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Wisconsin Badgers news: Gary Andersen talks Joel Stave, running backs, bye week

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Gary Andersen touched on a variety of topics in his weekly Thursday media availability. Here are the highlights.

Gary Andersen met with reporters Thursday evening for his weekly end-of-week media availability, touching on topics ranging from Joel Stave and Wisconsin's sudden lack of depth at running back to his mullet in the '80s and his memories from September 11, 2001.

Below are the highlights from Andersen. As you can see above, the full video is available on YouTube.

Redshirt decisions in the works

Running back Caleb Kinlaw will redshirt this season, Andersen said. Kinlaw had offseason surgery to repair a hernia, and 247Sports has sources saying the freshman from South Carolina will undergo a second surgery.

Taiwan Deal, another freshman running back, could also redshirt. Andersen said he's battling a hand injury, and while he should be back for the second or third Big Ten game, the team will wait to make a redshirt decision until then. Andersen said they are leaning toward a redshirt. That leaves Wisconsin with only two healthy scholarship running backs in Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement; as a result, Andersen said Dare Ogunbowale will move over to running back. Leo Musso, once he returns from injury, will do the same, though that will mainly be limited to practice reps.

Andersen added that while the team would love to save freshman offensive lineman Michael Deiter for a redshirt, it's too early in the season to make a decision.

The last running back injury update: fullback Derek Straus (shoulder) is three weeks away from returning. He is ahead of schedule, according to Andersen.

"They all get ahead of schedule, the tough ones," Andersen said. "The hard part is making sure they're back when they're ready to go."

Quarterbacks update

Andersen talked a bit about Tanner McEvoy; in summation, he likes "the direction he's heading."

As for Joel Stave, Andersen said the junior quarterback practiced with the team a little bit on Thursday and was involved in some team drills. Andersen said Stave, who's working through the yips, had a "tremendous attitude and a smile on his face."

"He's working through it," Andersen said. "I, personally, see progress, I think Joel sees progress. That's a great thing to see."

Andersen added that Stave is getting some "outside communication with some people," presumably some doctors/trainers to get help with the mental issues associated with his throwing struggles. Regarding Stave's game-to-game availability, Andersen said, "I think Joel, No. 1, is a great communicator. I think he'll know, I think we'll all have an idea of when he feels comfortable. The bottom line is that it will show in practice. I think Joel's communicated [to the media], and I know he's communicated to me, he's said, 'Coach, I know that I have to be able to practice the right way.' He's working like crazy to get there. Again, I see improvement.'

Kenzel Doe as kick returner

Asked about Kenzel Doe, who fumbled a punt return (it was recovered) vs. Western Illinois, Andersen said the senior fielded the ball well throughout camp and attributed the fumble to a variety of extraneous factors, including the Leathernecks' left-footed kicker, which is hard to emulate in practice.

"Me, personally, I'm comfortable with Kenzel back there," Andersen said. If necessary, Alex Erickson would be the next returner, Andersen said.

On rooting for Big Ten teams in non-conference play

"Boy, I think you should," Andersen said when asked if he roots for Big Ten teams when they play other non-conference games. "That's just my opinion. You should live in the moment for the position that you're in. We're all part of the Big Ten conference, and if our teams are playing, I think we should definitely cheer them on and want them to be victorious. At the end of the day, we're all in this thing together. It does help us; it helps us nationally, it helps us in recruiting, it helps our image. We all know it's taken a little bit of a hit this year. I think we would all sit back and say we'd like to see a couple of those games swing the other direction. Ours is one of those games also."

On the advantages of a bye week

"I don't think it's a huge advantage, I really don't," Andersen said. "I like the spacing of this bye for us just because of the usefulness for the team, but I would say that if it was week nine, too. I don't think it's a tremendous advantage. We use it and try to make it be an advantage, but I've never walked off and said, man, just because we had a bye week we sure played well or we didn't play well."

As for his plans on Saturday with the day off, Andersen said, "I'm going to sit at home, Saturday, wake up, probably jump in the hot tub, hang out and watch a whole bunch of football."

On Rafael Gaglianone

"He brings a lot of enthusiasm," Andersen said of UW's freshman kicker. "I think he brings a confidence. He's not real happy that he missed one the last game. He has a little edge to him that sometimes kickers have, sometimes kickers don't, just like sometimes an offensive lineman does or an offensive lineman doesn't. But he's got that edge and competitiveness, and he's a very, very good teammate. He has a big care factor, and in a short period of time for his team and Wisconsin. To this point, he's been a very solid kicker."

Andersen said special teams coach Jeff Genyk attributed the missed field goal vs. Western Illinois to a fast operation between Gaglianone and the holder.

Important: Is there a head of hair that tops Vince Biegel's right now?

"Mine did. Mine did," Andersen said. "I tell him that all the time, he'll never catch me. I had hydrogen peroxide blonde streaks in mine. I told him that, and he's like, 'I'm not doing that.' He might do the tips, he told me that. Frosty tips? That doesn't fit Biegel. [Rocky] Biegel will be here in one second, saying, 'Not so fast.'"

On his memories of 9/11

"We were preparing to play Air Force in a defensive staff meeting room," Andersen said. "We found out about it and spent the rest of the day, you know, staring at the TVs. We didn't have TVs in our offices, so I remember going to the film room and there were, whatever, 15 coaches crowded around a 20-inch TV looking at something that was unbelievable and changed our lives forever."