoy -

Jacob Pedersen -

Joel Stave -

James White -

Gary Andersen Transcript

ANDERSEN: It's a great win. The kids played extremely hard. I thought that was maybe overall our best team victory of the season as far as just every aspect of the game -- offense, defense, special teams -- being a factor in a positive way.

And it's never perfect, but we knew this was going to be a battle. We knew it was going to be physical. I appreciate the kids listening to me and understanding when I talked to them about the toughness of the team that was walking in here. That's a tough team. They'll be tough every week. They'll be tough every year.

A lot of respect for BYU. It was great to beat them. So away we go.

Proud of this football program and the way they handled themselves and the way they took care of business this week.

QUESTION: Gary, I know you always salute the players when they make plays, but can you talk about the defensive game plan that was devised to, especially contain (Taysom) Hill and that offense in general?

ANDERSEN: Absolutely. I thought they did a nice job as a staff. Dave (Aranda) and his staff, they were highly worried walking into this game, but if you look at it and some different things that took place you know, Dez (Southward) moves out to corner, Nate Hammon moves out and has to play (Mitch) Mathews a lot in some man to man situations. Those are matchups that you look at on film and you prepare and study like crazy and then put the kids in position with the game play you think will work.

I thought our pressure on the quarterback was good. The adjustments were good. We were able to get Chris (Borland) freed up a little bit on some rushes. Our pass rush in the second half wasn't quite as good.

The other thing is the game plan as far as handling the pace. The pace was a nonfactor, and that was huge for us. So there wasn't confusion. There wasn't guys running around and looking to see what was going to happen and where we were going.

So the coaches did a nice job. Like I talked about earlier, it's got to go from the coordinator it's got to go personnel group to the coordinator, onto the field to the kids, and they've got to make their calls and get themselves lined up, and they did that in a timely manner the whole day long.

So coaches did a great job, and the kids executed.

QUESTION: Gary, to what degree did you personally reach out to your Utah connections to prepare for this game?

ANDERSEN: You know, not a lot. I talked to Kyle a little bit this week, Kyle Whittingham, the head coach at Utah, spent a little time with him. I'm sure Coach Aranda reached out and talked to a few different people.

It's kind of the film at this point. There's so many game films that you get to look at now that you kind of know who people are.

QUESTION: You talked about James White's performance last week at Iowa. Were there some similarities in this one? There weren't a lot of big plays, but it looked like he made some plays here and there, both as a receiver, runner, picking up blitzes a couple of times.

ANDERSEN: Yeah, I was going to say the first thing I'll say about James, everybody sees him on the ball, everybody sees him scoring those big touchdowns, trust me, those are tremendous plays. But there was one play in the game that was a corner blitz. Corner was free off the edge. There's no way Joel (Stave) gets that ball off.

Joel's turned -- his back is turned, and he's cocked and ready to throw the ball. It was a big play. I can't remember exactly how many yards it got, if it was third down or what it was, but it was a big play, and we got a completed pass.

James scanned it, came back, looked across the protection and bumped the corner right off. Those plays are huge plays. At that point in the game, we ended up scoring on that drive. So it was good.

He's playing very well at a high level. And then the other one he popped was a lot like the Iowa run. You thought, okay, it's third and two. Looks like he got the first down. Next time you look up, he's in the end zone doing that little dance they do. I love that dance.

But it's James is playing very, very well, at a high level.

QUESTION: What did you like specifically about the matchup with Dez at corner on Number 2?

ANDERSEN: (Cody) Hoffman is so physical, and Mathews is too. You've got to have some length to be able to stay with them. Those contested balls they get up there and they caught a great contested ball on the fade in the second half. I don't know what else you can tell Dez to do really in that situation. He got a little bit beat off the line or what have you, but I thought he covered him well.

It was just clearly matchups, allowing our kids to be able to get physical with them at the line of scrimmage. We felt like we could gain an advantage pre snap, and hopefully our rush would take off and make the fade balls be difficult. It's kind of the essence of man coverage, if you will, is to disrupt and take offense out of their comfort zones.

QUESTION: Gary, is James the most complete back you've been around, and are you talking about the blitz pickup on the two minute drill? Is that the one you're referring to?

ANDERSEN: You know what, I'm so dazed right now, my mind is all over the place going through there. I don't know which one it was, but he had a bunch of them.

You know what, James is. I would agree with that. His ability to block and be physical, his ability to be our downhill runner, have some speed on the outside, and catch the football is a very unique package, and he can do all that stuff very well.

QUESTION: One more about James. How much do you attribute just to the urgency of being a senior, his kind of time here is winding down, the way he's performing the last few weeks?

