September 16

Biegel brings ‘controlled craziness’ to Wisconsin defense

first_imgWisconsin head football coach Gary Andersen waited just one sentence at the start of his Monday afternoon news conference to single out outside linebacker Vince Biegel.And deservedly so. Biegel had just been tabbed as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after his seven tackle – four of which were tackles for loss – and three-sack performance against Purdue last Saturday.“Biegel had a tremendous game,” Andersen said in his opening comments of his news conference Monday. “[He] played very, very well. It’s great to see him have such an impact on the game in a positive way. Hopefully that can continue.”Biegel’s performance Saturday was just one example of the promise that the redshirt sophomore has shown in his first season as a starting outside linebacker. After missing the majority of his first season at Wisconsin with a foot injury, Biegel emerged as a potential future talent after last season when he played in all 13 games, recording 25 tackles with two sacks.But this season, Biegel has stepped up his game as the starting outside linebacker for UW. Through nine games this season, Biegel has the most sacks on the team (6.5) and is tied for the team-high in tackles for loss (12). His 39 tackles are also fifth on the team while he has recovered a team-high two fumbles.According to fellow outside linebacker and Biegel’s roommate off the field junior Joe Schobert, the improvement from Biegel this season can be attributed to him simply relaxing on the field.“I think [he’s] just playing more relaxed,” Schobert said. “Last year he had fast feet, always wants to go a hundred miles an hour. I think he’s been way more relaxed this year, diagnosing the play and then reacting to it. And then he can just use his athleticism to make plays.”Biegel has also been the beneficiary of a unique positional coach. Not only does Andersen head the Badgers, he also works with the Badgers’ outside linebackers, including Schobert and Biegel.Biegel admits that Andersen may put more pressure on him, but it has definitely paid off in the long run.“I would definitely say Gary [Andersen] has been more tough on me than other players,” Biegel said. “Coach Andersen is actually my position coach, so having him be my position coach, he’s definitely put a little extra pressure on me. But also he just lets me be myself out there. Lets me kind of go out there and be relaxed and kind of just play my game of football.”However, the pressure that Andersen has been putting on Biegel has made him arguably one of the best players on a Wisconsin defense that ranks in the top five of all major defense categories and is the top defense in the nation in terms of yards per game. This season, Biegel has cemented himself as a consistent playmaker on one of the best defenses in the country.“It’s all a credit to that kid,” Andersen said of Biegel’s improved performance this season. “He’s a big part of that defense now, and he’s a big-time playmaker.”But while Biegel has improved on his technique, pre-snap awareness and overall play this season, one thing has remained a constant throughout this football career, even going back to his Pop Warner days as a kid in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin: his craziness on the field.For Biegel, this season he’s been able to control that craziness on the field, which he attributes to his increased success.“I would kind of say it’s controlled craziness,” Biegel said. “Maybe earlier in my career I wasn’t as controlled, but as the reps and as the more experience I’ve gotten, I’ve kind of been able to control my aggression and control my emotion, which I think is beneficial to me.”Even more so this season than last season, UW defensive coordinator Dave Aranda has seen Biegel’s intensity positively reflect on his teammates. Rather than being too crazy, it’s something that Biegel and the rest of the defense has used to their advantage.“I think it’s a very good thing,” Aranda said of Biegel’s self-proclaimed craziness. “I think it rubs off on our guys in a positive manner. I think they look to him to get big plays. They look to him to bring some juice out on the field, so it’s a much different huddle than what we’ve had in the past.”While this season’s linebackers may not have the name recognition or presumed talent of past linebackers at UW, Biegel certainly thinks their bond on the field makes up for any presumed lack of talent.“We don’t have necessarily the most skilled guys at all the positions as compared to last year, but I think our defense just clicks,” Biegel said. “I don’t like to go at numbers, but having the number one defense in the nation, I think our defense just clicks well with one another. We have great communication from the defensive line all the way through the secondary, and we hope to keep that going the rest of the season.”While Biegel may lead the Badgers in some major defensive categories, he knows his role is simple and one that hopefully can impact the game.“I consider myself a pass rusher, an outside linebacker and a playmaker,” Biegel said. “I expect myself to be that and moving forward the rest of my career.”last_img read more

August 14

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin calls out ESPN over handling of Myles Garrett interview

first_imgESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Thursday released a condensed interview with Garrett in which he alleged, again, that Rudolph called him “a stupid N-word” moments before the brawl between the two teams. The full interview aired on Saturday. In it, ESPN’s Mina Kimes mentions to Garrett the NFL found no evidence of his claims.Tomlin said he was “hacked off” by the way ESPN handled the piece, saying it was unfair to Rudolph and that it didn’t reflect that he, the Steelers and Browns organizations and the NFL found no evidence of him calling Garrett the N-word.MORE: Rudolph, Tomlin rebuke Garrett’s claims against Steelers quarterback”But when these allegations returned this past weekend, I thought it was appropriate that Mason is properly defended. It was a thorough investigation done by us and the National Football League. I don’t think that that was represented during that piece. These accusations are serious, not only in terms of Mason Rudolph’s character, but his professional pursuits. Nobody on that field, as a member of the Cleveland Browns or the Pittsburgh Steelers, corroborated what was said by Myles Garrett. That was founded by us and the National Football League. And at no point during that piece this weekend, that was stated. Myself personally, I was on the field immediately after that altercation and subsequently after the game. I’ve got a lot of personal relationships within that organization over there in Cleveland. At no point did anyone within that organization come forward and say, ‘Mike, heads up, we’ve got a situation here,’ or something of that nature that you would expect to come with those types of allegations. So I fully support Mason Rudolph, we as an organization fully support Mason Rudolph. And to be quite honest with you, we were hacked off with what we saw this weekend. Not specifically from Myles Garrett — he’s been in the lane that he’s in — but what was displayed by ESPN and that panel. The way that the situation was presented, I don’t think was fair to Mason Rudolph, and that’s why I’m here today.”Both Rudolph and the NFL released statements in response to the “OTL” piece. Rudolph called Garrett’s claim “1000% false” while the NFL again stated that it found no evidence Rudolph used the racial slur toward Garrett. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has once again come to the defense of quarterback Mason Rudolph.Tomlin on Monday appeared on ESPN’s “First Take,” not only to reaffirm his support of Rudolph — who Browns defensive end Myles Garrett claims used a racial slur against him in the teams’ Nov. 14 meeting — but also to lambaste the network for the way it handled Garrett’s interview. (ESPN) Garrett, suspended indefinitely over his role in the brawl, was reinstated by the NFL last week.Update: ESPN reached out to Sporting News, providing a screen shot of the “OTL” piece that ran on Saturday in which a graphic is shown mentioning the NFL had not found evidence Rudolph used a racial slur:last_img read more