Badgers preparing to weather the storm

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin's season is already building to a crescendo as the No. 6 Badgers (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten) prepare to host the No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0, 0-0) for the first time as fellow conference members. The hype for the Top 10 matchup has been building ever since the game was first announced, and the national media is set to descend on Madison this week, with ESPN's College GameDay broadcasting from Bascom Hill Saturday morning. 

But don't tell that to the Badgers themselves. They're determined to keep their preparation for Nebraska as normal as possible, despite all the attention they're receiving. 

"If I said it wasn't a big game I'd be crazy, but it's definitely going to be a great game," Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson said. "There's a lot of excitement out there. But at the same time you have to relax and just avoid all that excitement, in terms of the outside stuff, and just focus on us and what we need to do."

Center Peter Konz realizes that the Cornhuskers present a much bigger challenge than any of the Badgers' non-conference opponents, and that they'll have to be on their game.

"As a team we have to know exactly what they're coming with, and be mentally sharp," Konz said. "That might mean extra film, that might mean staying a bit longer and making sure you have your assignment down, maybe a little more extra practice time afterwards."

"This is the game you want to be in. This is the game where you want to show people what you've got."

The Badgers will have a chance to show the nation they aren't a non-conference wonder, but they'll have to emerge victorious against the Cornhuskers on Saturday to prove they belong with the nation's elite.

"One thing that we have to understand is that they're going to make some plays and we're going to make some plays," Wilson said. "And so we have to be the team that weathers the storm and the team that makes one more."

News and Notes

-- Sports Illustrated has a feature on the Wisconsin offensive line this week, and Konz joked with reporters about the article after practice Tuesday.

"Everybody wants to know what's up with our offensive line, why historically Wisconsin has a good program, how we're able to move with our weight," Konz said. "And then of course the lead-up to Nebraska is going to be in there, but I like to think it's all about the O-line."

-- Running back James White said one thing he learned from last year's game against Ohio State was how important it is for the team to start fast. He mentioned former Badgers wideout David Gilreath, who returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown last year, and said he wants to set the tone for the game if the Badgers get the ball first. 

"It gives me a little edge to try and match that or do something, even if I didn't return it just make a big return and give the offense a little more momentum," White said. 

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For more Badger Football news, notes and discussion, follow John on Twitter (@JohnVeldhuis).

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