October 23, 2008

Hoping to halt losing skid

MADISON, Wis. - With the 2008 season spiraling out of control over the past four weeks, Wisconsin's once promising season has turned into one of great challenge. At 3-4 overall and winless in the Big Ten, UW must win at least three of their final five games to become bowl eligible. That stretch begins on Saturday as the Badgers welcome in Illinois on homecoming.

The following is question and answer with UW's senior linebacker DeAndre Levy:

This team started to fall last year when you went to Illinois and got beat. Does that game have any significance now?

Levy: I just remember we didn't play well last year. Defensively, we kind of threw that one away. I think the offense did pretty well, they had like five or six hundred yards. We just kind of let the game get away. We missed some tackles and missed some alignment.

You guys work so hard on the spread for all the different teams you'll be seeing, but this one is the one that really had you guy's frustrated last year. Does this game have special meaning in that regard, that this was the team?

Levy: I mean, we haven't really put an emphasis on it. We've been in a little slump right now, we're trying to get a win. Everything we face is going to try to come out and dog us. This is a potent offense. I think they're highlighted on a lot of people's calendars, just because they are so potent.

You talk about Juice Williams, obviously he does it all with the run, can he do it all with the pass now, too?

Levy: Yeah, he's putting up a lot of good numbers on passing the ball. He probably passes a lot more than he runs this year as opposed to last year when he was more of a run first guy. It shows his growth as a player.

Do these guys have any more of an advanced spread than what you have been seeing?

Levy: I wouldn't say that necessarily. They've got a good little tempo to their offense, they can get a lot of guys out of position and kind of hurry it up and speed the tempo and get guys out of position. They get a lot of big plays off of that.

You guys talked in training camp about getting the best 11 out on the field from a defensive standpoint in trying to create that cohesion. Has it been tough with all the personnel moves that have taken place?

Levy: Not really. All the guys that are out there, we've been on foot at one time during another. During the spring, a lot of the guys were banged up, guys rotating in and out through camp. You know, just being out there. Once you're out there, you've got to mesh with whoever's out there.

Jaevery McFadden has been put in the middle to kind of corral a guy like Juice, is this the game that drives him?

Levy: I think games like this is when they kind of had him in mind to get out and especially kind of make plays. That's what Jaevery does. He'll get to the ball and make plays.

Can there be any comparison with Juice and Terrell Pryor at all? Are they comparable?

Levy: Not really, I mean, they're both in kind of the same offense, and kind of have the same thing to them. But, I think just Juice being around a little longer is a little more advanced. Throwing the ball and reading the defense a little better, but both of them are great players.

Does it help that you've seen him before, that you've played against him?

Levy: Yeah definitely, you kind of know what to expect. I mean, he's a lot better player than he was last year. You know what to expect and you got to come out and defend it.

Have the seniors talked about what needs to happen to turn this around right now?

Levy: Just execution, that's the one thing we haven't done. We got to put together four quarters of executing our assignments. That's the biggest thing killing us.

Have the team goals changed at all?

Levy: Not really, we're just trying to grind this one out and get one this Saturday.

The mention is made to the team goals, we're not privy to all of them, but we know they're there. Is there a bigger emphasis on the day to day goals?

Levy: That's kind of been a big emphasis ever since camp when we made the goals. The day-to-day ones are the key components. If you don't handle your business day-to-day, you can't look at the big picture, you've got to look at the small picture first.

Is it a big deal that you get another chance at Camp Randall, against a team like Illinois?

Levy: It's going to be a good game for us, it's a tough challenge, but it's a good game for us to get back on the right track.

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