Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Bielema addresses quarterback, Meyer inquiries

The Wisconsin Football team is only five practices into its spring season. Yet, head coach Bret Bielema and company have already managed to make things pretty interesting.

Between landing another graduate transfer quarterback in Maryland’s Danny O’Brien and Sporting News’ continued reports on the recruiting issues between Bielema and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, Wisconsin is making the most of spring ball.

Quarterbacks abound


When initially asked about his newest quarterback, Bielema joked, “You talking about Bart Houston”? But, while Wisconsin hasn’t had the chance to work with O’Brien yet, Bielema said players are already starting to reach out to the newest Badger.

“We were very up front with them,” Bielema said about communicating with his current quarterbacks. “I think that’s the key to keeping an open discussion; we told them right away. I know our players that are here on our team who don’t play quarterback, kind of relayed to them exactly their feelings – they felt they just needed to have another person in camp with Jon [Budmayr] certainly can’t go and Curt [Phillips] not being where he needs to be, and obviously the two freshmen. With Bart Houston having his surgery, I don’t think it’s really been an issue. The part that I’ve liked about it, even Jonny Budmayr came up to me yesterday and asked for Danny’s number, so guys want to reach out to him.”

Budmayr, who was assumed to be the starting quarterback before Russell Wilson arrived on campus, missed last season with nerve issues in his throwing arm. It was not until this week Budmayr received positive news about what exactly is ailing him.

Bielema did not go into extreme detail, but he did note that the Woodstock, Ill., native will miss the rest of spring camp and will know in the next month or two if he will be able to play in 2012. If he misses another full season due to injury, Bielema noted that Budmayr would be able to earn a sixth year of eligibility per NCAA rules.

“Now they’re just trying to figure out what method – there’s been a couple different ways laid out as far as treating it,” Bielema said. “He’s got a couple different issues going and one that might be good for one area isn’t necessarily good for the other area.

“He’s upbeat, he’s very positive. This is the first time I’ve seen him really as upbeat as he is today.”

Meyer Controversy

On April 9, Sporting News published an in-depth report on Meyer’s recruiting tactics and the recent uproar that has ensued around them.

Bielema has gone on record expressing his concern over Meyer’s maneuvers and essentially preserving the Big Ten’s traditional, courteous recruiting strategies.

“When that whole thing came out … sometimes what’s being written isn’t exactly what’s reality. [The report is] getting closer to it,” Bielema said. “I don’t feel vindicated, I just know this, we handle ourselves in a certain way in the Big Ten Conference.”

One of the accusations against Meyer and his staff is that he allegedly had former OSU players contact recruits in an effort to persuade them to become a Buckeye.

Bielema especially had a vested interest in Meyer’s recruiting tactics as offensive line recruit Kyle Dodson, who was committed to UW, decided to commit to OSU instead. UW officials accused OSU of some recruiting violations during mandated dead periods.

Bielema never referenced Dodson specifically, but he did note feeling he had an obligation to voice his concerns as they arose.

“The only thing I’m worried about is all the guys we’re recruiting and how we recruit them,” Bielema said. “Obviously if you come into competition with other schools, if you become aware of anything that concerns you, you have an obligation to make that be said.”

Heisman Hopeful

With the impressive performance running back Montee Ball gave last year – 39 touchdowns, 1,923 rushing yards on 307 carries – the junior is an unavoidable topic.

Bielema confirmed his star will get a limited amount of reps in the spring game, but said he believes Ball can give an even better performance in 2012.

“Just what I’ve seen him accomplish during winter workouts, what I’ve seen right here today, and what I’ve seen through the first four practices, Montee will be a better player next year – the numbers obviously are going to have to come on its own,” Bielema said. “I think, even the NFL scouts when they were coming through, there wasn’t one question about ‘Can you repeat those numbers?’

“‘Can you repeat the performance?’ I think, is another question.”

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