MADISON - Barring any injury late this week, it seems as though Chris Borland and Mike Taylor will be on the field at the same, and first, time as starters when the Badgers host Arizona State.
Borland, who sat out last weeks 27-14 win over San Jose State, is set to return from his shoulder injury. At the conclusion of Saturday's practice, Borland caught up with reporters.
The following is a question and answer with Borland:
Last week, coach Bielema said they had to take your helmet. Were you itching to get out and play?
Borland: Yeah, I was a game time decision and they didn't let me go. I wore my helmet out but then they took it. That's about it.
Are you 100 percent ready to play?
How has practice been going for you the past couple days?
Borland: It's been good. I've been moving around and I basically had a week off. I'm feeling good and excited to get out there.
What is the issue with your shoulder? Why does it keep popping up?
Borland: I'm not completely sure really. The doctors kind of know more of the specifics. It happens from time to time, but I'll be alright.
Are you expecting your snaps to be limited or are you going to be out there the full game?
Borland: I'm preparing to go the full game. I don't know what the coaches have in mind but I'm preparing for the full game.
Are you excited to line up opposite Mike (Taylor)?
Borland: Yeah, it's going to be fun. I'm looking forward to it.
It sounds like they're going to have to rotate some guys to keep people fresh with the way Arizona State runs that offense. Are you prepared for when they push that tempo?
Borland: Yeah, we've been practicing it the last couple of days. They really try to get as many reps as possible. They have 13 scoring drives under three minutes so far this year. That's pretty impressive. We're preparing for it pretty well.
Do you feel like you can do more damage in the base or the 3-3-5?
Borland: I think with the way their offense runs maybe more in the Badger (3-3-5). But you never really know. They've played two Division 1-AA opponents so they most likely have other things they're going to throw at us than what's on film.
What do you enjoy about that 3-3-5 defense?
Borland: I think the freedom. It's based on the causing havoc and causing confusion so you have a little more freedom that you have in our base sets. You can just roam around a little bit and confusion the backs and the protections and the receivers. I like just the freedom.
You really seem to thrive in it. Is that something you enjoy?
Borland: Yeah, it's fun. It's a good time. It's simple and it's fun.
What have you seen from Steven Threet that could cause problems or challenges?
Borland: He's a good player. He beat us two years ago so he's got a strong arm and a big body. He gets rid of it quick. He's got some speed on the outside to utilize, too. He's a dangerous player.
Were you hitting full contact this week?
Borland: Yeah, I was hitting.
Is it nice to be playing a named opponent this week, Chris?
Borland: Well, we respect the two opponents we played, but this one is exciting. They're a good team and we're looking forward to the challenge.
It seemed like the quarterback at San Jose State got rid of the ball really quick. Is Threet that quick with his release?
Borland: Yeah, they like to get rid of it three-step at the max most of the time. They run some boots, but they get rid of it fast. That's their offense and Threet does a good job at it.
Is it hard to get a pass rush going when you have that consistently quick release?
Borland: You can get a pass rush, maybe not a sack, but definitely pass rush and hits on the quarterback.
Do you think you can frustrate no huddle teams with three and outs?
Borland: I think depending on how well we do this is a good match up for us because our offense will keep their defense out there for hopefully five-plus minutes. Then hopefully we can get a three and out and their defense has to go back out. It could work to our advantage.
Did you know yesterday (Tuesday) that you were going to be playing this week?
Did they say you were going to be cleared?
Borland: Not exactly. I knew personally that I was going to play this week. Then I said I was a go. I pretty much had the idea last week that I was going to play this week.
So if they would have said to you, well, we aren't sure yet, what would your reaction have been?
Borland: I think I would have practiced. I've been fine so I probably would have practiced.
With as many time as they try to snap the ball, is that something that you guys have really prepared properly for?
Borland: Oh absolutely, we're running up-tempo during our scouts period. We're trying to get as many plays in as we can with no huddles. Our scout team is doing a great job. I think we'll be ready.
Did you keep an eye on Mike last week?
Borland: Yeah, I kept an eye on Mike. It was his first game in a year almost. He did well. I think he did really well.