Badgers planning to mix things up for spring game

first_imgPlaying the first lines against one another, Bret Bielema hopes to get a better idea of how his squad is progressing through the spring.[/media-credit]Get ready for change: Wisconsin football is mixing things up this year.With the annual spring game Saturday, head coach Bret Bielema revealed at his Monday press conference he will pit the first-string offense against thefirst-string defense in this year’s spring game.“One of the changes that we’re going to make this year to the spring game, kind of spice it up a little bit and give a true assessment ofwhere we’re at, I’m going to play ones against ones, first team against firstteam,” Bielema said. “Put our number one offense out there against our numberone defense and let guys compete and it’ll be a cleaner game and really give usan understanding of where we’re at.”In recent years, the Cardinal squad consisted of starters and key reserves, while the remainder of the team played for White. Bielema hopes switching things up and playing the ones against the ones will help make the game more competitive and bring out thebest in his players.Not only does the matchup figure to result in a more competitive game, but it also likely will change the mentality of the players before fall season and give UW a better idea of what it’s capable of.“Ever since I’ve been here we go ones/ones the entire spring,” Bielema said. “If I’m an established player … and know I’m goingagainst twos, it’s not as competitive as we want it to be. I’d like onesworking with ones, against ones, to get a realistic picture of what can happen.”Not only do the Badgers want to get a sense of what they’re capable of, but they also want to give the fans a taste of what next year might hold.“That’ll be a little bit of a different twist and give us a better-quality game and give fans an outlook on one of the better teams in theleague competing out there, one of the best offenses, one of the best defensesin our conference going head-to-head,” Bielema said.For the first time, the spring game will charge for admission. The proceeds from the $5 ticket sales will go to the School of Nursing’s campaign for a new building.Budmayr continues to growWith Scott Tolzien moving onto new – and potentially bigger pursuits – redshirt sophomore Jon Budmayr has been chosen to step inbehind center to lead the Badgers offense Saturday.Through spring practice, Bielema has liked what he’s seen so far.“[Budmayr] has continued to get better every week,” Bielema said. “I really like some of the things he’s doing, being really sound with thefootball, making good decisions. He’s been taking snaps from three different centers allspring. Not only a young group of receivers, but the timing, the patterns andstuff are really inconsistent and that can mess with a quarterback as much asanything. He’s been good, and with a pretty good defensive line coming down histhroat, too.”Lines shaping upWith holes to fill on both offense and defense, players are shifting around and attempting to find comfort in new positions.On the offensive line, redshirt junior Ricky Wagner has transitioned into right tackle and redshirt sophomore Travis Frederick hasmoved inside, as well.“[Wagner has] been pretty seamless in that,” Bielema said. “It’s a totally different feel for him, but he adapted pretty quickly.[Frederick], he’s one of the smartest kids on our team, one of the strongestkids on our team, but he just didn’t play competitive football last year. It’sbeen fun to watch him get in the mix.“The thing that’s really nice that’s happening for us inside offensively, as well as on the flip side on defense,we’ve got some great competition against each other, which will make them thatmuch better.”With good competition on both sides of the ball, Bielema is also seeing more aggressive football out of his defensive line.With some more experience, the D-line is gaining confidence and is becoming more forceful on the field.“The one defensive line in particular [is] a little more confident and aggressive than they were a year ago,” Bielema said. “I think wehave aggressively blitzed a little bit more this spring than we ever havebefore.”Borland can’t stay stillAfter missing the majority of last season, linebacker Chris Borland is still taking it easy and rehabbing his shoulder. However, that hasn’t kept him off the field.Acting almost as if he were a coach on the sidelines, Borland has been studying schemes and film throughout spring while alsohelping out where he can. After playing outside linebacker his first two years at UW, Borland will be moving to the middle linebacker spot vacated by the graduated Culmer St. Jean.“He does a great job out at practice, he’s like another coach out there,” Bielema said. “He’s always got a script and communicatingwhat the calls are. Every time I turn around he’s up there watching film, doinga nice job. Chris is one of those active guys.”“I doubt he’s ever in his room. He missed a class and we found out he missed it cause he was part of thedemonstrations down there on campus. He’s just one of those active kids.”last_img read more

O’Donnell hoping to train with Irish squad

first_imgThe Irish squad will continue training this morning at Carton House ahead of Sunday’s hugely-anticipated Six Nations contest with England at the Aviva.Cahir’s Tommy O’Donnell will be hoping to play a part in training.The Munster flanker’s recovery from a concussion injury is being monitored this week as he competes with Jordi Murphy for a starting role in the absence of Jamie Heaslip.last_img