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Wisconsin football: the team is in full Axe Week mode

Isaiahh Loudermilk, Garrett Groshek and Graham Mertz talked to the media on Monday afternoon.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

After head coach Paul Chryst spoke to the media on Monday morning, three players, DE Isaiahh Loudermilk, RB Garrett Groshek and QB Graham Mertz stepped up to the virtual mic and discussed things they learned from the Northwestern loss and how they are preparing for the Axe Game against Minnesota on Saturday.

Graham Mertz

  • On what he has taken from his first loss as a starter. “The biggest thing for me was taking it and learning from it. Can’t dwell on it.”
  • On what Northwestern tried to do on defense to confuse him. “I was comfortable with what I was seeing, it just comes down to timing and execution.”
  • Mertz said that his timing and feet were off on a few plays and that sometimes he stayed too long on his first read.
  • On playing Minnesota, and having a big rivalry game, right after the loss to NU. “We are looking forward to it and we are ready to respond”
  • “They do a great job in their pressure game. It’s a good little challenge.” Mertz on Minnesota’s defense.

Garrett Groshek

  • Said he was frustrated while being out with COVID because he was asymptomatic and felt fine and ready to play.
  • “We might not control our own destiny but we absolutely get to control what happens next.” Groshek on Big Ten West title hopes and staying motivated for the rest of the season.
  • “It means everything. This game is always the focus for a Wisconsin season. No matter what the records are you’ve got to be ready to play.” On what it means to be from Wisconsin and play in the Axe game.
  • “It’s time to shut up and get to work.” Groshek should probably suggest this as the motto of Wisconsin’s football team.

Isaiahh Loudermilk

  • On sophomore NT Keeanu Benton who mentioned last week that he looked up to Loudermilk. Loudermilk said he helps Benton with what he’s seeing in terms of blocking schemes and what’s going on in the backfield with sets and things like that. “I expect a lot from him. He’s learned quick and he came in as a physical beast.”
  • On if it is worth it to play this season. “I 100% think it’s been worth the different things they’ve thrown at us. I would do anything to have this season. The main thing is staying safe though.”
  • Loudermilk mentioned that the d-line has a little more freedom this year to try and make plays in the backfield and not always just be there eating up blocks.
NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
  • On Minnesota’s running game. “It’s going to be a physical game. Our main goal is to stop the run before we can get to the passer.”
  • On Axe Week prep during COVID. “Everything about this season has felt different, but coming into the facility felt a little bit more normal.”
  • On what this week means to him and the team. “It’s a big deal, especially for the seniors. It’s such a great tradition to be a part of.”

On a couple of true freshmen

  • “He’s come in with a great attitude. He’s a smart, tough kid. He has done everything we have asked of him.” Groshek on WR Chimere Dike.
  • “Obviously he’s a playmaker on the field but I see the off field stuff. He has the perfect football mindset. I’m so proud of how his off the field effort is.” Mertz on Dike.
  • “He’s a great, great football player...he can be a dangerous weapon for us.” Mertz mentioned that RB Jalen Berger will also be dangerous out of the backfield catching the ball.
  • “Something about those Jersey kids.” Groshek on Berger.