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Pat Fitzgerald and players Week 11 press conference notes

Fitz opposes Friday Big Ten games and thinks Purdue will be a tough battle.

Pat Fitzgerald and several players met with the media on Monday for their weekly press conference. They talked the Wisconsin loss, looked ahead to Purdue, and a lot more.

Pat Fitzgerald

  • Offensive player of the week: Austin Carr, no big playmaker - Fitz credited the Badgers for limiting them to just five explosive plays.
  • Defensive player of the week: Tyler Lancaster, big playmaker: Jordan Thompson
  • Special teams player of the week: Corey Acker
  • “Three big games ahead of us, no bigger than this week against Purdue. They’ve been ahead at halftime in every game that (interim coach Gerad Parker) has coached. Impressive to watch the effort level from their guys. We know it’s going to be a battle. Both teams trying to fight for the postseason.”
  • On offense vs. Wisconsin: “We missed some wide open guys. We had guys open, Clayton missed some shots that he thought he had. Two weeks in a row we’ve had critical penalties up front. We didn’t sustain drives.”
  • “To pull off wins against top-10 teams, you’ve gotta make big plays in the kick game. We’ve been solid but we haven’t been spectacular.”
  • On Purdue QB David Blough: “I’m really impressed by David. He’s throwing the deep ball very well. Reminds me a lot of Dan Persa.”
  • On facing Blough for a second straight season: “This is going to be a different challenge this year because he’s more experienced. He’s spreading the ball around really well.”
  • On Big Ten adding Friday night games: “I believe Fridays are for high school football first and foremost. I think playing on a short week is a mistake. I'd prefer to keep Big Ten football on Saturdays. I get it, doesn't mean I like it." Said he’s concerned about players missing class time, getting hurt if they play on a short week. Said he’ll play but hopes it would be the week after a bye.
  • On lack of turnovers: “It’s a big concern. Turnover ratio is the number one correlation to victory.”
  • On Thorson bouncing back against Purdue: “He has to play the way he has most of the year and if he does that, we’ll be fine.”
  • On Robbins: “CJ, he’s special. He’s been through a lot. We asked him to move outside because we felt like we needed more size on early downs and he did that without batting an eye. He was named captain by his teammates, which is the highest honor you can have. I think he’s going to leave an amazing legacy in that room.”
  • On Scanlan: “He just approaches things with a chip on his shoulder. I’m going to enjoy the heck out of the three games I have left with him and do everything I can to get him a fourth.”

Offense: Andrew Scanlan, Brad North

  • Scanlan on career-high five catches: “I was more involved this week because teams are trying to key AC and the other inside guys a little more. It’s just about being ready on the outside for any opportunity that comes my way.”
  • North on offensive line’s performance: “We didn’t play well enough. We couldn’t run the ball, and at the end of the day it’s on us to create holes for JJ and the other backs.
  • North on Wisconsin’s defensive line: “They were just a very well-coached team, a lot of hard-working guys.”
  • Scanlan: “We just want to get the ball rolling and play the full game of football that we’re capable of playing. I really feel strongly about how well we bounce back. This week we’ll see how bad we really want it. Tomorrow’s going to be a grind.”
  • Scanlan on Carr: “You can’t knock how hard that man has worked since he got here. He came in running routes and we would watch him just to make fun of him. No lie. We would just sit there and laugh. In one word, I would just say progression. No matter where you put him on the field, he’s going to give you the best Austin Carr he can.”

Defense: CJ Robbins, Jared McGee

  • Robbins: “There wasn’t any reluctance to come back for a sixth season. My goal is to play football for as long as I can.”
  • Robbins on dropping into coverage as a lineman: “Dropping back is an experience. Once you see the QB’s eyes turn to you, you start running faster and get a little nervous. I’ve been working on that a lot so I was happy to get that breakup.”
  • McGee on Robbins: “What makes him such a good leader is that he’s so brutally honest. He’s not afraid to critique you and he’s not hypocritical, he wants to be critiqued himself.”
  • McGee on Purdue’s high-volume passing attack: “We’ll be in the film room extra, seeing how they want to attack us. We see it as an opportunity to make plays, the more the ball is in the air the more chances we have to get it in our hands.
  • McGee is okay with Friday night games, because it would give players more of a weekend to catch up on schoolwork.
  • McGee said that after two weeks without a turnover, they’ll really be harping on what they can do to force those this week in practice.
  • Robbins: “We want to look at one game at a time. Our backs are against the wall again. That sense of urgency needs to raise on the defensive side of the ball. Our energy needs to go up so we can create turnovers for the offense and get the ball rolling.”