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Badger Bits: White provides welcome change of pace

Bret Bielema likes what James White brings to the table as a speedy third running back. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Bret Bielema likes what James White brings to the table as a speedy third running back. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Good morning all, and happy Friday! Here are your Badger Bits for Friday, September 10th.

As Adam Rittenberg writes for, freshman running back James White has been a welcome change of pace for the Badger running attack. Wisconsin has traditionally turned out power running backs such as returning Big Ten offensive player of the year John Clay, and former players PJ Hill and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne, so it came as a surprise to some when White committed to Wisconsin last year.

"I probably would have had more playing time [elsewhere], but I wasn't really looking for something like that," White said. "I wanted to go somewhere where I could earn my way to the [top] spot."

White has a much different skill set than fellow running backs like Clay and Montee Ball, where his 5-10 and 198 pound frame allows him to use his speed to catch opposing defenses off guard. Here's how Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema describes the situation:

"I'd probably describe it as first, second and third gear," Bielema said. "John is a first-down back that can give you a little bit of everything. He's got a power, he does a great job of hitting it up inside, and also has the ability to break it away. Montee is maybe a little bit more on the speed-oriented side, although he can hit it up inside and has been good for us on second and third down.

"And then James is your third-gear guy. He's definitely the fastest of the crew, very shifty, very capable of making guys miss. Even if you don't block a guy and there's still guys standing free, you’re not necessarily going to tackle him."

More Badger Bits after the jump!

Mike Lucas of tells us that while Barry Alvarez wanted to find a way to preserve the annual rivalry between Wisconsin and Iowa, obviously that didn't pan out very well. Lucas also did a piece on Alvarez and Don Davey's induction into the UW Hall of Fame. also has a report on what carry-ins are allowed at Camp Randall Stadium this Saturday. Probably important to check out if you're planning on being in attendance tomorrow! Do you think they'll allow my cardboard replica of Paul Bunyan's axe at the homecoming game?

Adam Rittenberg of has his list up of the things to watch in the Big Ten for Week 2. Rittenberg mentions the Badgers need to work on playing mistake-free football.

Offensive lineman Ricky Wagner may start tomorrow in place of right tackle Josh Oglesby- Bielema hasn't been impressed with Oglesby's performance. Wagner also has been given a scholarship after coming to the team as a walk on.

And finally, the Badger Herald has a story up about Wisconsin's new approach to defense.

Excited yet? Wisconsin kicks off tomorrow at 11:00 CST, and you can catch the game on ESPN.