Coach Bielema sat down with the Wisconsin beat reporters yesterday afternoon. He was a little more open that the QB position is Evridge's to lose (like Tyler Donovan last year, someone has to beat him out).
He was more thorough updating injury status. It sounds like the d-line, Chaffee, Newkirk, DeKremer, and Shaughnessy are all a little limited headed into the fall, but that he's hopeful that they will practice together. During tw0-a-days, they are likely to only go half the time.
He's pleased with the progress of Mario Goins (CB), Chris Maragos (CB/FS), Jeff Stehle (DT) and O'Brien Schofield (DE). We should expect to see them on the two-deep and all getting significant playing time this fall.
At strong safety, Jai Valai (soph.) seems to have the upper hand, but Bielema said Aubrey Pleasant (jr.) looked as good as he ever has in the Spring, so it's not clear he's been passed over yet.
At running back, the competition is wide open. "Whoever plays best will be that [1st team] guy." Left Guard Andy Kemp told the same reporters that PJ Hill has slimmed down a little and looks as good as he ever has. This means (a) he might be a little faster; and (b) he's feeling the heat from Brown and Clay. The staff writers at the Journal Sentinel seem very high on Clay right now, going so far as to suggest that Smith or Brown should redshirt this year. Of course, that was before Bielema dismissed Smith, so probably not an issue any longer. Moreover, while Clay flashes great talent, the Wisconsin football guru I know told me that was more hype than substance. I'd be surprised if Clay took many snaps from Hill this season. As between Brown and Clay? Brown's experience last season and his ability to read and pick-up blitzes likely gives him the edge in playing time over Clay.
Whoever the feature back is, Kemp was adamant that the Badgers will "get back" to running the ball hard. The way he said it made it sound like he views that in contrast to the last couple of years.
Bielema gave out a little more detail on scheduling. He said ESPN really drove the night games, but that the financial benefit to merchants throughout Madison was an added bonus. Along those lines, he conceded that body bag games are money makers for the school and the city and that they are getting more expensive (mid-major teams are looking for a bigger payout).
Finally, Bielema is in favor of the new emphasis BigTen officials will put on flagging helmet-to-helmet hits. He's sick of seeing Michigan State jack up Kyle Jefferson, including ESPN recently featuring it on the Espy's. (here, with commentary):
He acknowledged football fans like big hits, but where player safety is concerned, he wants to see the media do the right thing. He pointed out that Penn State did when they pulled from their highlight reels the hit quarterback Michael Robinson put on Minnesota safety Brandon Owens after learning Owens suffered serious, lasting injury (no use of his arm).
The Journal Sentinel has audio to all the interviews, including Travis Beckum, DeAndre Levy, and Andy Kemp on it's Badgers page, here
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