MADISON - The dynamic the Wisconsin offensive line set through the week, having been brutalized relentlessly following a somewhat lackluster performance at Ohio State, was what essentially opened the floodgates for the Badgers pasting of Purdue Saturday afternoon.
Kevin Zeitler said the offensive line came out angry, Travis Frederick claims the unit was more focused than it had been. Whatever happened during UW's 62-17 win over Purdue worked.
Just minutes after the win, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with junior center Peter Konz, along with several other reporters.
It looked like you were getting a little sick of the questions on Tuesday and the criticisms. Kevin used the word dissed. Did you use that negative, positively?
Konz: Not me. That's not my thing. People will say what they say and it makes great headlines. I want to be in the media some day. I want to make good stories, too. For myself I just want to make this into getting back to what I love. I put a lot of pressure upon myself after Michigan State and Ohio State. This week I try to forget all that and try to play with a light heart and try to be free of all those things. If I made a mistake I tried to tell myself to get back to it, get to the next play. Don't linger with it. It worked today.
Did it help coming back home?
Konz: Oh yeah. There's something about Camp Randall and being home. It's just something that invigorates us and helps slow down other teams. The fans are phenomenal. Everything seems to go well here.
Montee Ball had a great game today. How much of that is you guys and how much of that is him?
Konz: (Laughing) I want to say it's more 40-60. Forty percent us and 60 percent Montee. He can break a few tackles and he can get around some blocks if we're only on half a man. He's just fantastic. Any accolades he gets he deserves.
Coach Bret Bielema gave you guy's calendars for the rest of the season. Does this feel like step one in the process to finish out the rest of the year?
Konz: It does. It reminds me of last year. Last year we had the same calendars. Purdue was the first game, too. We kept going step-by-step. Sometimes it's easier if you can see it in front of you instead of just saying, yeah, I'm going to take it one at a time. If you have that calendar in front of you and look day-by-day and how much work you put in you just kind of get that sense. Today is more important.
So it's kind of a way to prevent yourself from looking too far ahead. You're just looking at the next game and that's it?
Konz: It's more about keeping us focused and less about the next game. It's more about this game. It's just making sure we realize how much work goes into it and that losing is never fun. We've just got to remember that you put so much work into it and we don't need to look ahead or backwards or whatever. We just need to focus on the moment.
Travis and Kevin said you were more chatty in practice this week, during practice just to try to get things going? Did you feel that was needed? Was it something you needed to do? You could do?
Konz: Part of that chattiness is just getting everybody on the same page. If everybody is feeling comfortable before a game like this, especially after two losses, it's very important for confidence and morale. Second of all it kind of makes everything fun. You start talking and you feel like it's not just about not screwing up on this play. I'm playing a game and I'm playing with my friends. That's really what it comes down to. It really loosens everybody up and you start playing like you'd expect Wisconsin to play. You get on their assignments and have a little fun out there.
Did you practice with pom-poms this week, too?
Konz: (Laughing) Spur of the moment. I had to have fun with it. It's a game and I love it. After the game I grabbed some pom-poms and I cheer with everybody else. It's the end of the workweek. I need to loosen up. I'm wearing a tie right now.
What do you think Bob Bostad's reaction is going to be?
Konz: Oh, I don't know. He's probably not going to like it. (Laughing) That's all right. I'm going to take the workweek very seriously. What I do in my free time? We'll just leave it at that.
Pete, what was the overall feeling, if you can remember, when you guys approached the field for the first time this afternoon? Was it confident? What was the approach?
Konz: It was more or less the same thing. We just had a little added sense of needing to leaders and we've got to make sure things get rolling. When you look back at the losses you think about what you can do. So this game we wanted to make sure we were on target and that we had the control and didn't leave it up to the last minute type of situation. It was a very focused feel and a very good sense of knowing what we have to do.
So what was the feeling when Montee opened the game with a 44-yard run the way he did? What does that do to either help or hurt the feeling you had?
Konz: That invigorates you. It makes you feel that what you do is working. It just gives you confidence for the rest of the game. If it happens once it can happen again. I believe Arnold (Schwarzenegger) said in Predator…. 'If it bleeds we can kill it."