MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Badgers didn't expect to be tied with Purdue in the Leaders division when this week rolled around. After suffering their second straight gut-wrenching loss, the Badgers need to regroup and respond positively if they want to salvage their once-promising season. With four games left in the season, they don't have any more room for error. But Bret Bielema believes his team can respond from this most recent heartbreaker.
"From what I've seen from this group, I know that they're going to respond very positively, and come back with a good week of practice," Bielema said during his Monday press conference. "For us to get where we need to be, we need to take care of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and take care of Saturday."
That's an important step for a team which needs to take care of its own business before they can worry about the rest of the Big Ten.
"Purdue is our challenge," Bielema said. "I think anytime you're in this situation, the more you can focus on the task at hand it just helps the picture become clearer overall."
And while Bielema said he didn't think the team's struggles the last two weeks were from a lack of accountability, he knows the seniors will need to play a big part in leading the team back from the edge.
"This is a team that's always been about senior legacies, so I know our seniors are feeling the challenge that's in front of them," Bielema said. "We've kind of always talked about being accountable for what we start. Bottom line - we've lost two games. You've got to own it [and] embrace it."
In the end, it's been a frustrating two weeks for Bielema and the Badgers.
"I understand why people are upset. Believe me, there's nobody more upset than me. But we didn't make a fool of ourselves. We lost a couple games on heartaches that will last for a lifetime."
-- Defensive end David Gilbert is not listed on the depth chart for this week, and it's more likely that he will return to play next week on the road against Minnesota.
-- Other than a few bumps and bruises, there aren't any new injuries on the team that should affect playing time.
News and Notes
-- No MVPs this week - the Badgers don't give out awards after a loss.
-- It sounded to me like Bielema is planning on having to replace both Montee Ball and Peter Konz after this season. Both juniors are eligible to leave for the NFL draft after this season, and we won't know for sure until after the season.
-- The Badgers and Gophers will battle for Paul Bunyan's axe next Saturday, but a time has not been set for the game. According to a tweet from the Minnesota athletic department, the game has been placed on a list where the time can be set as late as six days out.
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