This Saturday at Soldier Field, the Badgers will take on a Northern Illinois squad coached by Dave Doeren, who was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin for the past five years. This is not the first time in recent history that the Badgers are facing a team with a former UW defensive coach on the sideline. In 2009, Wisconsin traveled to Evanston, IL to take on Northwestern in a late season tilt. The Wildcats defensive coordinator was (and still is) Mike Hankwitz, who was co-defensive coordinator at Wisconsin with Doeren in 2006 and 2007.
The Badgers lost that game in Evanston 33-31, and many Wisconsin players suspected that Northwestern knew their defensive calls and signals. This was not actually the case, but Northwestern did find a way to get in their heads.
"Through the course of time. I found out, all they did was tell their players to mimic every signal we gave," Bret Bielema said. "They didn’t even know what they meant, but it messed with our kids’ heads."
Bielema refuses to let this be an issue this year, as the Badgers again head to the Chicago area to take on a former defensive coordinator's new team. He had co-defensive coordinators Chris Ash and Charlie Partridge change all of the defensive signals and communications this offseason, to eliminate any potential doubt among the players that Doeren might know what's coming from the Badgers' defense.
Off Tackle Empire has their week two power poll up and posted. Wisconsin has a stranglehold on the title of best Big Ten team right now, though one voter did have Ohio State at the top of their ballot. That voter must have been really impressed with the Buckeyes' victory over Toledo.
With Devin Smith out for the season, the Badgers' could really use a young DB stepping up and contributing. Freshman Devin Gaulden could be that guy. He returned to practice this week and is trying to get into game shape after missing the entire preseason.
Our good friend OBSIMH previews the first two months of Wisconsin Basketball over at BT Powerhouse. Everybody should head over there and tell the Michigan State troll in the comments that we didn't need a tough non-conference slate to beat the Spartans 82-56 last year.
According to TiqIQ, the Badgers now have the 19th highest ticket prices in the country at $139. Supposedly the Gophers have the 25th highest at $130, which I find slightly hard to believe.
It was a good week of NFL football for former Wisconsin defensive linemen, as O'Brien Schofield, Matt Shaughnessy, and J.J. Watt all had solid games. Check out how the rest of the former Badgers did in week one.
I hope you have ESPN3.com so you can watch this weekend's game, because it will not be aired on any television channel. Alternatively, you could head to Soldier Field for the matchup, as many tickets are still available.
Elliot Hughes at the Badger Herald writes that it is up to the Badgers' newly banged-up secondary to prevent an upset this weekend.
Here's some video highlights of Northern Illinois vs. Wisconsin, 2009 edition. Enjoy!