MADISON, Wis. - The Badgers have another chance to get back on track against Purdue on Saturday, but Bret Bielema doesn't think his team's losses over the last two weeks have changed his team's expectations.
"I think our expectations are the same," Bielema said. "We expect to try and compete and win every game, that hasn't changed. All the things that's going around [us], from the ranking standpoint, but our expectations haven't changed."
The Badgers find themselves benefitting from the new divisional format of the Big Ten, even after their two losses. Thanks to the new divisional split, the Badgers are still in the hunt for a second straight Big Ten title, even though they don't completely control their fate.
As for the game on Saturday, there's always a risk of a team coming out flat after a few deflating losses. But Bielema seemed confident in his team's ability to bounce back in front of their home crowd.
"I think our guys [will respond]," Bielema said. "Just like they responded in the fourth quarter [against Ohio State] I think is why they'll respond well for this game."
Abbrederis making a mark
Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis might not currently have a scholarship, but that might not last much longer. The sophomore should get a lot of consideration for a scholarship in the second semester, and Bielema thinks Abbrederis is playing well enough to be the No. 1 wide receiver on the team.
"I think he might be a No. 1 now," Bielema said. "He's a playmaker, he's just got that knack of going and getting the football. The thing about Abby is that obviously he makes a lot of great catches, and does a lot of good things, but his blocking, and some of the things he does downfield allows some of our big runs to happen is really incredible."
-- All of the starters from last week's game against Ohio State are cleared to play, according to Bielema.
-- Ethan Armstrong had surgery on his hand, but he is planning on playing against Purdue with a club on his hand. Armstrong injured his hand previously, but wanted to wait until after Ohio State and Michigan State to have surgery.
News and Notes
-- The coaching staff will be on the lookout on Saturday. Bielema said the Boilermakers like to run about two or three trick plays per game.
-- Badger fans should keep an eye out for Montee Ball's new hairdo on the sideline on Saturday. The Badgers' star running back had an unfortunate accident with a razor during the week, so he decided to shave his head. The new ‘do had even Bielema confused, who mistook Ball for his fellow running back James White.
"I didn't even know who was standing there the other day," Bielema said.
Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!
For more Badger Football news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter (@JohnVeldhuis).