Leaders Hope To Get Badgers Back On Track

The Badgers will look to Aaron Henry (7) and others as they try to get back on track against Purdue.

MADISON, Wis. - When a team like the Badgers loses back-to-back games, good leadership plays a big role in getting back on track. And with four games left to salvage their season, the Badgers need their leaders to step up and help right the ship.

One of those leaders is linebacker Mike Taylor, who Bret Bielema said was one of the players to step up and say something to the team after losing to Ohio State. Taylor confirmed it after practice Wednesday, and said that while he doesn't often speak up, he thought the time was right.

I've always been a person who tries to lead by example," Taylor said. "I don't talk that much, so I'd just say lead by example, especially if you say something [and] you can back it up with what you do on the field."

Taylor also said he's comfortable with how the leaders operate on the team this year.

"When you lose, there's guys that can point fingers and try and blame people, but not on this team," Taylor said. "You've got guys staying positive, and whether it's a captain or someone else that's a leader trying to say something to someone, they take it, and they move on."

Senior safety Aaron Henry also thinks a team needs a mixture of people who lead by example, and those who can get in someone's face when needed.

"I think it definitely has to be a mixture of both," Henry said. "I like to show by my actions. I'll talk when it's necessary, but sometimes words do have to be said."

And when it comes to leadership, Henry believes it's important to emphasize the little things when a game or two hasn't gone as planned.

"What you really have to do and show is just talk to the team, and go out there and let them know as we get ready for Purdue [that] you've got to take the small things now," Henry said, "Because we have been exposed to the small things, whether it's communication, or giving up a last second Hail Mary, now that has to be elevated. Now the small things have become a problem and they've gotten bigger."

And while Taylor might have stepped up after the Ohio State game, he said it's not just the captains who provide leadership.

"I think we have tremendous leaders on this team, both offense and defense," Taylor said.  "Win or lose, someone's saying something, trying to keep positive, and after the last two losses that's exactly what happened. We've got guys just standing up and saying ‘keep your head up.'"

News and Notes

-- Montee Ball was talking about playing with more urgency after practice Tuesday, and Henry agrees that the defense could use an added sense of urgency throughout the whole game.

"The last two games that we've lost, third downs have definitely been the key," Henry said. "Maybe [there] wasn't a sense of urgency as far as the defense goes, as far as getting off the field on third down. I definitely think [there] has to be a sense of urgency."

"Now it's kind of like ‘you're back is against the wall,' and how are you going to deal with it?"

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For more Badger Football news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter (@JohnVeldhuis).

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