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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers focusing on development in week off

Bielema points to players like Jacob Pedersen (right) to show how players can use the bye week to improve their game and impress coaches.[/media-credit]

With a bye week immediately after their biggest win so far this season, the Wisconsin football team is focusing on getting healthy and developing the underclassmen.

Head coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Tuesday and urged the need to get healthy, rather than ride the momentum from the Nebraska win into another game.

“I get it; I think that’s a common thing that people think, and even some coaches probably do,” Bielema said. “If we were super healthy I almost might be on [that] side, but this week is a great week developmental wise and to get a few guys healthy. Much the same – it’s very eerie – a year ago after the Iowa game, if we had to play a game this Saturday, I don’t know how efficient we’d be.”


With three starters missing Saturday night’s conference opener, Wisconsin has been banged up and hurting in more ways than one.

Last Tuesday, defensive end David Gilbert broke his foot, an injury that will keep him out of the lineup for the next six to eight weeks.

“A situation like David, popping his foot on Tuesday, to me, if our opponent knew about that they might scheme things specifically,” Bielema said, explaining why the news about Gilbert was released so late in the week.

According to Bielema, strong safety Shelton Johnson is expected to return after missing Saturday due to a calf injury he sustained against South Dakota.

Developing new talent

Not only is the bye week a chance for the Badgers to rest and recover, but it’s also a good time for the underclassmen to progress and become stronger.

“That’s all today was,” Bielema said. “Anybody that’s a two that needs work – some of our guys like Ethan Armstrong, I didn’t have out there, obviously Montee Ball, James White – gave them the whole time off. But tomorrow is a lot of good on good, but there’ll be three or four periods of just developmental work. Today was 13 periods of developmental work.”

Bielema noted that even some of UW’s current starters impressed him during bye weeks of past years, specifically Jacob Pedersen and Ryan Groy.

Pedersen has 14 receptions this season – third on the team – for a total of 224 yards and four touchdowns.

“I’ve really stressed to those guys, this is when Jacob Pedersen got good three years ago,” Bielema said. “This is when Ryan Groy got great two years ago. I kind of really stressed that we may not be preparing you this week to win a game, but we might be preparing to win the third game next year and make them think that way.”

Wilson for Heisman?

With appearances on the Dan Patrick Show on the radio and Pardon the Interruption on ESPN, Russell Wilson is starting to make a name for himself off the field as well.

Saturday night, Wilson put on one of his best performances to date, launching him even higher on Heisman watch lists and bringing national attention to Wisconsin.

“You know what, Russell probably worries about that about as little as any guy that’s being mentioned,” Bielema said. “He takes every day for what it is. … He just kind of embraces it. If I saw that PTI, I bet you he would probably say ‘I’m blessed’ a couple of times. He’d probably mention hard work. He’d probably mention his O-line, his running backs. He’d probably throw out Toon, he’d probably mention my name and at the end of it he’d probably say ‘On Wisconsin.'”

While Bielema is by no means complaining about having Wilson around, he feels for another offensive player who put on a great performance against Nebraska – Ball.

“The guy that I kind of feel bad for is Montee Ball,” Bielema said. “He hasn’t gotten huge rushing numbers because we haven’t used him for four quarters of four games. His first chance to show it on Saturday – he deserves all the attention in the world because that game was just as much him as it was Russell.”

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