MADISON, Wis. -- The media frenzy is building. Bret Bielema spoke with a host of reporters after practice Thursday, and made it clear he's not concerned about how his players will handle the extra attention. He mentioned that most of the 70 -player traveling roster was on the team last year when the Badgers knocked off then-No. 1 Ohio State.
"I'm not really worried about [the team] handling it," Bielema said. "Plus we've kind of had a lot of exposure since the first day of camp, so I think the camera's have kind of gone away in their mind."
That's not to say there aren't distractions, though. Bielema knows these types of games always bring extra things he can't control.
"One thing I am guarded against is just outside distractions," Bielema said. "You know, you have more people who want tickets. You have 'Uncle Joe and Aunt Jan' want to come to dinner on Thursday, and just a lot of outside stuff."
Despite the distractions, Bielema knows how big of a game this is for his program, and that his players haven't been overconfident heading into Saturday's Top 10 battle.
"I know it's big," Bielema said. "I think it's a fun thing, I know there's a buzz amongst the fan base for sure."
"Our guys are just excited to play. They take every game for what it is."
-- Bielema said strong safety Shelton Johnson started practicing again today, but he is day to day and probably won't play on Saturday. Dezmen Southward will step in for Johnson if necessary.
News and Notes
-- Senior tackle Josh Oglesby will get the start on the right side after sitting out against South Dakota, but Bielema said Rob Havenstein will get some playing time during the game.
-- Linebacker Kevin Claxton will probably start at linebacker on Saturday, after getting a limited amount of playing time after breaking a bone in his hand against UNLV.
-- Senior kicker Philip Welch went four for four in practice today, and Bielema said they might ket him kick on Saturday. Welch would bring a big boost to the unit, which has been inconsistent during his absence.
-- Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez spoke with the team after practice today
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).