Yes, the college football season technically got underway on Saturday, with an awesome FCS contest between Montana and North Dakota State. Check SBNation.com's recap if you missed it.
But for us Wisconsin fans, game week starts now, with the long-awaited season opener coming this Saturday against Alabama in Texas. To get us started right, we're bringing Badger Bits back on hopefully a daily basis. We know things were slow at times over the offseason, so we thank you for sticking around and still coming by to read and chat Badgers.
We have much more in store for the week, but for now, check out a collection of Monday morning links. We'll check in with Alabama during the week with a Roll Bama Roll Q&A, a preview or two and probably a Tide-specific Bits post later on.
The Badgers will begin their weekly in-season Monday press conferences today. Paul Chryst will speak at 12:30 p.m. CT, and you can watch that live on BTN2Go. We'll be there, so be sure to follow @B5Q on Twitter if you aren't already. After Chryst, Michael Caputo, Corey Clement, Joe Schobert and Joel Stave will speak with reporters.
Now, onto the links...
Paul Chryst's past makes him perfect fit for UW | Madison.com Here's a nice run-through of Chryst's path to becoming Wisconsin's head coach. There's the familiar anecdote of Chryst sneaking onto the Camp Randall field as a kid, thoughts on his return from himself and Barry Alvarez -- and even Bret Bielema, who notes that Chryst left a lot on the table in order to stay in Madison as long as he did before his short tenure at Pitt.
"I know that Wisconsin held a special place in his heart," Bielema said. "He pulled on those emotions all the time, too. He was presented with numerous job opportunities, turned down many, many opportunities — and a lot of times for more money — to stay where he was at and what he felt was a really, really good situation for him and his family."
Among several returnees to Madison on Chryst's staff is Kolodziej, the former Wisconsin defensive tackle and seven-year NFL veteran who was an assistant strength and conditioning coach at UW under Ben Herbert and later followed Chryst to Pitt as his strength coach. The basis of this story is how Kolodziej has brought a more traditional approach to the weight room that has been well received by the players.
"It seemed much more like the old days," senior wide receiver Jordan Fredrick said. "It was much different. As a whole, it felt much better."
Specifically, Jim Polzin writes, that meant a lot more Olympic weightlifting over the summer: cleans, squats, overhead presses and the like. It remains to be seen what kind of results the new approach brings, but just take a look at this anecdote Polzin passes along -- and try not cringe:
While players are reluctant to publicly criticize Andersen or Simon, several privately pointed to one particularly humbling moment from the 2014 season: a 59-0 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
The most shocking part of that game for the Badgers wasn't how much more athletic the eventual national champion Buckeyes were, it was how Ohio State was so much bigger, stronger and more physical than UW.
When the new coaching staff arrived, there was genuine shock about the state of the offensive line, typically the bedrock of a program built on brute strength and power.
One of the most frequently touted players this offseason, linebacker Vince Biegel has widely been pegged as a breakout candidate for Wisconsin. Badgers fans will like to hear this:
"Now it's just trying to pin my friggin' ears back and become the player I want to be," he said. "That is the goal."