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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Bielema tries to aid Smith

[media-credit name=’BEN CLASSON/Herald photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]FB-vs.-Iowa356_BC[/media-credit]P.J. Hill might have stolen the show Saturday with his 113 yards and game-winning touchdown, but sophomore Lance Smith deserves some credit as well. Hill’s backup ran for 37 yards on just five carries, including a big 30-yard pickup.

"Lance has continued to make good strides," head coach Bret Bielema said, "and as you can see, he can change the game just because of his speed, and the way he bounced that ball outside was a little different dynamic that I don’t think Iowa was prepared for just due to the flow of the game."

Smith has done a good job for the Badgers so far, but still must compete with freshman Zack Brown for the backup role.


"Whatever that 1-2 punch ends up being — whether it’s Lance, whether it’s Zach — we’ll just continue to practice," Bielema said.

"We told those players last week, how you practice during the week — between Zach and Lance — is going to determine who goes into the game first."

Still serving a suspension that prevents him for traveling to road games this season makes it tough for Smith and the Badgers, but Bielema stood up for the running back last Monday when the coach spoke to the university about Smith’s punishment.

“As a head coach you go out and recruit kids all over the country, and it’s your responsibility to try and stand up for them if you feel the situation deserves it," Bielema said. "So all I did was go over and had a very positive session with the dean of students and gave them some new information that wasn’t relevant or wasn’t present at the time of their talks with the people involved.

"Not only information from the actual incident that night, but some preceding information and definitely information that was gathered after the fact. … I know this: Lance has handled it very, very well. I know that he made a mistake and he 'fessed up to it, but where that lies right now is really determined by the people bigger than me."

Stadium atmosphere aids Badgers

As the UW football team fought its way to victory, the players and coaches were not the only factors that came into play Saturday night. The turnout of students proudly sporting their red clothing contributed to an atmosphere that was critical in the 17-13 win.

Bielema was thankful for the crowd, which was influential in forcing the Iowa Hawkeyes to burn two time-outs in the first half due to the level of noise resonating in Camp Randall.

"It was truly an amazing game-day environment," Bielema said. "Clearly [the students] were 100 percent in alignment with the Sea of Red theory, and it was overwhelming."

Due to the crowd's perpetual dedication, a photograph was taken of the picturesque stadium in the fourth quarter.

"We will be able to use [that picture] in recruiting," Bielema said. "That is a dominating thing, especially going into the fourth quarter."

Preparation key to success

The win over Iowa brought Wisconsin its 13th consecutive win, the longest current winning streak in the nation and second-longest streak in the program’s history.

"I am very proud of our staff and very fortunate to have a group of guys that I believe don't falter off the task at hand," Bielema said. "[The staff] does a great job of preparing our guys during the week."

The time and energy that go into preparing the players for each game is a key component in the result.

"[The game] on Saturday was won during the week with how we prepared," Bielema said. "We knew that Iowa, coming off a loss to their in-state rival [Iowa State], was going to come up here with every gun blazing and everything on the line being their first Big Ten game as well."

The Hawkeyes, however, were unable to contain the Badgers, who were aware of the significance the conference game would have on the remainder of the season. Bielema made it a point to emphasize the notion that the team needed to simply "play football."

"We talked a lot about letting the game come to you," Bielema said. "Sometimes when you think you're going to be good or are expected to be good, you try to make things happen, but if you rely on what is natural, good things will happen."

DeBauche highlights special teams play

Punter Ken DeBauche was named Special Teams Player of the Week by the Big Ten after his strong performance against Iowa Saturday.

"[Special teams' players] have a desire to just help the team," Bielema said. "They realize they are not really ever going to get their names in the media unless they block a punt."

The attitude of the special teams' players, combined with the relationship Bielema has with this aspect of the team (he’s the special teams coach), has resulted in strong play from the units.

"You have to create a certain type of environment to have success in [special teams'], Bielema said. "A lot of teams that have had success over time [have had] head coaches be directly involved, and I am enjoying it."

The ability of Bielema to adapt the special teams' strategy throughout the game has been helpful in solving problems that have occurred.

"We made an adjustment to their kickoff coverage after they nailed [Gilreath] and were able get positive yardage on the next return," Bielema said. "We have so many guys contributing and coming together."

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