MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema held his weekly press conference Monday, kicking off a week of practice before the Badgers (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) host the Oregon State Beavers (0-1, 0-0 Pac-12). The Badgers will be on ESPN for the second week in a row, after beating UNLV 51-17 last Thursday.
Closing the book on UNLV
Despite Russell Wilson's breakout performance, where he completed 10 of 13 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns, the Badgers' performance was far from perfect on Thursday and the coaches would be the first to admit it.
Players and coaches commented after the game that UNLV showed the defense a few pistol sets that they weren't prepared for, and it made them adjust their game plan on the field.
"They ran a lot of different sets and motions and things that we had not seen or worked on," co-defensive coordinator Chris Ash said on Sunday, "It was completely different from that standpoint, so there was definitely some adjusting going on the sideline."
While Ash said his players and coaches did a great job on the sideline adjusting to UNLV's unfamiliar sets, their new sets forced the Badgers to start from scratch on defense.
"We had to basically throw our game plan out the window," Ash said. "It was a little different than what we had planned on going into the game. We did a lot of just four-man rush because we thought we could get to the quarterback, and they did a good job."
Ash's coaching partner, Charlie Partridge was also happy with the pass rush he saw on Thursday, despite having to scrap the original game plan.
"When we were installing the defense to defend against the pistol it took our priorities away from going to pressure as much as we wanted to," Partridge said. "[The pass rush] was a good start, there were a couple times I'd like to see a guy finish a move here or there, or get closer to the quarterback, but there were examples we can build from."
Looking ahead to Oregon State
Even though the Beavers lost 29-28 to FCS Sacramento State, Bielema was quick to give credit to the Hornets but noted that his team won't change their preparation for when they welcome the Beavers to Camp Randall this Saturday.
"When we play Oregon State, when we played UNLV last week, when we play Northern Illinois next week- it's about us, our preparation, and that's something that keeps our guys on a pretty steady course," Bielema said.
The Badgers have one extra factor in their favor this week- Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst's pro-style offense is very similar to Oregon State's, probably left over from Chryst's time as the Beavers' offensive coordinator from 2003-2005.
"You'll see a lot of carryover from Oregon State's offense to our offense," Bielema said. "Yeah, personnel is different- we probably have bigger personnel- two tight ends, two backs and one wideout a lot more than they do. You'll see a lot of the same concepts, but yet they're both a little bit different."
Fans might recognize a few of the Beavers' plays on Saturday- Bielema said they tend to use shifts and motions in the same way the Badgers do (think back to David Gilreath running a jet sweep last year,) but with essentially two capable quarterbacks the plays might vary depending on who is under center for the Beavers.
- Left guard Travis Frederick is not on this week's depth chart. Bielema said Frederick is suffering from a slight MCL sprain, and that redshirt sophomore Ryan Groy will probably start in Frederick's place against the Beavers.
- Backup quarterback Jon Budmayr had surgery on his injured arm last Friday. Bielema said there isn't a set timetable for his return- it depends on how the nerve in Budmayr's elbow reacts to the surgery. For now, redshirt freshman Joe Brennan will back up Wilson.
- Wide receiver Manasseh Garner is back on the depth chart for the Oregon State game, where he is listed with Kenzel Doe as Jared Abbrederis' backup. The 6'2" receiver was forced to miss the UNLV game after undergoing surgery for a hernia.
News and Notes
-- Montee Ball and James White split the week one Offensive MVP award, after amassing a combined 311 all-purpose yards against the Rebels. Fullback Bradie Ewing took home the MVP award on special teams.
-- Defensive tackle Ethan Hemer took home the Defensive MVP award. "Ethan had a really solid game," co-defensive coordinator Charlie Partridge said on Sunday. "He did a nice job, was productive, and got involved in a lot of tackles. He's a guy that continues to do a really nice job there on the interior."
-- Offensive lineman Ray Ball and Derek Watt took home the offensive and defensive awards for the scout team, respectively. It doesn't look like it took Watt long to make an impact, a year after his older brother J.J. helped lead the Badgers to the Rose Bowl.
-- Running backs Melvin Gordon and Jeff Lewis will get some work with the return games in the near future, and Bielema said Gordon has a chance to return kicks in the future.
-- One interesting fact- Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and Oregon State head coach Mike Riley know each other pretty well. Chryst has worked with Riley for a combined total of six years- three years as Riley's tight ends coach with the San Diego Chargers, and three years as Oregon State's offensive coordinator.
"The relationship that Paul and Mike have is really one of the great things about our profession," Bielema said. "You lose more coaching friendships in recruiting than you do on Saturdays. Fortunately for us we don't recruit a lot against Oregon State, and if you know Mike and Paul you'll know why they're good friends."
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).