September 8, 2009

Partridge pleased with defensive line play

MADISON, Wis. - For a defensive line that was incredibly short on depth, particularly at the defensive end spot, Charlie Partridge was encouraged with the play of the guys that saw action throughout the opening win. With both Louis Nzegwu and Brendan Kelly out with injuries, several players had to step up.

Following a recent film session and practice, caught up with Partridge. The following is a question and answer with the second-year line coach.

With one game in the books, what were your overall impressions with your unit?

Partridge: With the D-line? I was happy with how they played. There was good production out of the defensive ends certainly with J.J. Watt and O'Brien Schofield. Anthony Mains got his first snaps as a Badger and played 20 plus plays and did a solid job. He didn't make any major mistakes. So I was happy to see that as a young redshirt freshman. That was good.

The defensive tackles played very solid, held their gap, held their ground and did a good job. Sometimes it's hard for D-tackles to produce just by the nature of what they are, but they are producing when they're holding the line of scrimmage. Sometimes it didn't show up in the stats, but they did pretty well.

Was that Mains' role going that you thought it would be heading into the game or did it have more to do with Louis's injury and he just kind of filled in?

Partridge: Louis's injury and Kelly's pending injury right now certainly played into him getting more snaps. But it's good that he took advantage of them and played solid.

What is the status of Louis's injury?

Partridge: You know, I'm not allowed to answer those questions.

Just talk about J.J. Watt and his first game. It seemed like he was in the backfield more times than not. I think he had six tackles, did him and OB kind of set the tone for the defensive line?

Partridge: I'm really happy with all four of them. I mean, the thing that is exciting for me and I think everyone knows it, I'm big into fundamentals and all four of them played with good fundamentals when the plays came to the defensive ends. We rolled a lot more. We had five defensive tackles play last night, three defensive ends, which is exciting. That's the kind of progress we wanted. So (I'm) really happy with all four of them and those two produced.

Just talk about Patrick Butrym and Jeff Stehle. You hit on them, too, but are you happy with the push they got or was it more of them just kind of holding the line of scrimmage?

Partridge: I was. When you look at the film there were a lot of plays where the surge was coming from the defensive line, from the defensive tackles. Obviously that helps everything in the run game. We held them to pretty small yards with the exception of one big play that bounced outside. You take that play out, which you can't, but you take it out and we're holding them to around 50 yards. We held them to 100 yards total, roughly. So, yeah, that was a good job.

Is that something good though? I mean, giving up big plays is never a good thing, but is it something that they can just learn from?

Partridge: Well, I think any of the negative things that happened last night (Saturday), you know, thankfully we won the game. It's certainly a learning experience for really, three new starters and a whole lot of guys that hadn't played significant snaps played last night. It was a great opportunity for those guys to learn.

It's got to be an encouraging sign, too, knowing what those guys can produce, especially in their first action.

Partridge: It is. It's really exciting and we certainly know that we got a great, tough opponent coming this week.

Is David Gilbert going to be in the rotation at all, maybe next week?

Partridge: Right now, he's on the fence. You look at things, he could be in the rotation with Louis and Kelly pending right now. That's what plays into it. He's close. He's right there.

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