Coach Bielema gave an enlightening interview to the Big Ten Network, below. Some things of note:
(1) Sherer is in the lead. He says so specifically. Something I noticed about the quarterback discussion in 2007 and 2008? Bielema and Chryst both gave direct answers that were prescient about who would start. With Donovan, he had an understanding of the playbook and toughness, whereas Evridge needed more consistency. Then with Evridge it was experience, but everyone needed to be more consistent (then experience wasn't getting it done). All of that was absolutely true.
Bielema's doing the same things. (1) Sherer has the "upper hand" and has taken a big step forward this Spring. (2) Notice the paucity of remarks about Phillips. The only thing he says is that the Spring start last year helped him; nothing about what he's doing right. (3) Tolzein does certain things well, but isn't flexible: i.e., doesn't read defenses, breakdowns well. (4) Budmayr? Looks good. Seriously, we aren't starting a true freshman.
Bielema tells us what he's thinking, really. I'll be moderately surprised if Sherer isn't the starter in the fall.
Some other things? He was more positive about Clay than Settle was a week ago. Still, expect Brown to get around 40% of the carries. He's more versatile, and Clay's size won't allow him to take many more than 60% of the carries.
Oglesby vs. Konz? This is the big battle that's suprising folks (Bscherer is firmly planted at guard). A by-line in an article in the Journal Sentinel, and now Bielema's comments to BTN? Ok, maybe. Taking a wild guess, the coaches think Oglesby isn't working hard enough and they're pushing him to work harder. As long as he responds, he's still the right tackle.
There's been a lot of emphasis on the change in the conditioning program. I like big, strong football players. What I'm hoping is that we have a defense that isn't gassed in the second half. That's been a consistent theme over the years under Bielema. It needs to end.
The team is practicing turnovers. That's a good thing. It was a major problem last season, so I'm happy to hear the coaching staff is addressing it.
Finally, no more weakside or strongside linebackers. Like the safeties and also the ends, the defense will be playing left and right, not strong and weak. Apparently this is part of the recognition of how things need to change to defend the spread.
Here's the interview:
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