ANDERSEN: A lot of things are important to James. That's a big part of it. He loves Wisconsin. He loves his teammates, there's no doubt about it. He does see that you know, the time ticking on him day by day. It gives kids a little bit of an edge, especially when you're a senior.

I know it sure did for me when I was playing, and I know these kids, they want to be together for a long time. So I'm sure that fuels his fire.

But he has a big desire to play at the next level, and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with talking about that, and that's my goal, and that's where I want to be, and he's got to play well to have that opportunity.

So a lot of things drive James, but the number one thing that drives him is the University of Wisconsin and getting victories with his teammates, I promise you that.

QUESTION: Gary, did you sense any sort of emotional lift from having Tyler Dippel back?

ANDERSEN: You know, Tyler was able to get in front of the kids prior to, in the locker room, when we left. I would bet that was a little edge. Gave me an edge. Not that that matters on game day for me, whether I have an edge or not too much.

But the edge that our kids have, they seem to be prepared every week. They were ready. It was good for them to see Tyler.

When we go for our team walk in the morning, Tyler was our, what we call our post. He was our first guy that every kid on the team got to shake his hand, and that was just a way to welcome him back and say, Let's go.

I think this was great for Tyler to be able to go out and compete and then have an evening with his teammates will be great.

QUESTION: When did he get back into town, and was there any question in your mind or his whether or not he was going to be able to go?

ANDERSEN: Late last night, 8:30 ish, I would say, around there, when I got a text back from him. No doubt in my mind he'd be able to play limited.

Pat Muldoon took the little playbook with him and his iPad with him, and they studied some film and got themselves where they needed to be. I know Tyler did that on the flight over here, and he got the game plan in his mind. If anybody can come in and do that, it would be that group of defensive linemen because they'll study it like crazy and get ready.

QUESTION: Clearly, Wisconsin and BYU aren't rivals, but considering your past, does this game, this win mean any more to you?

ANDERSEN: Yeah, I can't say it doesn't. It's a big victory when you grow up and that's that's the team that you're not supposed to like from the time that you're whenever you start learning things.

We all know I've got great respect for BYU. I can't say I dislike them. I don't. It's a competitive team, and it's a big win for us.

University of Wisconsin gets seven wins, improves our opportunity to have an opportunity to be a great team, and we're still working down those lines to get there. We've got to keep on fighting to get ready for next week.

QUESTION: Gary, the other day, when we were talking to Dave Aranda about a red zone defense, you were talking about how teams like to go side to side when they get closer. There was a third down play, you guys were up 7 0, looked like Tyler (Dippel) flushed the quarterback, and (Michael) Caputo came up and closed on him and resulted in an incompletion. Can you address the importance of that, getting that stop, and holding them to a field goal instead of a touchdown?

ANDERSEN: Our red zone defense, they really have an attitude when they get out there. Plays like that have been made. You go back to the Iowa game and you go to this game tonight and allow those guys to get in there and kick a field goal, they're huge momentum swings.

The defense, it's not what they want at the end. They want zero points. But if you can walk out, once you get into the red zone, the gear shifts. If you can get them to kick a field goal, it's job well done. That is the bottom line. They've done a good job with that.

They didn't like giving that one up there at the end. That was a little disheartening for them, but they're solid, they're salty down there. And I've been around some defenses in the past that may not have that belief. They get down in the red zone, and it's like, ‘Oh, man, the field is short.'

The fact of the matter is it's hard for people to score down there if you play solid D.

QUESTION: BYU seemed to do a pretty good job of limiting Melvin's explosiveness. Is he at full strength?

ANDERSEN: Yeah, he is. Yeah, I think Melvin, he's good in practice, looks fast and clean. Those kids on BYU, they're fast, they can run, and they're good tacklers.

QUESTION: Gary, you said the players were a little bit disheartened on the last score. Is there any disappointment on any level about having scratch and claw on a game you looked like you could have put away a little earlier?

ANDERSEN: None whatsoever. I think we were in a good spot, and you play a good team, you're going to have to grind like crazy to get the victories at the end.

The one drive, would you like to have it back? Always. But we won. So that's all that matters. 7 2, baby.

QUESTION: It seemed like Joel had a chance for a couple of touchdown passes. What did you see in his performance?

ANDERSEN: You know, he'd love to have the one back, obviously, which we all saw. Overall, Joel seemed to have pretty good poise in the pocket, made some big throws.

The touchdown throw he had at the end of the second quarter was huge. Looked around, scoured the field. Trust me, that's not his first, second, or third look, and that throw, he checked the ball down and scored a touchdown to James. That was a big time play.

But Joel is, again, checking the run game. He's managing the game. And I don't think you can underestimate those words. Managing the game is very important for our offense and always will be. He's handling it well.

