Smile, Badgers fans. The offensive line is set for Saturday's season-opener with Northern Iowa.
Bret Bielema met with the media following Thursday's practice, likely his last public comments before Saturday's season-opener against Northern Iowa.
Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a nice notes roundup, but the big news -- fairly big, considering the proximity of the opener -- is that Zac Matthias will start at right guard. Bielema did say Kyle Costigan will also get some work. Read up on both players in Andy's excellent offensive line preview from earlier this week.
Matthias, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound junior, enters the season with with 18 games of experience, but no starts. He and Costigan battled for the starting gig for much of fall camp, though you have to imagine Costigan's limited exposure to playing on the offensive line -- he switched from the defensive line in the spring -- as well as various injuries were hard to overcome. Matthias also battled some back issues that held him back earlier in camp.
More updates after the jump.
- Tight end Brock DeCicco and running back Kyle Zuleger both were awarded scholarships. DeCicco sat out 2011 after transferring from Pitt, while Zuleger has primarily been a special teams player. The moves put Wisconsin at the maximum 85 scholarships for 2012.
"Usually I wait until a kid proves it on the field," Bielema said. "But Brock gave up a scholarship to come here. And he has put himself in a position to be our second tight end in a multiple of scenarios, as well as on all four special teams."
- Very important: come Saturday, the Badgers will take the Camp Randall Stadium field from a different tunnel. I assume the U2 and sleek intro video -- slightly updated each year, perhaps this time with Brad Nortman highlights? -- will remain the same, but the construction of the Student-Athlete Performance Center is causing the change of entrance.
- Additional injury round-up: Wide receiver Chase Hammond (foot) and linebacker Vince Biegel (foot) are out. Tight end Sam Arneson (knee) is expected to play.