MADISON, Wis. - Bret Bielema has said several times that he knew the Badgers were capable of winning the Big Ten after they lost to Michigan State last year. And while this year's loss came on much different circumstances, he was still able to get a general feeling from his team after the game.
"I think the way they responded in the fourth quarter when there was adversity showed that they know how to respond," Bielema said. "And then this week, I said a couple times to our staff, when I was looking around the locker room after the game last year, I remember a lot of sad faces, a lot of emotions."
"This year I just saw a lot of angry people. Guys that were frustrated and angry. I think [they] want to get out there and play they game how they know how."
The Badgers will have to come out and play with anger this Saturday against Ohio State, where they have to take on a Buckeye team hungry for revenge after last year's 31-18 upset in Camp Randall Stadium.
And while Bielema hasn't said if he knows whether his team can win another Big Ten Championship after losing to Michigan State again, Badger fans and the college football world will have a better idea after Saturday.
Dehn Drops Football
Bielema told reporters after practice today that sophomore offensive lineman Casey Dehn left the football team on Tuesday, after deciding he wanted to focus on track and field.
"I could see it kind of coming, during spring last year, during the summer," Bielema said. "I just didn't know if he wanted to keep going. I know he had made reference to that to some people, he came in Tuesday morning."
"[He] fell out of love with the game, and we're going to give him all the support we can. We're sad to see it, but it's one of those things."
Dehn had been backing up Ricky Wagner at left tackle, but Bielema said Ryan Groy could also play at tackle. Groy is currently backing up Travis Frederick at left guard, and already started a game this season after Frederick sat out a game with a knee injury.
-- Montee Ball has been practicing with the team all week, so he is good to go against Ohio State on Saturday night.
-- Wide receiver Fred Wilis is still not at full strength, but Bielema thinks he should be back 100% by this Tuesday.
-- Defensive end David Gilbert hoped to return this week after breaking his foot before the Nebraska game, but his x-ray this week didn't show enough improvement for the coaches to give him the OK for this week. Look for him to return maybe next week against Purdue, but Bielema thinks it will most likely be in two weeks against Minnesota.
News and Notes
-- Count Bielema as a supporter of giving athletes a $2,000 stipend. The NCAA passed a package of reforms Friday, which gave conferences the option of paying student-athletes in addition to their athletic scholarships.
"I think [that] makes a lot of sense," Bielema said.
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