Wisconsin head football coach Gary Andersen met with members of the media on Monday at Camp Randall Stadium to review the Badgers’ win over Purdue and look ahead to Saturday night’s game at Ohio State.
ANDERSEN: Excited to get started. Just a quick recap of last week. I was proud of the young men again. Did a nice job of handling the week. We played well, made some strides in all three areas: offense, defense, special teams. We’re excited to get back to it today.
Hopefully, they had a good Sunday off, and we’ll evaluate the film and move on to Ohio State. Ohio State, obviously, a great team. Done tremendous things, we all know that. However many I think it is, (16)-game winning streak. They’re a talented crew. Had an opportunity to spend some time watching them yesterday and watching them a little bit today.
What you see is solid schemes. I think they use their individuals on the team, their playmakers, if you will, in the right spots, which is always a sign of a quality coaching staff, in my opinion. They fit themselves in very well there. They’ve got a lot of athleticism.
I would say this, if you watch the tape from a year ago to now, it’s obvious that they’ve made an emphasis to recruit speed in a lot of different areas on the offensive side of the ball. They’ve got receivers that can run, catch, make plays. They do have a lot of speed there.
Running back position, obviously, they get their guy back. They’ve been very successful in running the football.
And the offense, either quarterback, it doesn’t change. It doesn’t really matter what quarterback. It seems to be the question that everybody wants to talk about, but either quarterback can run the offense. He’s been very successful running the offense and has won a lot of football games.
Very well-schooled team. They’ll be aggressive on special teams, just like we like to be. That will be an interesting match-up.
I think for their defense, they want to obviously stack up and stop the run.
So it’s two very different styles when you look at them pre-snap, but both teams want to be able to run the ball effectively and get some big plays down the field in the passing game. They have done a nice job making the big chunk plays in the throw game. They’ve been successful.
QUESTION: Gary, do you go into this preparing for both (Kenny) Guiton and Braxton (Miller) at Ohio State?
ANDERSEN: Yeah, I don’t think it matters, whoever’s in there. One guy might do this a little better than the other. But you don’t look in there and say, okay, here comes this guy or that guy or let’s expect this offense or that offense. It’s still the same offense regardless.
QUESTION: How significant is the coaching matchup between you and Urban (Meyer), given your history?
ANDERSEN: My take is that it doesn’t have anything to do with it. Obviously, Urban’s a good friend. I consider him a good friend. Who knows, maybe he doesn’t consider me a good friend.
We’ll talk. We won’t talk this week, I can guarantee you that much. It’s about the kids, and it always will be. I’m sure he would say the exact same thing. Much of our belief is always about the kids first, and he believes in putting them first. I do too.
We’d like to deflect, I’m sure, any of the talk about us and our prior coaching together, our relationship, although it’s an important relationship to me, but this is about the kids who are playing the football game.
He’s a good coach, good staff, and they’ve been on a roll for a long time, as far as winning games, obviously. So excited to have a chance to be able to compete against him.
QUESTION: You mentioned Ohio State’s speed. I know their freshman Dontre Wilson on their kickoff return is a big threat. How difficult of a test is that going to be? And what did (Andrew) Endicott do Saturday, whether it’s hang time or ball placement, that you liked on kickoffs?
ANDERSEN: They’re fast on special teams in a lot of different places. They are explosive. They’re going to take advantage of the schemes that they see. So we’ll have to kick the ball.
QUESTION: You mentioned Ohio State wanting to stack the box considering the numbers that your rushing game has put up. Is the progress of your passing game concerning at all considering what we saw on Saturday?
ANDERSEN: Well, no, we’re not hiding from the fact that, yes, we want to be able to throw the ball better, and it’s a whole offense. It’s the coaching staff. It’s myself.
QUESTION: From what you watched from last year and early this year, do you think Ohio State is the best team in the conference?
ANDERSEN: Best team in the conference? That would be impossible for me to say. I haven’t watched enough tape. I haven’t seen all the other guys play. I haven’t evaluated them from top to bottom.
If you just look at it — same thing I said in the summertime — Ohio State has a good opportunity to be No. 1, just as good an opportunity as anybody does. From the way they played last year, the way they carried themselves, the way they won games, and the way they continue to do that.
In my opinion, they’re a lot better team than they were a year ago because they’re much more skilled and they’re much faster than a year ago. It’s a dramatic difference, in my opinion. The speed on the field, for them this year, than they had a year ago.
QUESTION: Gary, Ohio State has yet to have all of it’s offensive personnel on the field. Braxton was in and out. Carlos Hyde just came back. Is it hard to fully prepare for what you’re going to see because they haven’t been all together as one on offense?
ANDERSEN: No, I don’t think so because I don’t expect to see drastic changes. They’re going to do what they do. They want to run the ball first. They want to be very effective in the play action run game. They want to have a run game that forces you to run sideways. They’re very strategic in how they teach it and how they it.
You’ll see some balls go out sideways to get you to run, get the defense tired, and they’ll come back at you and start running the ball and trying to be physical with you.
So, again, that’s coaching. That’s good coaching. It’s the way it should be done. It should be planned out in giving your kids the best opportunity to be successful. I don’t see that changing with a couple guys coming back because the guys that have been doing the job have done it very, very effectively.
These were just questions that pertain to Ohio State. For the entire press conference, click here.