Inside the Locker Room: South Carolina
Gary Andersen (Fleming/14)
Gary Andersen (Fleming/14)
Publisher
Posted Jan 1, 2014


Following No.19 Wisconsin's 34-24 defeat to No.8 South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl, Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen and selected players address the media.

Wisconsin Post Game

Gary Andersen and Chris Borland - Listen to Audio

Michael Caputo - Listen to Audio

Melvin Gordon - Listen to Audio

Tanner McEvoy - Listen to Audio

Joel Stave - Listen to Audio

Jack Russell - Listen to Audio

Opening Statement

COACH ANDERSEN: First of all, it was a tremendous bowl game, something that we'll all remember for the rest our lives. I know that everybody associated with this football team will have some great memories, unfortunately, we didn't win. It's done the right way, in my opinion. The football game, you know in a nutshell, I'm very proud of this group of seniors, which I have been about them the third day I got to know them. It was a long way ago. I'm very proud of those guys. There's no quit. You can't faze them. It's shown its head again and again. They just kept on fighting. So I'll forever be indebted to those kids. As far as this game goes, it's a difficult game. Football becomes really hard when you get yourself into a position where you can't throw it on offense and you can't cover them on defense.

We were going to be aggressive all day long. That was our plan. We were going to be aggressive by nature, we were and I would not change that. But obviously, we can do a better job of coaching them and we've got to make some plays, have some kids make some special plays, and special moments. They won nine games. They played their tails off every single week. The University of Wisconsin is unbelievably important to them. And, again, I'm proud of them.

Chris, as you look back on is this game, the missed opportunities, whether it's forcing a turn over or not scoring, missing things on offense, is that what we'll probably most from that prevented you from winning today?

BORLAND: I can only speak for the defense, but I thought we had great preparation and played hard. I played hard enough to win but didn't play well enough, gave up some deep balls and at times got beat by the runs. We played well but at the end of the day, it was execution. It was a lot of different things. It wasn't one thing over and over again. It's simple. You've got to play better to win than we did today.

Can you talk about just the plays that Shaw was able to make as a thrower, running, receiver?

BORLAND: We knew that coming in. He's kind of their engine and he does a great job of extending plays, he doesn’t necessarily look to scramble, but to make a throw and he hurt us on that and a couple times later in the game. He played well. We were kind of disappointed without being able to contain him better.

Gary, you had some chances early in the second half. You get a field goal and then the quick turn over on the fumble, not taking full advantage of those, is that where the game turned?

ANDERSEN: Those are huge factors when you need points out there and you end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, you can always say that's where the game turned. But I don't think there is a momentum shift where we're not playing hard. That's where the game shifts. Quite simply, they made some plays down the field in the late game and again the credit goes to South Carolina. It's a contested ball in the middle of the field, he makes a play. So I never felt like it was a shift of momentum like we were hanging on heads at all. So I would not say that.

Gary, you talked about wanting to be aggressive. Can you talk about the fake field goal and did you think you had it there in that situation or what did you see?

ANDERSEN: Well, you know, it's a long field again, 47 yards, I believe. Not the best harsh for us right now. That's why we Drew it up. The yardage was very good in favor of where we like to be in that situation. So from a coaching standpoint, we absolutely liked it. It was drawn up well, and it was executed. South Carolina covered that down. They made a play again and we didn't. So we had an opportunity there but I would not take that one back. I would do the exact same thing in that scenario.

Gary, you talked about wanting to be aggressive. How much did the injury to Joel change what you wanted to do in the fourth quarter and did you have any update on Stave?

ANDERSEN: No update on Joel [Stave]. I haven't seen him. Our offense didn't change. We expected the backup quarterback to come back and Curt [Phillips] has been in that atmosphere before in big time games. I'm sure he wanted to play better. He didn't want to throw a pick, especially with the ball security that we got. We got into scoring position a couple times and obviously didn't convert. So Curt handled it reasonably well, in my opinion and proud of that kid also.

Can you address the job done on South Carolina's wide receivers. A number of those big plays, the coverage of there but they seemed to come up with some pretty good catches.

ANDERSEN: We knew that coming in. I saw it on tape. I heard about him [Connor Shaw] from afar. He lived up to his billing. Just as impressive, I'll get to the receivers. His ability to understand pressure, even when we got him tricked, running free hitters at him. He's hard to get on the ground. He makes good decisions. He breaks out of pressures, coming from the field, the last one we scrambled and did a nice job getting down the field to get that first down. It's a veteran quarterback move. You guys don't wake up one day and decide we're going to do this. The receivers made contested catches and, they're fast. They can run. They run good routes. We knew all that coming in. But the defining moment is you have to make is on contested footballs, and that's really the identification of a talented defensive back.

They should all be able to run, change direction. But when that ball is in the air and it's contested, who's going to get it? Today South Carolina won that many times. And it's a defining moment for us and we need to understand it and get better.

Chris, you knew what Connor Shaw could do. How frustrating to know it was coming but not be able to stop it.

BORLAND: Very much. You kind of walk a fine line between being aggressive, getting after the quarterback, and containing him. Our plan was to be aggressive. And at times, we didn't get the pressure we should have and at times he was able to extend plays. That's very frustrating. We've seen it before. But we didn't play well enough to win today. I've got to give him a lot of credit. He's a great player.

Gary, you said before you didn't throw well enough. When it comes to throwing the ball, what went into not throwing enough and it what was same old, same old for most of the season?

ANDERSEN: I agree. There was a couple throws we did early. We had 150 yards, 149 yards at half time. That closed off a little bit. But in just overall general speaking terms, again, they did a nice job on Jared [Abbrederis]. He was taken out of the pass game. Unless you want to throw, you're not going to get over the top on these guys, and they made that very clear very early. They were physical on the line of scrimmage. We got a couple of them, but in the end, I don't have all the answers. If we had all the answers, we would have done it differently and thrown the ball better all year long, but we have to if we're going to take the next step as a program. I know that, and that's all that's involved, from the offensive line all the way to me, and everybody in between.

Gary, what play did Joel get hurt on? Also, on the interception was Joel just trying to throw the ball away?

ANDERSEN: As far as when he got hurt, I do not know for sure. I'm assuming it was when he got hit and then it just kind of went downhill from there. He did look over to the side lines and didn't feel like he could throw the ball anymore, and that's when we obviously made the move there. As far as trying to throw the ball away on the screen, it was absolutely trying to throw the ball away on the screen and didn't work out.

Gary, you talked about not being able to run the ball well in the first half but not the second half. On the fourth and one, the guy came unblocked from the side. Is that an unblocked guy or was that a missed assignment?

ANDERSEN: There was a blocking scheme and he should have been blocked on that play, from what I understood on the headsets. I'm not the offensive guru, but I did hear it on the headsets that we probably had a missed assignment there and away way go.

Chris, you've been around a while. What does this program have to do to get over this hump and start winning some bowl games against good teams?

BORLAND: I don't know if it's one thing. We've played well in our bowl losses. I don't think today was a great performance. But it's not due to a lack of preparation or effort. We played hard. We prepared well. I'm not sure. I'd like to send the seniors out a better way but I can't put my finger on exactly what we need to do better other than execute generally.

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