So you always want to dissect the quarterback and look for perfection. That's never going to happen in any position. He's getting better every week.

QUESTION: Gary, what's your message to the team as you guys get back to Big Ten play this week with Indiana? The goals that are still out there for you guys.

ANDERSEN: No real message, just business as usual. The biggest message I keep sharing with them is now everything we do is three guarantees left, and we'll get to that bowl game and have fun when we get to the opportunity.

But in a regular season right now, we're sitting in the Big Ten, we're 4 1, and we have some we have the ability to do some special things and have a special record in the Big Ten, but that's all out there. Three games left. We'll see what happens.

QUESTION: Could you talk about Chris Borland coming back and what it meant to this team and how his performance really helped out the production on defense.

ANDERSEN: Yeah, well, you can see his plays. When he flies around there, he smacked some guys pretty good today, and he plays with such a high level of intensity and a want to. There's just a little bit extra when Chris is out there on the field as far as leadership.

The thing I like about this defense is I can't say this defense is waiting for Chris Borland to make plays, which is good to see. Chris is he'll get his what did he have? 13 tackles today or whatever it was. He's made some great plays and will continue to do that.

This defense is very happy to have him out there, and I am too. It's nice to see him running around out there again.

QUESTION: Gary, you said there would be no special message after this game. Do you think they've handled their business since the Ohio State game? Not worried about they've been asked about the BCS, they've been asked about the Big Ten Championship, but it seems like they haven't worried about that.

ANDERSEN: No, I don't think they're worried about that one bit. All that stuff, it's not in your control. Why worry about things that you can't control? Just get ready, prepare, and all we can control is the next opponent, and do a good job on Saturdays, and take care of ourselves as a football team.

They've got enough to worry about if they worry about themselves socially, academically, and then athletically. Those kids have plenty to worry about. They don't need to worry about some poll.

QUESTION: All three of your scoring drives in the first half were 11 plays, over 60 yards. How important was it for you to sustain some long drives and put some points on the board, keeping their offense off the field?

ANDERSEN: It was huge. I haven't looked at the stats to see the overall time of possession. It was good for us to be able to continually drive the ball.

Probably one of the best things you could say about the offense today is you didn't have a bunch of negative plays. There was some, obviously, and a sack here or a run here, whatever it may have been, but for the most part, BYU thrives on that type of defense, making the big plays behind the line of scrimmage. They thrive on turnovers.

We were able to handle that for the most part and keep the game within our control so they don't get in a feeding frenzy, and that's the type of defense they played for years and years, and that's how I believe our defense is built too. You want those kids to feel like that on defense. I don't think we ever let them get completely settled.

QUESTION: Gary, seeing how the plays that Tanner McEvoy is playing, do you still have him in your quarterback picture going forward after this season?

ANDERSEN: I haven't even thought about that. He's a safety next week, and we'll move on from there. I don't know about that one.

QUESTION: Do you feel comfortable with the way Jack Russell is now hitting the ball. He had the one that was wiped out last week, but he got his first two today.

ANDERSEN: Yeah, I thought after the first PAT, he really started getting the ball up even better and seemed to strike it pretty well today.

I'm proud of those crew of specialists. They're having some success. It's good to see. It's fun to see it. It's fun to see the support they have of each other. Kyle's out there supporting Jack now, and they're all working as a unit. Good for them. It's good to see.

QUESTION: Can you talk about Caputo's role in stopping Hill, particularly some of the quarterback runs?

ANDERSEN: They get in the quarterback runs, they go plus one on you really quick. You're back there in a four wide receiver set, and you've got the offensive line sitting there and the running back in the backfield wants to go be a lead blocker, you don't have a plus one in the box unless you cheat that safety down there real quick. That's what Michael did today. I thought he was very physical, for the most part, on his tackles.

That kid will throw it in there. You want to talk about tough, physical, want to, care factor, it's all rolled up into one with that man. He's in a position to where it's great to see him have success.

He's also very smart. He gets things lined up. He did everything today. He blitzed. He played the post. He played man to man coverage, you name it. He was everywhere.

QUESTION: Gary, back to McEvoy, if you don't mind. Do you think that might have been his most complete performance, with your big play, the pick early, and just flying around, it seemed like?

ANDERSEN: Yeah he seemed to it's just to get a little more comfortable, I think, every week with him. That was a big play. I hope he would have got the pick because it was like it was lobbed up in a softball game, so hit it out of the park. He got that one. He made that play.

He's also made some more physical. I think he's becoming more confident in the post. I think he's getting more confident in breaking his angles and reading the quarterback's eyes, and he's getting more confident in his tackling ability.

So he's improving, and he has enough games underneath his belt now where there's really no excuse for him not to play well. Recommended Stories

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