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Wisconsin Football: Jim Leonhard wants to know who is in, and who is out in latest presser

The Badgers interim Head Coach seems to be showing great leadership despite uncertainty in the program.

Wisconsin v Northwestern Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Wisconsin football is coming off a tough loss this week at the hands of Michigan State. Once again, poor execution and untimely turnovers hurt the Badgers. Despite the mistakes, Leonhard seems happy with the effort but wants more in execution.

Leonhard opened by saying he was happy with the effort, but that execution must be better to close out and win games.

“After reviewing the tape was very pleased with the effort our guys gave. They were in it, they were engaged, played hard, and played physical at times. Execution has to be better at times, at critical moments... have to find ways to close that out to win games in the Big Ten.”

After that, Leonhard was asked about Braelon Allen’s fumble and what happened in the play to lead to the fumble.

“They had great timing on the pressure... I’m not 100% on the rules of how they wanted to pick it up (the pressure) but obviously great timing as far as calling the pressure and executing it... I didn't think it was a lack of ball security, I think Braelon saw the corner and reacted to him and he’s gotta be smart as he’s going to the ground with that second man in.”

Later, Leonhard was asked about committed recruits and what he thinks about prospects visiting other schools due to uncertainty at Wisconsin currently.

“I think, just as we’ve done with the team, we have to embrace the reality right now, there is a lot of uncertainty, right? There’s uncertainty for the whole program, the staff, and we’re aware of that we also have to try to continue to push to teach and educate the players on what this place has consistently been from a culture of standards, expectations, and players, really what we provide and get them to understand how consistent that has been over time... the hardest part is there aren't, any guarantees, we don't know what is going to happen as far as myself remaining in this role or what the role is going to look like, and the rest of the staff as well. That’s what makes things difficult, you can’t beat around the bush there it is uncertain of what the future and the direction of the program will be. As soon as we find that out we will push very hard to continue to recruit.”

At this point, one would think that if Leonhard is in fact “the guy” the Badgers should remove the interim tag for the recruit's and player's sake. With recruiting already a bit of a struggle, and multiple players hitting the portal it seems like some settling would go a long way for this team and the program's future if that is inevitably going to be the result.

In a similar question, later on, Leonhard was asked about his new role and the conversations he's had with players and coaches about the future of Wisconsin football.

“The initial response is truly day to day hour to an hour, right? What do I have to say yes or no to and how do I handle the emotions and what gives us the best chance to win? Obviously, the further you get away from that day settles into more of what the true responsibilities of the job and what is asked from this position from communications with your staff to recruits, to players, managing the day-to-day and the long-term decisions, right? Those are becoming more real conversations as the season goes on. A lot of them was get me to the bye week, alright? Gimme three weeks here to hopefully settle things down and let the dust settle... in the near future there's a lot of really big conversations that need to happen, what did I agree with that we did under Coach Chryst, what would I do differently, who is involved, there are so many conversations that are going to happen the second half of the season.”

Later, Leonhard added to that saying we need to know who is in, and who is out on this team for the rest of the season.

“Part of my message last week was we need to know whose in and who is out and make it clear. Right? If you’re a leader, lead. If you wanna be a huge part of what we have got going on here but you’re not a leader grab onto somebody going in the right direction. If you’re on the fence and you’re out let me know, please, right? That’s the fastest way to get things rallied and get things calmed down is to know who is on your side. I think the guys responnded really well to how hard they played, now we need to play better.”

To turn the page, Leonhard was asked about the challenges that Purdue brings to Camp Randall this Saturday and how the defense matches up.

“This is always a unique test when you play Purdue with the efficiency that they throw the football. I think right now they are having even more success because there is a little more commitment to the run game... I think at this point of the season right now they feel like they have everything rolling, they are using their players well, mixing and matching different groupings, and more consistently sticking to the run game.”

It will be a tough challenge for the Badgers this week against Purdue, and they’ll put their 15-game winning streak over Purdue on the line once again in Camp Randall Stadium. Can they make it 16? We’ll have to wait and see, but you know this Boilermaker team will come in hungry with the Big Ten West and snapping a big streak both on the line.