With Indiana ahead, Andersen looks for another solid defensive performance

first_imgThe No. 22 Wisconsin football team is hoping to keep their BCS Bowl hopes alive following a standout defensive performance in the 27-17 victory over BYU, which Gary Andersen highlighted in his weekly press conference Monday.Andersen praised impressive defensive showings by senior linebacker Chris Borland and sophomore safety Michael Caputo. The duo racked up 25 tackles, 13 and 12, respectively, against BYU. Andersen also noted the play of senior safety Dezmen Southward and redshirt freshman safety Nate Hammon giving solid man-to-man coverage against the BYU receivers.The return of Borland, who was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week for his performance, was a key difference-maker against a solid Cougars offensive unit. Anderson credited Borland for being a crucial contributor to the team all season.“Pretty much every day he surprises me, on and off the field. He really does. Consistent. But it’s consistent greatness out of him,” Andersen said. “That might be the thing that surprises me the most is just his ability to sustain and maintain and just keep plowing through it and stay focused.”Andersen emphasized the importance of his defensive playmakers needing to step up against an explosive Indiana offense that ranks 10th in points scored this season.“Indiana has a very potent offense that’s proven itself week in and week out. Score a bunch of points, rack up a bunch of yardage, and they have a lot of skill … both quarterbacks do a nice job of running the offense, and they both have gotten reps,” Andersen said. “On the film that I’ve seen so far, they both come in, and the offense doesn’t seem to take a big step backwards.”Andersen praised the dynamic playmaking abilities of Indiana’s receiving corps, adding that juniors Cody Latimer and Shane Wynn in particular will need to be held in check for the Badgers to succeed on defense. Latimer leads the Hoosiers with 884 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while Wynn has recorded 510 yards and seven scores of his own.Although the Badgers have won eight straight games against Indiana, Andersen was adamant about not letting his veteran team get complacent against their competitive Big Ten foes.“Football is year-by-year and Indiana’s done some really nice things this year. They’ve had some tough losses and are in games all the way through. They score at least 28 points each week,” Andersen said. “If that doesn’t make you stand up and grab your attention as a defender, then nothing will.”In order to keep Indiana’s offensive attack off the field, the Badgers will look to their ground game, which ranks 10th with 280.6 rushing yards per game.The two-headed monster of senior James White and sophomore Melvin Gordon have anchored the Badgers rushing attack, combining for 2,111 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground through just nine games this season.Despite posting lackluster stat lines in his past two games — 148 total yards and zero touchdowns — in comparison to his seemingly unstoppable start to the season, Andersen was quick to point out the improvements Gordon is continuing to make as the year progresses.“He doesn’t have the numbers, but Melvin is progressively getting better every single week at the other things that are important in football, other than running the ball,” Andersen said. “I’m also proud that when it doesn’t go his way for those 50-, 60-, 70-yard runs or the big plays, he keeps on grinding and keeps on going.”To help provide some balance in the offensive attack against the Hoosiers’ defense, sophomore quarterback Joel Stave will look to continue his solid gameplay against a struggling Hoosiers secondary that is allowing more than 300 passing yards per game.Andersen also said senior tight end Jacob Pedersen, who has reeled in 300 yards and three scores this season, has stepped up and provided Stave with another reliable weapon.“I think we’re looking for him more. I really do … He’s such a mismatch problem, and you see him continually catch contested balls. He runs great routes. He causes some real issues,” Andersen said. “I think we definitely made an effort to get the ball to him more. It’s making him more productive, and it’s making our offense better too.”The Badgers will take on the Hoosiers at Camp Randall this Saturday at 11 a.m.last_img