Coming off a tough, close loss to No. 6 Ohio State in Columbus, Pat Fitzgerald and several players met with the media for their weekly press conference. Here’s what they had to say.
- Anthony Walker will be wearing No. 11 to honor teammates and roommate Matthew Harris, who recently retired from football.
- Clayton Thorson was offensive player of the week, Austin Carr was the big playmaker.
- Tyler Lancaster was defensive player of the week, Godwin Igwebuike was the big playmaker.
- Jared McGee was the special teams player of the week.
- Houston Texans LB Brian Peters will be honorary captain this week. Fitz said he’s still very close with Peters and very proud of him for the journey he took to the NFL.
- Fitz called Wisconsin an outstanding football team. “Picked up where they left off a year ago, probably even better.”
- Fitz on NU-Wisconsin series: “I think the games since ‘95 have been very competitive, for the most part. Great respect for their program from our end.”
- Fitz didn’t exactly call the series a rivalry, saying “I think every game in the Big Ten is a rivalry, even if you don’t play for a trophy.”
- Fitz called Wisconsin’s defense one of the best in the conference if not the country.
- Fitz had plenty of praise for LB Joe Jones, both in how he’s handled his recent fatherhood and how he’s played on the field this season.
- On John Moten: “I think he’s learning how to be a Big Ten running back, and that’s about more than getting the ball.” Compared him to a lot of young guys who probably entered this season not expecting to play much but have started to develop quickly.
- On Lancaster: “I think Tyler’s just continuing to come on. He’s in a world of double teams, a nasty world in the trenches of the Big Ten, but he continues to play at a high level.” Said Lancaster earned defensive player of the week by playing a big role in making it tough on Ohio State running the ball up the middle.
- Fitz has been really impressed by Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook.
- “We’re an average football team. We were really inconsistent on Saturday. When we don’t play with maximum fundimental effort, we give things away. There were too many plays that we gave away in all three phases.
- On Wisconsin: “They are the definition of relentless.” Heaped praise on the Badgers in all aspects of the game.
- On preparing this week: “Running out of sand in the hourglass, so we’re just gonna grind.”
Defense: Tyler Lancaster, Nate Hall
- Lancaster: “I think every QB in the Big Ten presents a different challenge.” Said the D-line may be able to take some more risks while facing a less mobile QB in Hornibrook than last week (Barrett).
- Hall: “We pride ourselves on fighting. Even in the games where we lost big last year, we fought through the end.”
- Lancaster: “There are no moral victories. We wanted to go in there and win.”
- Lancaster: “Not a lot of stats show up for me, but I’m there to do my job. Hold my gap. I get double teamed a lot and that allows the linebackers to flow over top.”
- Hall: “We as linebackers love Tyler for that.”
- Hall: “We respect what (the secondary) has to do back there. We try to help the young guys out as much as we can with communication.”
- Hall on Walker: “He does a lot more than what you guys see on the field.” Noted his importance in flim study and practice preparation.
- Lancaster on Wisconsin’s O-line: “They’re really big, but it’s a leverage game. If you can stay low, you can win the battle.”
Offense: John Moten IV, Tommy Doles
- Moten: “I definitely think I’m getting more trust from the coaches. My preparation has helped me a lot in the games.”
- Moten on what he’s learned from the older running backs: “How to read defenses, playing fast, playing strong, being aggressive.”
- Doles on O-line improvements: “I wish I could point to some magic pill that we took. It’s just doing our jobs but doing them better. Renewed focus on our technique, coaching staff has been pushing us hard.”
- Doles on Wisconsin’s defense: “It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before. It’s gonna be trusting the scheme and coming out and finishing.”
- Doles on playing OSU close after some blowout losses last year: “It shows some maturity. It’s partly Clayton and the way he’s developed. But we knew it was going to be a four-quarter fight coming into the game.”