MADISON, Wis. – How do you keep up with Oregon?
It’s a question Bret Bielema has had to answer repeatedly since earning a Rose Bowl berth against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game. And as the Rose Bowl matchup with the Ducks draws nearer, Bielema is getting more specific.
To keep up with Oregon’s high-octane philosophy, you need be prepared.
"I won’t get into degrees of difficulty, but you need unique preparation," Bielema said. "One point of emphasis I’ve made to the kids is that we have extended prep for this game, which is critical. You look at some of the games they’ve played with extended prep: the  Rose Bowl, the beginning of this year with LSU, last year at the end of the year, so there’s several things you can draw from."
In fact, one of the biggest benefits the Badgers have is they have more than a week to prepare for Oregon’s style. Other Pac-12 teams and non-conference foes don’t usually have that luxury.
"These guys would be very hard to play within a week," Bielema said. "But with the extended prep, and the opportunity to slow things down a bit mentally is going to be great."
"I like the fact that a lot of people don’t have confidence in what we’re able to do."
Getting extra perpetration time is one thing, but how can the Badgers get used to playing at a faster pace? For one thing, the Badgers are changing how long they practice during the week.
"One of the things that I’ve [used] this year, normally we might get into a 22 or 24 period practice … [For the Rose Bowl,] all practices will be 18 periods or less," Bielema said. "I want shorter, crisper, faster practices, and then … one of the things I’ve never done as a head coach is post-practice conditioning. For this game with these shorter practices, we will emphasize conditioning at the end of practice."
And while the Badgers don’t do it often, Bielema has cut practices down before and seen good results. In particular, Bielema told media members he had been cutting practices short during the week leading up to hosting Nebraska. And while that might have worked against a fellow Big Ten team, time will tell if fresh legs pays off in Pasadena.
-- Center Peter Konz has not practiced with the team yet, but Bielema is hoping to work him in sometime soon. Konz will also seek a second opinion on his injured ankle, and Bielema is aware that Konz’s injury might have an effect on his NFL draft stock.
News and Notes
-- Oregon is widely known across college football for their distinct uniform combinations, as well as their affiliation with Nike. But the Badgers, an adidas school, might have a uniform update on the way for the Rose Bowl as well.
"I’m going to modify and adjust our uniforms a little bit, and I think that’s something [the players] will be excited about," Bielema said. "It’s a BCS Rose Bowl matchup between an adidas school and a Nike school … it’s a very unique situation because you have Wisconsin, who’s red and white uniforms, and to incorporate a rose theme in that type of environment is going to be pretty cool."
"Not everything has been finalized yet … I can guarantee you we won’t be wearing red pants. Anything else id kind of up for grabs."
-- Bradie Ewing has certainly earned a chance to play in the NFL, and one team that was in to scout him recently was the Green Bay Packers. However, Bielema said he couldn’t tell Ewing the Packers might give him a chance because "He might faint."
-- Badgers offensive tackle Ricky Wagner has been "beat up" by agents recently, hoping he would leave school early and declare for the NFL draft. After sitting down with Bielema, however, Wagner has decided to remain at Wisconsin for his senior season.
"Ricky’s just a real quiet kid, he’s got a plan in mind … [and] he’s come a long way from where he is today," Bielema said.
Join the Badger conversation on Facebook! Go to our Facebook page and "like" us!
For more Badger Football and Basketball news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter (@JohnVeldhuis).