MADISON, Wis. -- After blowing out UNLV and with games against NIU and Nebraska still looming on the schedule, it would be easy for the Badgers to overlook Oregon State. After all, the Beavers lost in overtime to FCS Sacramento State and have two playmakers on the shelf in James Rodgers and Malcolm Agnew.
But head coach Bret Bielema did not sound concerned after practice Thursday, and in fact was happy with how his team practiced this week.
"I think our guys have really bought into 'It doesn't matter what happens on the other side of the ball, it's about what we do, how we prepare,'" Bielema said, "And they've had a good week so hopefully that will come out on Saturday."
Bielema added the Badgers' weren't drastically changing their game plan to deal with both of Oregon State's quarterbacks.
"We have to understand who's in the game, but there wasn't much change in their offense," Bielema said. "Both of them seem to be accurate, both of them have good composure, and can run a little if given the opportunity."
"What they do isn't going to change a lot. They're going to come back and they're going to try and be the most improved team in college football."
Bielema doesn't care about schedules
As Adam Tupitza wrote earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal recently accused the Badgers of lacking courage in their non-conference scheduling. However, Bret Bielema denied any lack of courage by the Badgers.
"The thing that I will not do is I'm not gonna go play somebody in a big time BCS [conference] if they're not going to come to Madison," Bielema said. "That's been the number one thing we can't overcome is that people don't want to come here. Which is a good thing, but it's a bad thing when you're trying to schedule."
Since the Badgers have a 44-4 record in Camp Randall since Bielema joined the staff as Barry Alvarez's defensive coordinator, it isn't hard to see why other BCS teams wouldn't want to travel to Madison for a non-conference game.
-- Wide receiver Manasseh Garner will play after a hernia surgery sidelined him for the Badgers' first game.
-- Linebacker A.J. Fenton will likely make his season debut against Oregon State this Saturday, Bielema said. Fenton, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury, will start on two of the four special teams units.
"He's probably our fastest linebacker, so getting him back would be a huge asset," Bielema said.
-- Linebacker Marcus Trotter is out for this weekend, after re-aggravating a hamstring injury. Josh Harrison will be the Badgers' No. 2 middle linebacker in his place.
-- Offensive lineman Travis Frederick practiced today, but is still out for Saturday.
News and Notes
-- Bielema had high praise for defensive end Louis Nzegwu Thursday, who registered two sacks against the Rebels.
"[Louis] is playing his best football," Bielema said. "He just has a couple things to clean up, and now he has a little bit of an edge."
-- Iraq veteran Greg Russo is still on the Badgers' roster as a linebacker, but he cannot play in a game this year.
"[Russo] is actually not cleared to play. He'll never see the field this year," Bielema said. "But he was very passionate about it. He basically said to me 'This dream was something that [I] used to motivate [myself],' and I wasn't going to take away that dream."
"I'd love to go out and run him for one play, but of course any game he plays we'll lose."
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