Chris Borland embracing defensive changes at Wisconsin

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CHICAGO -- Wisconsin is moving from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense in the team's first season under coach Gary Andersen, but senior LB Chris Borland's head isn't spinning.

This is the first head-coaching change Borland has experienced at Wisconsin, but he has been through assistant-coach changes in the past. He said Thursday at Big Ten media days that the schematic changes suit him and the rest of the defense just fine.

"It's a new challenge," he said. "I think it caters to our skill set. It caters to my skill set, too. It's something that I'm looking forward to."

Andersen is clearly taken with Borland's talent and leadership. He made that clear Wednesday, calling Borland the "heart and soul" of the Badgers' defense.

The praise kept coming.

"(Borland) understands," Andersen said. "He's going to listen to you first. He's going to figure you out as you move along, and then I believe he's going to trust you.

"And to me that's what a quality young man does. That's what a quality person does. I believe he's the best linebacker in the country in my opinion, from what I've seen."

He certainly is one of the most highly regarded middle linebackers in the Big Ten and is a preseason candidate for the award given to the nation's top defensive player (Bednarik Award), but, as Andersen said Wednesday, humility is a big part of what makes Borland a respected team leader.

He was ready to change the subject back to the 2013 Wisconsin season as soon as we broached the subject of playing in the NFL.

"That's probably at the bottom of my list of things I care about for our defense this year," he said.

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