October 8, 2009

Borland focused on OSU during trip home

MADISON, Wis. - For Chris Borland, there was never any doubt about coming to Wisconsin. Even though he was born and raised in Ohio, the Badger freshman never had serious thoughts about playing for the home state Buckeyes. Instead, he cheered for Wisconsin and Notre Dame.

Now, come Saturday, the Kettering, Ohio native is set to play in his own back yard when the Badgers take to Columbus to battle the Buckeyes. Before doing so, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the special teams phenom.

The following is a question and answer segment with Borland.

Obviously this weekend must be pretty exciting for you as you are set to head home and play Ohio State. What are your thoughts right now?

Borland: It will be fun. It's just another game though. We're trying to focus on it that way. We've prepared hard, but it's just another Big Ten game for us.

On a personal level, is there any animosity between you and Ohio State? Were you a fan of theirs at all?

Borland: I wasn't, but there's no animosity. I respect them and I grew up a Wisconsin and Notre Dame fan so those are where my allegiances lie, Wisconsin especially, I mean, obviously Wisconsin. But I don't have any hard feelings toward Ohio State.

What do you know about the Horseshoe? Have you been there?

Borland: I've been there one time for Miami of Ohio against Ohio State. It was a good atmosphere and it will be a fun place to play.

Through your play through five games, do you think you are starting to get noticed by some teams out there?

Borland: I think a little bit on special teams. Some double teams will come and stuff like that, but my teammates around me are making great plays. If I can take on those double teams and let those other guys make great plays, then we'll be successful.

Is that kind of the next step for you? Going from using your athleticism to being able to being a guy that teams key on and one who still can make plays?

Borland: Yeah, I think that's a key, but sometimes I'm called not to make plays but to be a decoy or to take on blocks. As long as we're successful, that's what I need to do.

You're going against some of those tackles in that Badger formation. How is that going for you?

Borland: It's fun. They're big guys and they get a hold of you. It's tough to get off, but the thing I have on them is my quickness and I try to use that.

Along with quickness, how much of it is technique? How much do you have to be perfect to get around those people?

Borland: I've never really done it before so this year I've learned a lot from coach Charlie Partridge and coach Dave Doeren about technique and rush moves. They're fun. That's a fun thing to do. It's just a one on one competition with a tackle, so it's a lot of fun.

I'm assuming you've never gone against a guy with the talent and kind of versatility of Terrelle Pryor, what's that got going for you?

Borland: He's a great player. I think every team that goes against him has probably never faced a guy like him. But, we got a good scheme and we're going to play as a team and I think we'll be able to at least contain him.

How has the scheme changed now that they're basically running out of the shotgun? They can run or throw out of there.

Borland: We're just going to try to keep him contained. He's the kind of guy that you let him get loose, he starts to make his plays. So, if we keep him structured and keep him having to be a pro-style quarterback as much as we can, it will help our defense.

Do you see him trying to pass more on film?

Borland: I think he looks at it, but I think the run is always at the back of his mind. So it's got to be in the front of our minds.

With Ohio State's defense playing as well as they are, does that put pressure on you guys?

Borland: We've talked about that. Coach (Barry) Alvarez actually addressed the team and he talked about the type of game it's going to be. We need to be on on special teams and defense because it's going to be a field position, hard-hitting, physical, classical Big Ten game.

Is that the first time he's talked to you guys?

Borland: He's talked to us before, but this season it's the first time before a game. He talked to us about the success we've had against Ohio State in the past and how it's a special game.

Coach Bret Bielema hasn't beat Ohio State in the past. Is that something you want to do for him?

Borland: Absolutely. We want to win every game so it's nothing different. But we're just focusing on having a good week of preparation, like every week.

That final drive against Minnesota, how much fun were you having out there?

Borland: It was a blast. I got to credit the defensive line for the whole game because they tired out that tackle. He was winded and I think that's an attribute to J.J. Watt and O'Brien Schofield and Louis Nzegwu and those guys. They did a really good job against him throughout the game.

How have some of the older guys used last year's loss as kind of motivation going into this week?

Borland: We didn't hear much about it. We did we had them last year and let it slide away. I think we had a similar situation last time we went to Ohio State. We had a game and kind of let it slide away. We're just focusing on this game though.

Kind of put yourself in the opposing team's shoes. John Clay, how is it trying to bring that guy down. He is bigger than you are.

Borland: It's not fun. I knew from camp a little bit. John is a big boy and he packs a punch and he's fast. I'm glad he's on our team.

On the defensive side of the ball, when you see the offense picking up third downs at the rate they're doing it (57 percent), how much does that help you guys?

Borland: It's great. It tires out their defense and we get more possession time and it keeps us fresh. It's great to see the offense be successful. We're the biggest fans.

Are you having family member coming to the game at all?

Borland: Yeah, I have all my family that's home right now in Dayton. They're going to come to the game with some friends. So yeah, a lot of people will be there.

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