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Wisconsin football: Corey Clement, Badgers prepare to face Alabama

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The Badgers are five days away from facing a national powerhouse.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The day is almost here.

In just five days, the Wisconsin Badgers will open their season against No. 3 Alabama.

It's the program's largest regular season challenge since dethroning top-ranked Ohio State in 2010, but the Badgers don't appear to be fazed as they enter game week.

"This year is this year," junior running back Corey Clement said. "It's not last year. Everybody has a fresh start. Everybody is 0-0. You just want to have trust and faith in that you can go out here and play the same game that you would in week two or three, and that it doesn't matter that it's just week one. You gotta prepare for every other game the same."

Of course, the Crimson Tide aren't just any other opponent, however. In light of that, the Badgers have been putting in preparation since the end of spring ball, Clement said.

Playing at AT&T Stadium -- or "Jerry's Universe", as Clement called it -- Wisconsin athletics makes its first return to North Texas since the men's basketball team's Final Four run in 2014.

"You couldn't ask for a better team or a better venue to do it in," senior quarterback Joel Stave said.

"This is the reason you come to a school like this, this is the reason you play college football is to play teams like Alabama at a stadium like that. It's going to be a good atmosphere I think."

Last season, Wisconsin opened up with a 28-24 loss to No. 13 LSU. For the Badgers, marquee openers have their upside.

"In terms of getting through the off-season workouts and winter conditioning, it's better to start with a big-name opponent because when you're going through those workouts, sometimes you want to question why you're doing those," senior outside linebacker Joe Schobert said. "You can just look at the horizon and see that name on the first week and we have to be ready for that team, because if you don't show up, they could embarrass you, so you gotta keep working hard, keep pushing so you can show people you can compete."

As expected, the confident Clement showed no indication of backing down to the program that has won three national championships since 2009.

"We want to go out there and show pride and represent where we come from, and how to bring Wisconsin football to Alabama and show them how we play football."

Notes:

  • Clement talked to Melvin Gordon recently and the two conversed about handling the buzz around big games. "I said, ‘Man, this hype stuff is getting in my way. I can't really stand it right now. How did you do it?' He said, ‘I really didn't pay attention to it. I paid attention to my competitors.' He just told me to look after who is your primary contender. Me, I'm looking at [Ohio State junior] Ezekiel Elliot. He's a great runner, phenomenal pass blocker, catcher out of the backfield. Then you have [LSU sophomore] Leonard Fournette, [Georgia sophomore] Nick Chubb and all these other guys who can play a primary role in their offenses, too. I just think I want to go out this game and make a statement and show that I can be in the top five in this class."
  • Stave was asked what was different between his 2014 and 2015 form. His answer cited a higher comfort level with Paul Chryst and company. "I think I just feel a little more comfortable, a little more confident with this staff," the former walk-on said.
  • Clement expects to get between 20 and 25 carries, though that will be affected by the flow of the game.