Rose Bowl notebook - Redshirt freshman quarterback Joel Stave is expected to play against Stanford,…
Media Day at the Rose Bowl
LOS ANGELES - You didn't need to interview every coach and player during Wisconsin's football media day at the LA Hotel Downtown Saturday morning to get a consensus of what is standing in front of Wisconsin in the 99th Rose Bowl on Tuesday. Not only is Stanford a talented team, but a well disciplined group that is capable of capitalizing on any mistakes if Wisconsin makes them. "I think they are a very well coached team," senior quarterback Curt Phillips said. "They play very sound. I think we have to make the most out of opportunities. Obviously we aren't going to get very many of them so when we do we have to make the most of them and make sure that they count." Junior captain Travis Frederick has his take on what the Badgers need to watch out for from studying Stanford on film. "Really for us it comes down to those guys using their hands really well," Frederick said. "Something that makes it difficult for us is that it is both hands. When you are not perfect on your hands, they are going to blow you back in the back field. They are doing really well as far as tackles for loss, sacks, and things like that so that is going to be a really great challenge for us." From the defensive perspective, senior linebacker Mike Taylor knows what if it can interrupt the passing game with interceptions, fumbles or sacks, the Badgers will have success. "Things can happen where you force fumbles, get interceptions, and sacks," said Taylor. "Those are big plays. If you can do that, it will help you win." With the amount of preparation Wisconsin has put in to playing Stanford, senior tailback Montee Ball says it is gratifying that the Cardinal have said how diligently they have worked to try and slow down a Wisconsin offense that put up 70 points its last time on the field. "To know that the other team is really prepared for you it feels great and shows a lot of respect," Ball said. "We are prepared for (Stanford tailback) Stepfan Taylor as well. We really harp on establishing the run game and going to make sure we do so. We expect it to be a four-quarter very physical game." For more breakdowns on Tuesday's 99th Rose Bowl, we hear more from Phillips, Frederick, Ball and junior linebacker Chris Borland. Curt Phillips What are you watching out for against Stanford's defense? "They come off the ball very well. They are very big guys, smart and I think they are very well coached. They play very sound. It's a unique challenge for us playing against an off front we don't see in the Big Ten often but having an extra month of preparation is big for that." What is it that you need to do to have success in the game? "I just need to play my game. I can't push and try to do too much or anything. At Wisconsin, we pride ourselves in our power running game. We have to stick with that." How has this season shaped you as a player? "I think our team has bounced back really well from adversity. I think that applies to me as well, not having the opportunity to play early on in the season but getting a shot here during the end. I just have a lot of fun with it and try to make the most of the opportunities I'm given." Reaction to Barry Alvarez coaching the team? "I was super excited about it. I couldn't have asked for more than to play for a Rose Bowl hall of fame coach in the Rose Bowl. It's everything I expected it to be. He has always been around the program but seeing him out there with the whistle makes it that much more exciting." Travis Frederick Is there an advantage between Stanford and Wisconsin on size differences? "I don't think there is that big of a size advantage. Obviously we are a little bit bigger than they are but they are tall they have more leverage. They have been really good at using their hands to get to the back field. They are really good technicians and will be very sound in their gaps. It is going to be a really great challenge for us. We are just going to have to be on our game all day." How has this season shaped you as a player? "This season has been very interesting - full of turmoil and adversity. It has definitely made me a better person and a better player. Just based on all of the things you've gone through, kind of helped the team come together as one and helped the leaders really stand out and help this team move forward." What are the keys to success against Stanford? "We are going to have to be on in every part of the game - special teams, defense, and offense. If we trip up in any areas they are a great team and they are going to be able to take advantage of it." What was your reaction to hearing Barry Alvarez was going to coach you? "I was certainly excited. Coach Alvarez is around the program as the Athletic Director. He actually spends quite a bit of time on the field but didn't talk to us necessarily. But when he stepped into that coaching role there is a tremendous amount of respect from the players just because of everything he has done in the past. For us to get the chance to play for a Rose Bowl Hall of Fame coach in the Rose Bowl is a tremendous opportunity." Montee Ball Bielema to Arkansas, how did you feel when he left? "Disappointed. I guess me personally, it doesn't really affect me but in a way I kind of felt disappointed for the other players. It was kind of sudden. We all understand that it is a job and it is a profession so we understand that if you don't perform then you sit on the bench. If the coach doesn't perform or if the coach wants to go and do other things he is going to go. " Did it take a while to get over that disappointment and get team back on track? "It didn't take long at all. Don't get me wrong we definitely missed coach Bielema. The formula is so engraved into us that we perform the same way, like we did in the B1G championship game. But we understand people have goals and want to go get them." What do you like about Coach Alvarez's coaching style? "We like how Coach Alvarez talks to us before practice to get us really amped for practicing. He tells us what he wants. We make sure to go out there and do it." What do you want to accomplish in this Rose Bowl game? "First and foremost I want to win. I do want to win. That is the thing that I am missing. I want to win for my players but on a more personal level, the 150 yards that I need (to set UW's career Rose Bowl rushing record) - I want to get and everything else that goes with that." Chris Borland In your opinion, what are the keys to success in the Rose Bowl? "For our defense it starts with stopping the run. They are physical and do a great job of running the ball. That would be number one. They also have a great play action game so you have to be on your keys with that. They do a good job of hitting their tight ends- especially as a linebacker that is who we need to stop." Watching film of Stanford, what do you see that you need to watch out for? "It's pretty clear right off the bat they love to run the ball and they are very good at it. Taylor is a good back and it all starts with stopping the run." What is it that you have to do to have success in the game? "Personally it is my job as a linebacker to make calls and such before the snap. Stanford does a lot of things pre snap with motions and trades that I'm up for making." How has this season shaped you as a player? "We have been through a lot of adversity and you learn to not let it affect your next day. We've been though a lot but we have grown stronger and that is true for myself as well."
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